Italian verbs are divided into three conjugation groups and can be distinguished by the ending of the infinitive
Most Italian verbs belong to this conjugation, including most new verbs like twittare, taggare, svapare.
These verbs have a regular conjugation, and most of them follow the pattern of the verb amare,
except for a few verbs that have a particular conjugation.
Special features of the first conjugation
The verbs in -care (caricare) and -gare (litigare) add an "h" before the endings that begin with "e" and
"i": io caric-o, tu caric-h-i, noi litig-h-eremo.
The verbs in -gnare (bagnare) in the indicative and the
present subjunctive of the first and second person plural add an "i": noi bagn-i-amo, che voi
The verbs in -ciare (abbracciare) and -giare (mangiare) lose the vowel "i" of the stem when the ending begins
with an "e" or "i": abbracc-erò (the stem would be abbacci-).
The verbs in -gliare (sbagliare) lose the "i" of the stem
when the ending begins with "i": consigl-i (the stem is consigli-).
The verbs in -iare that have in the first person of the present indicative the accent on the "i" (inviare --> invìo, avviare
--> avvìo) keep the "i" in the stem even if the ending begins with an "i":
Some verbs with the diphthong –uo- today tend to keep it in cases where the diphthong is found in tonic syllable
but not in those where the diphthong is in a non-tonic syllable (tuonerà, tuonò).
Some verbs retain the diphthong to avoid ambiguity with other verbs.
So we say nuotammo = we swam (nuotare)
to distinguish it from notammo = we noticed (notare).
This conjugation includes both the verbs with "e" in the tonic syllable (temère)
and the ones with the "e" in non-tonic syllable (vèndere).
These verbs derive from two separate Latin conjugations; in order to know how to conjugate them see Models.
Verbs ending in -rre also belong to the second conjugation.
These verbs derive from Latin and originally had an additional vowel (ex. the verb porre
derives from the Latin verb "pónĕre").
Special features of the second conjugation
Verbs ending in -ère with the tonic "e", as temère, can have
two forms for some persons in the simple past: io temei or temetti; lui temé or
temette, loro temerono or temettero.
However, when the stem of the verb ends in "t", as in the case of potere, the forms in
-etti, -ette and -ettero are not normally used.
The two forms are sometimes equally frequent, sometimes in use only one is prevalent.
The verbs in -cere, (vincere) -gere (porgere) and -scere (conoscere) have
an alternation before the endings that begin in "a" and "o": vinc-erò, porg-erebbe,
Other verbs instead keep the palatal sound (cuocere --> io
cuoci-o, tu cuoc-i).
The palatal sound is always maintained in front of the u and therefore with the past participles ending in -uto
Some verbs with the diphthong -uo- tend to preserve it in use.
This happens both in cases where the diphthong is in tonic syllable (muovo, muovi) and in those
where the diphthong is in a non-tonic syllable (muovète, cuocerèi).
The verbs in -gnere always retain the "i" of the ending -iamo, -iate (spegniamo, spegniate).
The regular verbs of the third conjugation follow the conjugation of
partire or finire
Special features of the third conjugation
Some verbs, which constitute most of the verbs of the third conjugation,
introduce -isc- between the stem and the ending in some persons of the present indicative, the present
subjunctive and the imperative.
For example, finire (to finish):
Almost all verbs in -cire and -gire (marcire,
agire --> marcisco, agisco) take the suffix -isc in the
conjugation of indicative
and present subjunctive and imperative.
There are, however, some exceptions: cucire, fuggire
are in the present indicative io cucio, io fuggo (and not *cucisco, *fuggisco).
With some verbs it is possible to have both the form with and without -isc
(applaudire --> applaudo or applaudisco;
tossire --> tosso or tossisco).
Helping verbs are all verbs that can be used together with other verbs.
In this case they lose their meaning and become one with the following verb.
They are divided into three categories: Auxiliary Verbs, Modal Verbs and Other Helping Verbs.
Helping verbs can also be used alone and in that case they have their own meanings.
Italian auxiliaries are essere and avere.
These verbs are irregular, they are used as auxiliaries in all compound forms but can also be found on their
so it is helpful to learn their forms along with regular verbs:
Examples of auxiliaries use
When essere is the auxiliary, the past participle must agree in gender and number with the grammatical
so for example “Lui è partit-o” (masc. sing.) vs. “Lei è partit-a” (fem. sing.) vs. “Loro sono partit-i” (masc.
When avere is the auxiliary, the participle never agrees with the subject.
The compound tenses of transitive verbs are always formed with the auxiliary avere.
The compound tenses of the intransitive verbs are formed with the auxiliary essere
or with the auxiliary avere, depending on the verb and its meaning.
Some verbs can be both transitive and intransitive and use both auxiliaries for compound tenses:
For the passive voice, the auxiliary is usually essere(to be)
as in English,
or sometimes venire:
Reflexive verbs and pronominal verbs, i.e. those that end in -si like lavarsi,
always use the auxiliary essere:
And the impersonal verbs always use the auxiliary essere
(except for meteorological verbs that demand the auxiliary avere).
Modal verbs can always use avere.
However, the auxiliary of the modal verb can also agree with the verb that the modal verb accompanies.
Table of use of the auxiliaries
volere) are generally used together with another verb:
The auxiliary used is generally that of the verb that follows.
Modal verbs can also be used alone and in that case they have their own meanings.
For example, the verb volere can have the meaning "to demand" when
In Italian there are verbs which, besides having their own meaning when used alone,
sometimes can be followed by another infinitive and alter their meaning, i.e. they can emphasize the
duration, the start or the end of an action.
As can be seen from the examples above, between the first and the second verb there is a preposition, in these
cases a, per, di.
In English these verbs can also be called Linking verbs since verbs are generally linked to the infinitive
in one of these ways: