Intransitive verbs See also Transitive verbs. Intransitive verbs are verbs that cannotbe used with a direct object. Some intransitive verbs can be used with an indirect object: ho telefonato Glossary a Maria Teresa 'I telephoned to Maria Teresa'. Some can only be used without any object: siamo arrivati alia stazione con un'ora di ritardo 'we arrived at the station an hour late'.
Many of these verbs take the auxiliary essere, but some take avere: abbiamo camminato molto 'we walked a lot'. Sometimes a verb that can be used transitively in English 'to walk the dog' cannot be used transitively in Italian camminare. Some verbs can be used both transitively and intransitively see Transitive verbs.
Invariable Invariable nouns are nouns that have the same form for both singular and plural, un film, dei film 'a film, some films', or for both masculine and feminine, un artista, un'artista 'an artist'. An invariable adjective is one that does not change form to agree with the noun, whether masculine or feminine, singular or plural: un vestito rosa 'a pink dress', una giacca rosa 'a pink jacket'; dei pantaloni rosa 'some pink trousers'; delle calze rosa 'some pink stockings'.
Masculine see Gender. Modal verb A verb that is used with a verb infinitive to modify what is being said: in Italian the modal verbs are potere 'to be able to', dovere 'to have to', volere 'to want to': posso lavorare domani 'I can work tomorrow'; devo lavorare domani 'I have to work tomorrow'; voglio lavorare domani 'I want to work tomorrow'.
Mood The seven main ways in which verbs can express actions or events are known as moods. The four finite moods - all of which, except the imperative, have a full range of tenses - are: the indicative e. The other three moods are: infinitive, gerund and participle. Negative A statement is negative when it specifies an action or event that has not taken place or will not take place.
Negative words or phrases turn a positive statement or ques- tion into a negative one. Examples of negative words in Italian include: nessun 'no'; nessuno 'nobody'; niente 'nothing'; non. Noun A noun indicates a person, place, thing or event. For example: Italia 'Italy'; assis- tente 'language assistant'; la festa 'the party'. Nouns are inextricably linked to the articles il, un, etc. All nouns have a gender and this determines the form of the adjectives and articles that go with it. Number Number is the distinction between singular and plural.
Verb forms alter according to the number of the subject: il ragazzo nuota 'the boy swims'; i ragazzi nuotano 'the boys swim'. GLOSSARY Object In grammatical terms, an object is the person or thing affected by the action or event, as opposed to the subject, which is the person or thing responsible for it. See: direct object, indirect object. Participle present, past Verbs normally have a present participle and a past participle. Unlike other finite verb forms, the participle cannot be used on its own but is found together with other verb forms.
The past participle is used with the verb avere or essere to form the passato prossimo tense: non abbiamo mangiato gli hamburgers 'we didn't eat hamburgers'. When used with essere, it agrees with the subject: nel siamo andati a Los Angeles 'in we went to Los Angeles'. The present participle, less frequently used, changes form when used as an adjective i. Partitive article see Article. Passato composto We use this term for the compound past, a past tense formed by auxiliary and participle: ho mangiato 'I ate'; sono andato 'I went'.
Some books call it the passato prossimo 'perfect tense'. Passato remoto see Passato semplice. Passato semplice We have used the term passato semplice 'simple past' to denote the past tense that is simple, not compound, e. Most books call this tense passato remoto, English 'past definite', 'past historic' or 'past absolute'. Passive verb forms A passive construction is a sentence in which the subject of the sentence is the person or thing affected by the action or event taking place as opposed to an active construction where the subject is the person carrying out the action : tutti gli studenti sono stati promossi 'all the students were moved up a class'; il concerto e stato anticipato 'the concert was put forward'.
Person The verb subject can be a first person io T , second person tu 'you' third person lui, lei 'he, she' and so on. Personal pronouns see also Pronouns Personal pronouns can be: subject pronouns io, tu, lui 'I, you, he', etc. Plural see Number. Glossary Preposition A word that gives further information about a person, action or event, for example, about time, place, value or purpose: ci siamo sposati nel 'we got married in '; sono nata a Milano 'I was born in Milan'; una macchina da caffe 'a coffee machine'; un francobollo da 2 euro 'a two euro stamp'; siamo venuti per imparare l'italiano 'we came to learn Italian'.
There are various categories of pronoun: demonstrative, such as hai visto quello! Question Direct questions sometimes use a question word dove vai stasera? Indirect questions are introduced by words such as chiedere 'to ask': mi ha chiesto se avevo tempo di parlargli 'he asked me if I had time to speak to him'. Reflexive verb A reflexive verb is a verb that can be used with a reflexive pronoun the equivalent of English 'myself, himself indicating that the subject and the object are one and the same: mi lavo T wash'; si e fatto male 'he hurt himself.
