Irregular verbs are verbs that do not follow the patterns of the conjugation to which they belong. Here are the
most important cases of irregular verbs:
In general, most verbs of the first and third conjugation are regular while most verbs of the second conjugation
but here we are going to see all irregular verbs for each conjugation.
In the first conjugation there are four strongly irregular verbs that are very commonly used:
For example, the present indicative of the verb dare (to give) is: io
do, tu dai, lui dà (and not *io daro, *tu dari, *lui dara).
The simple past is: io diedi (or detti), tu desti, lui diede (or dette).
The verb dare presents irregularities as well in other tenses and
Many verbs belonging to the second conjugation are irregular.
The most irregular tenses and moods are the simple past of the indicative and the past participle.
For example, chiedere (to ask) conjugates in simple past as
following: io chiesi, tu chiedesti, lui chiese, noi chiedemmo, voi chiedeste,
(and not *io chiedei or chiedetti, *lui chiedé or chiedette, *loro chiederono or chiedettero according to the
regular conjugation pattern). The forms chiedei, chiedetti, chiedé, chiedette, chiederono and chiedettero
The past participle of chiedere is: chiesto (and not
*chieduto, according to the regular conjugation pattern).
However, there are verbs of the second conjugation that have irregular forms even in tenses different from the
simple past and the past participle.
For example, bere (to drink) has many irregular forms. Its simple past
io bevvi is the most commonly used form, more frequent than bevei or bevetti and
the same goes for other persons. The past participle is bevuto (and not *beruto).
Bere has irregular forms even in the present indicative (for example:
io bevo and not *io bero), in the imperfect indicative (io bevevo and not *io berevo), in the
(che io beva and not *che io bera), in the present conditional (io berrei and not *io beverei) and
in the present imperative (tu bevi and not *beri).
Some of the verbs with irregularities in the formation of tenses other than the past participle and the simple
past are: bere,
cogliere, condurre, cuocere, dolere,
dovere, giacere, godere, nuocere,
piacere, porre, potere, rimanere,
sapere, scegliere, sedere, tacere,
tenere, togliere, trarre, valere,
For example, some verbs above mentioned lose the “e” of the stem in the future/conditional, e.g. godere in future simple is godrò.
Others like sapere have shortened forms in the present io so
(and not *io sapo).
Verbs derived from these verbs also usually follow the same conjugation.
For example intravedere,
follow in principle the conjugation of vedere but there are several
exceptions with regard to certain forms.
The future indicative of vedere is vedrò, but the most common
form of future indicative of prevedere is prevederò with
the addition of "e" (not *prevedrò);
the future of provvedere is provvederò and the form
*provvedrò does not exist.
The most common verbs of the third conjugation having irregularities in the formation of verb tenses are: apparire, aprire,
dire, morire, offrire, salire,
udire, uscire, venire.
For example the verb apparire (to appear) in present indicative is:
appaio (not *apparo, neither *apparisco, although this second form is attested as a literary form).
The most common form of the first person of the simple past is io apparvi, although the forms io
apparii and io apparsi exist and are literary or rare forms.
The verb dire (to say) in present indicative is io dico (not *io
The most common form of the first person of the simple past is io dissi (not *dirii),
which can be explained thanks to the archaic infinitive form “dicere”.
The verb morire (to die) in present indicative is io muoio
(not *io moro, although this form is a popular form used in some Italian regions).
Impersonal verbs are the verbs used mostly in the third person singular or in infinitive.
They usually express a condition that has neither a thing nor a person as its subject.
Usually the compound tenses of these verbs are used with the auxiliary essere
but with the verbs indicating weather conditions it is also possible to use avere.
Defective verbs are verbs that are missing some forms.
Many verbs only lack the past participle. For example convergere,
do not have the past participle and therefore are not used in compound forms.
Another common defective verb is urgere, used mostly to the third
person singular (ex urgono regole precise).
Urgere lacks some forms, such as those of the simple past and
Other verbs, such as ostare despite having all verbal forms in theory,
are normally used are in the form of the present indicative of the third person singular (nulla osta che tu
These are verbs that have a “twin” with practically the same meaning which follows a second conjugation pattern.
There are two types of verbi sovrabbondanti:
Other examples of redundant verbs that maintain the same meaning despite the conjugation change:
Other examples of redundant verbs that have different meaning based on the conjugation they belong to:
The verbi sovrabbondanti are tricky also for Italian speakers, but it is important to know that exist different
but very similar forms of
verbs and that belong to different conjugations.
In this way you will be able to recognize them and conjugate them properly!