Easy Learning Italian

Overview of verbs - Easy Learning Grammar Italian

  • Verbs are frequently used with a noun or with somebody’s name, for example Children like stories; Jason’s playing football. In English, pronouns such as I, you and she often come in front of verbs, for example, She knows my sister.
  • Verbs can relate to the present, the past or the future; this is called their tense.
  • For more information on Nouns and Pronouns, see Nouns and Pronouns.
  • Verbs are either:
  • regular: their forms follow the normal rules

    OR
  • irregular: their forms do not follow the normal rules
  • Almost all verbs have a form called the infinitive that isn’t present, past or future, (for example, walk, see, hear). It is used after other verbs, for example, You should walk; You can see; Kirsty wants to come. In English, the infinitive is usually shown with the word to, for example, to speak, to eat, to live.
  • In Italian the infinitive is always just one word that in most cases ends in either –are, –ere or –ire: for example, parlare (meaning to speak), credere (meaning to believe) and dormire (meaning to sleep).
  • Regular English verbs can add three endings to the infinitive: –s (walks), –ing (walking) and –ed (walked).
  • Italian verbs add endings to the verb stem, which is what is left of the verb when you take away the –are, –ere or –ire ending of the infinitive. This means the stem of parlare is parl-, the stem of credere is cred-, and the stem of dormire is dorm-.
  • Italian verb endings change according to who or what is doing the action.
    The person or thing that does the action is called the subject of the verb.
  • In English you nearly always put a noun or a pronoun in front of a verb to show who is doing the action, for example Jack speaks Italian; She’s playing tennis.
  • In Italian, nouns are used as the subject of verbs just as they are in English,
    but pronouns are used much less often. This is because the ending of an Italian verb often shows you who the subject is.
Mia sorella gioca a tennis.My sister is playing tennis.
Gioca bene. She plays well.
  • Italian verb forms also change depending on whether you are talking about
    the present, past or future: credo means I believe, credevo means I believed and crederò means I will believe.
  • In English some verbs are irregular, for example, you do not add –ed to speak, go, or see to make the past tense. In the same way, some Italian verbs do not follow the usual patterns. These irregular Italian verbs include some very important
    and common verbs such as andare (meaning to go), essere (meaning to be) and fare (meaning to do or to make).
  • For Verb tables, see middle section.
Key points
  • Italian verbs have different endings depending on their subject and their tense.
  • Endings are added to the verb stem.
  • You often do not need to use a pronoun before a verb in Italian.

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