Sometimes the verb can only be used reflexively, and no object is actually present: molte volte i drogati si vergognano di quello che fanno 'often drug addicts are ashamed of what they do'. Regular A regular noun or verb is one that follows one of the main noun or verb patterns, in other words one whose forms and endings can be predicted, for example: -are, parlare 'to speak'; -ere, sorridere 'to smile'; -ire, partire 'to leave'. Relative A relative pronoun introduces a relative clause, i. Reported speech This is also known as indirect speech and is a way of relating words spoken or written by someone else.
Reported speech is usually introduced by verbs such as dire 'to say, to tell', scrivere 'to write', annunciare 'to announce', and the conjunc- tion che: i giornali annunciano che i soldati hanno massacrato migliaia di bambini 'the newspapers say that the soldiers have massacred thousands of children'. Sentence A sentence must have a verb and a subject. It can either be a simple sentence one subject, one verb , e. Simple tenses Those that are formed of one word only. See also Compound tenses. Singular see Number. Stem see Verb stem.
Subject The subject is usually a noun, pronoun or proper name denoting the person or object performing the action or the event taking place: mia madre ha comprato un tailleur 'my mother bought a suit'; la festa si svolge a maggio 'the festival takes place in May'. In the case of a passive construction, the subject is the person or thing affected by the action: gli studenti sono stati criticati dagli insegnanti 'the students were criticised by their teachers'. With Italian verbs, it is not always essential to have a subject mentioned since it is understood from the verb form, e.
Subjunctive The subjunctive mood is used to express doubt or uncertainty. It is almost always used in complex sentences where one clause depends on another e. However it can be found standing on its own, when used as an imperative form: vada via! It can be introduced by a conjunction such as che 'what' or perche 'because', or a relative pronoun such as che 'who, which'.
See Clauses. Superlative See also Comparative. When one or more people, objects or activities are compared with others, or a comparison is implied, a superlative form is used to express the one that is superior to all the rest: la casa della mia arnica Matilde era la piii grande del paese 'my friend Matilde's house was the biggest in the village'; abbiamo fatto il meglio possibile 'we did as well as we could'. Tense A finite verb form that normally provides a clue as to the time setting present, past, future for an action or event: andremo a New York 'we will go to New York'; i miei amici ci sono stati 'my friends have been there'.
Occasionally the gram- matical verb tense does not correspond to the time setting - for example the future can be used for a present time setting: Sono le 4. Mio marito sara gia a Palermo 'It's 4. My husband will be at Palermo by now' - and the imperfect can be used to express a polite request: volevo un francobollo da 2 euro T wanted a 2 euro stamp'. Glossary Transitive verbs Transitive verbs are verbs that can always be used transitively, in other words with a direct object: ho fumato una sigaretta 'I smoked a cigarette'.
Sometimes no object is used ho fumato 'I smoked', but the verb is still a transitive verb because it can, and often does, take an object. Some verbs can be used both transitively and intran- sitively, e. Verb A verb describes an action, event or state. It always has a subject and can also have an object. Its form varies according to mood and tense, and the person, gender and number of its subject.
Verb stem The stem of a verb is its 'base', the part of the verb left when you take away -are, -ere-, -ire from the infinitive form. In a regular verb the ending changes but the stem does not usually change. In an irregular verb, the stem may change too. Voice Verbs normally have two voices: active and passive. The main function of nouns in any language is to denote an entity person, object, etc. Together they form a group of words called the noun group; two examples are shown below: una article grande adjective casa noun a big house la article ragazza noun inglese adjective the English girl Although the noun group may contain other elements e.
In Italian the three components of the noun group can be considered not only separately but also as a 'whole', in which the various components have to 'agree', so we will also look at how they are used together. The noun The noun is the focus of the noun group, and in fact the article and adjectives always agree with the noun in gender masculine or feminine and number singular or plural. The two grammatical features of gender and number determine the form of noun, article and adjective.
Gender All Italian nouns have either a masculine or a feminine gender. Gender is a purely grammatical term. Nouns referring to human beings or animals sometimes have the same grammatical gender as their natural gender, but not always see below. Italian native speakers rarely find this a problem. However speakers of other languages often find it difficult to remember the gender of nouns and this creates a problem when it comes to making the other components of the noun group 'agree' with the noun.
