Easy Learning Italian

The past historic - Easy Learning Grammar Italian

What is the past historic?
The past historic is equivalent to the English simple past, except that it is only used in written Italian. In spoken Italian the perfect tense is used to talk about the past.
Recognizing the past historic
  • You do not need to learn the past historic (il passato remoto), since you will never need to use it. However, you may come across it in written Italian. To help you recognize it, here are the past historic forms of essere (meaning to be), avere (meaning to have), parlare (meaning to speak), credere (meaning to believe),and partire (meaning to leave).
Past historic
of essere

Past historic
of avere

(io)fuiI wasebbiI had
(tu)fostiyou wereavestiyou had
fuhe/she was
you were
ebbehe/she had
you had
(noi)fummowe wereavemmowe had
(voi)fosteyou wereavesteyou had
(loro)furonothey wereebberothey had
Ci fu un improvviso silenzio
quando entrai nella stanza.
There was a sudden silence when
I came into the room.
Non ebbero nessuna speranza.They had no hope.
Past historic
of parlare

Past historic
of credere

(io)parlaiI spokecredei or credettiI believed
(tu)parlastiyou spokecredestiyou believed
parlòhe/she spoke
you spoke
credé or
he/she believed
you believed
(noi)parlammowe spokecredemmowe believed
(voi)parlasteyou spokecredesteyou believed
(loro)parlaronothey spokecrederono or
they believed
Past historic
of partire

(io)partiiI left
(tu)partistiyou left
partìhe/she left
you left
(noi)partimmowe left
(voi)partisteyou left
(loro)partironothey left
Parlò piano.He spoke slowly.
Non lo credettero.They did not believe it.
Partì in fretta.He left hastily.
Key points
  • You will come across the past historic in written Italian.
  • It is translated by the English simple past.

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