With non-animate objects, there is not always an obvious explanation for their gender. Why, for example, should sera 'evening' be feminine, while giorno 'day' is masculine? Non-Italian speakers either have to learn and memorise the genders of words or consult a dictionary. Italian dictionaries usually indicate the gender of nouns with abbreviations such as s. Number Unlike gender, the grammatical concept of singular or plural 'number' causes no problem for speakers of English.
Occasionally as in English a singular noun is used to refer to a collective entity that one might expect to be grammatically plural, e. On the other hand, some objects that are singular in English may be plural in Italian, e. The noun Common noun patterns The gender and number determine the ending of the noun. These patterns of endings are called inflexions. Italian nouns can be divided into several different groups, according to their patterns of inflexion. The three most common patterns also followed by most adjectives, see below are: Singular Plural 1 Masculine -o -i 2 Feminine -a -e 3 Masculine or feminine -e -i Note: Nouns in the third group -e have the same ending whatever the gender.
Examples Singular Plural 1 Masculine tavolo table tavoli tables albero tree alberi trees sbaglio mistake sbagli mistakes ragazzo boy ragazzi boys 2 Feminine donna woman donne women parola word parole words scuola school scuole schools ragazza girl ragazze girls 3 Masculine padre father padri fathers studente student studenti students bicchiere glass bicchieri glasses 3 Feminine madre mother madri mothers occasione occasion occasioni occasions chiave key chiavi keys Note: In the plural, nouns ending in -co, -go; -ca, -ga; -cia, -gia present variations in their endings, as shown below.
Nouns ending in -ca, -ga Feminine nouns ending in -ca, -ga form their plural in -che, -ghe, with the hard c, g sound: arnica amiche friend lega leghe league Nouns ending in -ca, -ga, which refer to either men or women, normally form their plural in -chi, -ghi for male and -che, -ghe for female and see 1. But note: belga Belgian belgi m. There is no difference in pronunciation between the -cie of camicie and the -ce of arance. The i is pronounced and given its full value as a syllable only when stressed as in farmacie and bugie. Note: In the plural, nouns ending in -io sometimes double the final i, sometimes not, according to whether the 'i' is stressed or unstressed: studio study studi zio uncle zii The noun Other noun patterns A large number of Italian nouns do not follow the patterns shown above.
Here are some other noun patterns. Masculine or feminine nouns with singular ending in -a Singular -a m. Plural -i m. Plural -e f. The singular ending -a is used whether they are male or female, but the plural form is different according to the 'natural' gender. A large number of these nouns end in -ista English '-ist' indicating an ideology socialista, marxista , profession chitarrista, dentista or sport ciclista, tennista.
Masculine nouns with singular ending in -a Singular -a m. See also masculine nouns ending in -ca, -ga above. See 1. Masculine nouns with singular in -o, feminine plural in -a A number of masculine nouns become feminine in the plural, with an irregular ending in -a: Singular m. Plural f. Plural in -i m. Plural in -a f. For example, le dita are the fingers of your hand, when talked about 'collectively' ho le dita gelate 'my fingers are frozen' while i diti are the fingers considered 'individually or separately' ho due diti rotti T have two broken fingers'.
Le mura are the collective walls of a city Lucca e una citta circondata da mura romane 'Lucca is a city surrounded by Roman walls' , while i muri refer to all other kinds of walls. Le ossa is the plural form normally used when talking about the skeletal system mi fanno male le ossa 'my bones ache' while the masculine plural gli ossi is used when talking about separate bones, e. Invariable nouns Invariable nouns have the same form in the plural as in the singular.
These include the following. There are two main types of article in Italian, as there are in English: the indefinite article articolo indeterminativo and the definite article articolo determinativo. They distinguish the generic from the specific, the known from the unknown see also 9. There is a dog in the garden, unknown dog In giardino c'e il cane. There is the dog in the garden, our dog or a dog we know about In Italian the form of the article has to agree with the gender and number of the noun it is attached to, but also according to the initial letter of the word immedi- ately following it, whether noun or adjective.
This applies also a third type of article, the partitive article. A partitive article can also be used in the singular, indicating a quantity of uncount- able things, people or abstract concepts: Vorrei del pane. Ho visto della gente che correva. C'e ancora della speranza. I'd like some bread. I saw some people running. There is still some hope. Note: See also In the plural, they take the article le, which is never abbreviated.
Give me the toothpicks. Give me some toothpicks. Known or unknown, specified or unspecified a The definite article is used to specify known people or things Flavia vuole portare I'amico alia festa. Flavia wants to take her friend to the party, particular friend or boyfriend Vorrei la camera che abbiamo avuto l'anno scorso. I would like the room we had last year, specific room 12 The article b The indefinite article is used, as in English, for an unknown or unspecified indi- vidual or thing: Flavia vuole portare un amico alia festa.
Flavia wants to take a friend to the party, an unspecified friend Vorrei una camera per stasera, per favore. The dolphin is a mammal. I like American films. Note how English only uses the definite article 'the' in the singular 'the dolphin'. C'e un delfino! There is a dolphin! Ho visto un bel film americano alia televisione. I've seen a nice American film on television.
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These are only general guidelines. In many cases the use or omission of the articles depends on different linguistic habits. Some particular uses of the definite article In Italian we always use the definite article with the proper names of geographical features such as mountains, rivers, etc. I love Italy. II Brasile e campione del mondo. Brazil is world champion. I live in Italy. Andiamo in Spagna. We go to Spain. One lives better in southern Italy. But we do sometimes use it to refer to masculine or plural countries: Vivo negli Stati Uniti. I live in the USA.
For the forms of the definite article with prepositions in, a, etc. When speaking of somebody's profession we use the article with fare: Faccio l'ingegnere. I am an engineer, but omit it with essere note how English usage differs : Sono ingegnere. I am an engineer.
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See also 8. An adjective is a word that qualifies the meaning of a noun by adding some spec- ification or description to it. There are many different categories of adjective including demonstrative questo, quello , interrogative quale , possessive mio, tuo , indefinite alcuni, qualche and negative nessun. But in this chapter we only cover the use of aggettivi qual- ificativi: descriptive adjectives that describe qualities physical or otherwise of person or thing, and classifying adjectives, such as nationality, that describe the category or classification that the person or thing belongs to see also Chapter The other types of adjectives will be shown in Chapter 3, together with the corresponding pronouns.
The adjective Common adjective patterns Almost all descriptive adjectives follow the same basic patterns as the nouns see 1. In the second group, the ending is the same for both masculine and feminine: Class 1 Class 2 Singular Plural Singular Plural Masculine piccolo piccoli grande grandi m. Feminine piccola piccole grande grandi m. The gender and number of the adjective must agree with the noun to which it refers see 1.
Adjectives with singular -a for both masculine and feminine have masculine plural in -i and feminine plural in -e. Many of these have endings such as -ista, -asta, -ita, -ida, -ota for nouns with similar endings, see 1. This is the usual non-emphatic position occupied by the adjective, when it expresses a basic, intrinsic characteristic of the noun: Ho visto un film interessante Abbiamo visitato una citta storica I saw an interesting film We visited an historic city Adjectives of shape, colour and nationality almost always come after the noun.
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Note that adjectives of nationality never have a capital letter in Italian: una tavola rotonda una maglia bianca uno studente francese a round table a white sweater a French student Adjectives qualified, for example, by an adverb or a prepositional phrase, also come after: una persona enormemente simpatica un viaggio pieno di problemi As do participles used as adjectives: le mele cotte a really nice person a journey full of problems cooked apples 16 The adjective 1.
Although Italian descriptive adjectives, particularly the most common e. Give me the small screwdriver, not the big one Sul tavolo c'era un piccolo cacciavite. There was a small screwdriver on the table, description of screwdriver Sandra e una ragazza bella. Sandra is a beautiful girl, not merely nice Sandra e una bella ragazza. Sandra is a really beautiful girl. Ho comprato una macchina nuova. I bought a new car. Paola put on a new dress, another, a different one Some adjectives have a completely different meaning from their common one when their position is changed, expressing their literal meaning when used after, but a quite different, often figurative, meaning when used before: un film bello a nice film un bel problema a pretty difficult problem Preferisco avere regole certe I prefer to have reliable rules Non capisco certe regole I don't understand certain some rules un ufficiale alto a tall officer un alto ufficiale a high-ranking officer un uomo grande a big man e.
Pavarotti un grande uomo a great man e. Napoleon Ci sono molti studenti poveri There are many poor students Poveri studenti! L'esame sara duro! Poor students! The exam will be hard! Note that bello, when positioned before the noun see example above, un bel prob- lema changes its endings in the same way as the definite article il, la, lo, etc.
The adjective buono, on the other hand, follows the pattern of the indefinite article un, una, un', uno see 1. La mia macchina e veloce come la tua. My car is as fast as yours.
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La mia macchina e piii veloce della tua. My car is faster than yours. La mia macchina e meno veloce della tua. My car is less fast than yours. As a reinforcement, we can also use the words tanto, altrettanto or cosi before the first element: II mio nuovo ufficio e comodo quanto quello di prima. My new office is as comfortable as the one I had before. La mia collega e tanto carina quanto efficiente. My colleague is as pretty as she is efficient. Qui le melanzane non sono care come in Inghilterra.
Here aubergines are not as dear as in England. Sandro is better than Angelo at bridge. E stato meno facile di quanto pensassi. It was less easy than I expected. E piii facile criticare che risolvere i problemi. It's easier to criticise than to solve problems. Sara e piii carina che intelligente. Sara is prettier than she is intelligent. Similarly, minore can mean 'smaller' or 'younger', but can also mean 'less, the lesser' when referring to an abstract quality: Ho due sorelle.
La maggiore si chiama Diana. I have two sisters. The elder is called Diana. Noi abbiamo una maggiore responsabilita di voi.
We have a greater responsibility than you. II mio fratello minore frequenta la scuola elementare. My little younger brother goes to elementary school. Lui lavora con minore impegno da quando si e sposato. He works with less commitment since he got married. Relative superlatives To refer to something or somebody as having 'the most' of a certain quality, in rela- tion to other individuals, we use il piu together with the relevant adjective. This is called the relative superlative: Silvia e la piu brava studentessa della nostra classe. Silvia is the best student in our class.
Pavarotti e il tenore italiano piu famoso del mondo. Pavarotti is the most famous Italian tenor in the world. II Po e il piii lungo iiume italiano. The Po is the longest Italian river. In my opinion, the greatest problem in our time is that of drugs. Absolute superlatives Absolute superlatives indicate the greatest possible degree of a quality, but without any comparison being made.
Nouns, adjectives and articles used together in a noun group must agree in number and gender. For example, if we use a feminine singular noun such as borsa 'bag', we have to use a feminine singular article la and adjective rossa: La borsa rossa The red bag If we use a masculine plural noun such as sandali 'sandals', we have to use a mascu- line plural article i and adjective rossi: I sandali rossi The red sandals The English articles and adjectives are identical in both examples 'the red.
On the table there is a round dish. I met two Italian girls. Noun and adjective of different patterns It is more difficult to remember how to make the agreement when the noun and adjective belong to different patterns and therefore have different endings: Sul tavolo c'e un piatto grande. There is a large dish on the table. I met two English girls. II programma era noioso. The programme was boring.
La radio era rotta. The radio was broken. More than one noun same gender If an adjective refers to more than one noun of the same gender, it will be plural and have the same gender as the nouns: Ho comprato un libro e un vocabolario tedeschi. I bought a German book and German dictionary. Ho comprato una grammatica e un'agenda tedesche. I bought a German grammar and a German diary. More than one noun different genders If the two nouns are of different genders then the adjective is generally masculine plural: Ho comprato un vocabolario e una grammatica tedeschi.
I bought a German dictionary and a German grammar. However if the second of the two nouns - the one nearest to the adjective - is femi- nine plural, the adjective may sometimes agree with it: Ho comprato un vocabolario e due grammatiche tedesche. I bought a German dictionary and two German grammars.
Italian has a complex system of different verb forms. In the first section of this chapter we shall intro- duce the general features of Italian verbs, both regular and irregular, with a brief explanation of basic grammatical terminology, which will help you to understand these features.
In the second section, the different verb forms are illustrated in table form for the regular and the most common irregular verbs and also for the passive forms of the four regular verb types. Finally, in the third section, we look at the different verb moods and tenses individually with brief explanations on their use. Part B of the book illustrates usage more fully. Grammatical subject Usually the subject of a verb is the 'agent' or 'doer' of an action, the 'protagonist' of an event: Noi partiamo per l'America.
We leave for America. Franco e Teresa partono per l'America. Franco and Teresa leave for America. Sometimes we talk of facts rather than actions. Here the 'subject' of the verb is not 'doing' anything, but is the theme or main topic expressed by the verb: Giulia e bionda. Giulia is blonde. Questo film dura due ore.
This film lasts two hours. However the grammatical subject of the verb may be different from the real subject or agent of the action. This is the case with passive constructions see Persons of the verb The different forms of the verb, determined by its grammatical subject, are called the persons this is a purely grammatical term, not necessarily referring to human beings : 2.
The different endings immediately identify the 'person' - the subject of the action - unlike in English where only the third person singular has a distinctive ending T eat, you eat, he eats'. How old are you? Ho trent'anni. I am thirty. Using a subject pronoun to refer to the third person is often unnecessary where the person or thing has already been mentioned: Quanti anni ha Maria?
How old is Maria? Ha venticinque anni. She is twenty-five. Verb conjugations The fact that Italian verbs have a pattern of six distinct verb endings in each of the tenses creates a large number of different forms of the same verb almost a hundred! Fortunately, most verbs follow common patterns of change known as conjugations.
Each verb has an invariable part the 'stem' , which carries its meaning, and an inflected part the 'ending' which identifies the person, the tense, the mood, and other features. The regular conjugation patterns are shown in the verb tables below 2. Traditionally we distinguish three conjugations defined by the form that the verb takes in the infinitive the infinitive is the form used in dictionary entries : 1st conjugation ending in -are as parl-are 'to speak' 2nd conjugation ending in -ere as cred-ere 'to believe' 3rd conjugation ending in -ire as dorm-ire 'to sleep' The verbs of the 3rd conjugation ending in -ire follow two distinct patterns, the second of which, with endings in -isco, as in fin-ire Ifm-isco 'to finish', is the most frequent.
Both patterns, however, are considered as belonging to the same conju- gation, because of the -ire ending of the infinitive. Moods and tenses Moods The different forms and uses of Italian verbs are traditionally grouped in seven moods. These convey the different characteristics of the actions or facts that the speaker or writer wants to communicate: certainty or doubt, politeness or straightforwardness, command, etc.
The ways in which moods are used to express distinct communicative functions and mean- ings are illustrated in Part B. Tenses The word tense denotes the different verb forms that indicate the relationship between the action or event referred to and the time of speaking or writing or other refer- ence point in time.
There is a range of different tenses for each mood of verbs except the imperative. In Italian, different tenses are sometimes used to distinguish features of verbs other than time relationships. For example, perfect and imperfect tenses can express the aspect of the action see Chapter 13 , while different subjunctive and conditional tenses can express different degrees of doubt, possibility, politeness, etc. Simple and compound tenses Many tenses of Italian verbs are formed using the past participle of the main verb along with either avere or essere as the auxiliary verb. These are called compound tenses.
One major area of difficulty for students of Italian is knowing which verbs use avere in compound tenses and which use essere. In order to be able to do this, it is useful to understand the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs see 2. All passive forms of verbs see 2. There may be a direct object as in: Lucia scrive una lettera. Cerchiamo una casa. Lucia writes a letter. We look for a house.
Here the action of the verb can be completed by answering the question che cosa? The direct object of the verb is the noun that can answer this question without the use of a preposition in this case una lettera and una casa : Che cosa scrive Lucia? Lucia scrive una lettera. Che cosa cerchiamo? What is Lucia writing? Lucia is writing a letter. What are we looking for? We're looking for a house. The train to Naples left at 6. Because it determines their different uses, especially in the compound tenses, knowing whether verbs are transitive or intransitive is very important.
Check by either looking in a dictionary or seeing whether you can ask and answer the question che cosa? In dictionaries all verb entries carry the following indications: v. Problems arise also from the fact that many English verbs used transitively and intransitively have an Italian counterpart that can only be used intransitively.
Below we show some examples of English phrases that cannot be translated directly into Italian, since the verbs camminare, volare, guidare and viaggiare are not gener- ally used transitively: I'm going to walk the dog. I'm Sharon. Fly me! Can you drive me home? Travel the world with Airmiles! Verbs that can be used both transitively and intransitively Some verbs can be used both transitively with a direct object and intransitively without a direct object , for example aumentare, cambiare, cominciare, crescere, diminuire, finire and passare.
In the first two examples that follow, the subjects of these actions - beginning and finishing - are people and the verbs have direct objects 'the lesson', 'the holidays'. II professore comincia la lezione alle The teacher begins the lesson at Finiamo le vacanze in agosto. We finish our holidays in August. In the next two examples below , the same verbs this time with 'the lesson' and 'the holidays' as subject cannot have a direct object: Lucia ha scritto una lettera. Abbiamo cercato una casa. Lucia wrote a letter.
We looked for a house. Andiamo in ufficio alle 9.
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II treno per Napoli parte alle 6. Siamo andate in ufficio alle 9. We go to the office at 9. The train to Naples leaves at 6. We went to the office at 9. La lezione comincia alle The lesson begins at The holidays finish in August. In simple tenses, the forms of the verbs are identical, whether transitive or intran- sitive. But the compound tenses, such as the past, vary according to whether they are used transitively or intransitively: II professore ha cominciato la lezione. The teacher began the lesson. La lezione e cominciata alle The lesson began at Abbiamo finito le vacanze in agosto.
We finished the holidays in August. Le vacanze sono finite in agosto. The holidays finished in August. When used transitively, verbs such as correre 'to run', saltare 'to jump', vivere to live' take avere: Hanno corso un grosso rischio. They ran a great risk. Oggi ho saltato il pranzo. Today I skipped lunch. Ho vissuto una vita d'inferno. I have lived a life of hell. I lived in London for 10 years. Giuliana ran home. The children jumped down from the bed.
Verbs like these are marked in dictionaries as v. Verbs using the auxiliary avere even when used intransitively Generally Italian transitive verbs use the auxiliary avere, while intransitive verbs use the auxiliary essere in the compound tenses. However, there are quite a few verbs that use the auxiliary avere even when used intransitively.
Here are the most common: camminare dormire giocare passeggiare to walk to sleep to play to walk piangere riposare viaggiare to cry to rest to travel Ho camminato per due ore. I walked for two hours. General features of verbs Come hai dormito? How did you sleep? Avete giocato a carte? Did you play cards? Voice: active, passive, reflexive 21 Introduction 'Voice' describes the relationship of the verb action with its subject and object. The different voices or relationships are: a Active voice Normally see 2. Gianni watches Luisa. II meccanico ripara la macchina. The mechanic repairs the car.
Luisa is watched by Gianni. La macchina e riparata dal meccanico. The car is repaired by the mechanic. In the second example, the agent of the action is clearly the mechanic the one who repairs the car , but the grammatical subject of the passive verb is the car. Gianni looks at himself in the mirror. There are other verb forms that are not strictly speaking reflexive but are similar in form. The passive form The passive of Italian verbs is formed by the use of the past participle and the auxil- iary essere, using the same tense as the corresponding active form.
The passive conjugation of verbs is shown in the verb tables in 2. The passive can also be formed using venire or andare as auxiliary instead of essere see Only transitive verbs can have a passive form see 2. Passive sentences sentences based on a passive verb are used when we want to focus on the action itself or the object of an action, rather than on the agent of an action. For more examples on the use of the passive, see VERBS The reflexive and pronominal form Reflexive verb forms Reflexive verbs are active verb forms accompanied by a reflexive pronoun see 3.
Look at these two examples: II Sig. Franchi sta lavando la macchina. Mr Franchi is washing the car. II Sig. Franchi si sta lavando. Mr Franchi is washing himself. In the first example above, the direct object of the action of washing is the car. It is separate from the person who is doing it the subject of the action. In the second example, the subject and the object of the action are the same person II Sig. This is the reflexive form, in which the reflexive pronoun refers to the person carrying out the action, but at the same time is also the object of it.
The position of the reflexive pronoun is the same as that of all other unstressed personal pronouns see 3. Please, have a seat make yourself comfortable. In genere i giovani italiani si vestono alia moda. In general young people in Italy dress fashionably. Sono le 9. Dovete prepararvi ad uscire. It's 9. You must prepare yourselves to go out. Preparari ad uscire!
Get yourself ready to go out! In the compound tenses, reflexive verbs are conjugated with the verb essere, even though the verbs are transitive cf. The past participle has to agree with the subject: Stamattina i bambini si sono alzati alle 6. This morning the children got themselves up at 6.
Mi sono vestita con calma. I got dressed slowly. Pronominal verb forms Pronominal verb forms are verb forms which use the reflexive pronoun. In Italian they are used much more frequently than in English because we can use them not only in a true reflexive pattern, but also in many other ways. In true reflexives see above , the subject and object of the verb are one and the same. Although this is not the case with pronominal verb forms, they still embody the concept of 'reci- procal' or 'reflexive' action an action relating or reflecting back to the subject.
The different uses of the pronominal verb form will become clear from the examples below. Note the use of the auxiliary essere in the compound tenses: Giulio si lava le mani. Giulio washes his hands. Mi metto la giacca. I put on my jacket. Stamattina non mi sono fatto la barba. This morning I didn't shave myself. In the examples above, the actions are not truly reflexive, since the subjects and the objects of the actions are not exactly identical: Giulio. In the last example, the participle can also agree with the object: Stamattina non mi sono fatta la barba.
The reflexive pronoun can also be omitted in which case the construction no longer takes essere in the compound tenses: Giulio lava le mani. Metto la giacca. Non ho fatto la barba. Ci vediamo domani. See you tomorrow. Mario e Nicoletta si sposano domani. Mario and Nicoletta are getting married tomorrow. Dove vi siete conosciuti tu e Maria? Where did you and Maria meet each other? Ci siamo incontrati in Spagna. We met each other in Spain. Note how in the examples above the reflexive pronoun marks an event or action taking place within the subject; the two people are at the same time the subject and the object of a reciprocal action.
The same actions can be expressed by the active form, in which case one person is the subject and the other is the object: Domani Mario sposa Nicoletta. Tomorrow Mario will marry Nicoletta. Dove tu hai conosciuto Maria? Where did you meet Maria? Rossi in Spagna. I met Dr Rossi in Spain. Tonight we'll watch a nice film.
Ho fame! Voglio mangiarmi una pizza! I'm hungry! I really want a pizza! Mi sono dimenticata le chiavi! I forgot the keys! In the examples above, the objects of the verbs are totally separate from, and not part of, the subjects. However the use of the reflexive pronoun shows the intensity felt by the people carrying out these actions. The same sentences can be expressed without using the reflexive pronouns, but then the statements will sound much less emotional, more objective: Stasera vediamo un bel film.
Voglio mangiare una pizza. Ho dimenticato le chiavi. There are a few Italian verbs that are always or almost always used with a reflexive pronoun, because of the 'psychological' and subjective meaning they convey, for example: accorgersi to realise, to be aware arrabbiarsi to get angry divertirsi to have fun innamorarsi to fall in love pentirsi to regret, repent vergognarsi to be ashamed Sbrigati! Non ti accorgi che e tardi? Hurry up! Don't you realise that it's late?
Non arrabbiarri! Don't be angry! Vi siete divertiti a Roma? Did you have a good time in Rome? Giulia si e pentita di aver accettato quel lavoro. Giulia regretted having accepted that job. Non vergognarri di questo errore, non e colpa tua. Don't be ashamed of this mistake. It's not your fault. Verb tables 2. Italian is spoken. Nella mia famiglia si parlano tre lingue. In my family three languages are spoken. Dal terrazzo si vedono i tetti della citta. From the terrace the roofs of the city can be seen one can see the roofs. In the first example, the si passivante form appears identical to the si imper- sonate form 'one' speaks Italian described in 2.
However, when there is a plural subject, as in the second two examples, the verb is plural, so it becomes clear that the construction is passive 'three languages are spoken', 'the roofs can be seen'. Impersonal si The pronoun si is also used to express the impersonal form of verbs see also One works better in cool weather.
Stasera si va a ballare. Tonight everybody is going to dance. A tavola non si invecchia.
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One doesn't get old at the dinner table. Popular saying, meant to discourage people from hurrying when eating Notice that the impersonal form is always formed with si and the third person singular of the verb. Verb tables All the examples shown in the tables in 2. Certain verbs use essere instead see 2. The simpli- fied tables in 2. Regular verbs: active conjugations Here are the complete conjugations of four very common Italian verbs.
We call these patterns regular because the stems of these verbs remain constantly the same or invari- able throughout the whole system of moods and tenses. Understanding the way the endings the variable part of the verb change, will allow us to learn all the possible forms of most Italian verbs.
Notice the two patterns of the 3rd conjugation, and remember that the pattern in -isco is the most frequent. Notice how each passive tense is formed by the corresponding tense of the auxil- iary essere see below 2. In this table the participle is masculine singular, but in actual use it agrees with gender and number of the subject see below , as do all compound forms of verbs using essere. Italian has a large number of irregular verbs, most of them in the 2nd conjugation, including many verbs frequently used in everyday language.
Sometimes the irregular changes of the stem are unique to one verb as in the case of avere and essere. Sometimes several verbs may be grouped under a common pattern of irregularity, and this can help to memorise the many but not always unpredictable deviations from the 'norm'. The complete conjugations of five irregular verbs are shown below 2. These verbs have been chosen not only because of their frequency of use, but also because in some cases their patterns are followed by several other irregular verbs. A complete list of irregular verbs in alphabetical order is in Appendix II.
VERBS 2. They share a common feature: they are often used in combination with another verb. The verbs avere 'to have' see When used in this way, they are called verbi servili 'modal verbs'. Ieri ho dovuto chiudere io l'ufficio. I had to lock the office, yesterday. Quando potremo incontrare il Dott. When can we meet Dr Salvi? San Benedetto lemon ice tea is made with San Benedetto natural sodium Il risanamento del Paese Alto; Il sottopassaggio di via Pasubio; Il sottopasso ferroviario di zona San Giovanni; La messa in sicurezza dell'Albula Comune di San Benedetto Val di Sambro Primo … ; Siamo lieti di comunicare la prossima apertura dell'ambulatorio pediatrico a Pian del Voglio dall' 11 gennaio dalle ore alle ore in via Lagarete.
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