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Carla
Tuesday 10th of May 2005 07:07:43 PM
Italian grammar - beginners: Hello everyone,
:)
I think it might be helpful, especially for beginners, to recall some grammar basics.
I'll post to this thread explanations about basic italian grammar. Your questions are welcome :)

We'll start with two useful verbs: essere and avere.

present tense of essere (to be)

[color=blue]io sono - i am
tu sei - you are
lui/lei/esso è - he/she/it is
noi siamo - we are
voi siete - you are
essi sono - they are[/color]

present tense of avere (to have)

[color=green]io ho - i have
tu ha - you have
lui/lei/esso ha - he/she/it has
noi abbiamo - we have
voi avete - you have
essi hanno - they have[/color]

Like in English, in Italian the verbs essere and avere can be used:
1. alone (to mean ‘to be’ and ‘to have’ )
Io sono Italiana - I am Italian
Io ho un gatto - I have a cat

2. as auxiliaries to form compound verb tenses.
Oggi sono andata al lavoro presto - Today I went to work early
Ieri sera ho guardato la televisione - Last night I watched TV

Present tense of essere and avere are used in many idiomatic expressions that can’t be translated litterally.
Here are some:

C’è, ci sono = There is, There are
Oggi c’è il sole = Today the weather is sunny, today is a sunny day
C’è un gatto che gioca nel giardino = There is a cat playing in the garden
A Roma in questo periodo ci sono molti turisti = In Rome at this time of the year there are many tourists
E’ un’ora che aspetto = I’ve been waiting for an hour
Sono due anni che studio l’Italiano = I’ve been studying Italian for two years
E’ molto tempo che non ci sentiamo = It’s been ages since I haven’t heard of you

Avere fame, avere sete = to be hungry, to be thirsty
Avere ragione, avere torto = to be right, to be wrong
Avere bisogno = to need
Avere voglia = to feel like
Avere freddo, avere caldo = to be cold, to be hot
Avere paura = to be afraid
Avere sonno = to be sleepy
Avere fretta = to be in a hurry
Avere 20/35/50 anni = to be 20/35/50 year-old




lathara
Thursday 19th of May 2005 02:23:12 PM
tenses: I ofen get confused when choosing imperfetto and passato prossimo.
If i was to discribe what i did yesterday, that would be passato? But if i did something yesterday and it continues to effect me, is that when i use imperfetto...i get confused.
cheers.



Carla
Friday 20th of May 2005 03:50:33 AM
Passato prossimo and imperfetto: Hi Lathara,
Here's my explanation. I hope I made things clear. If not, feel free to ask again ;)

The most common past tenses in Italian are: Passato prossimo, passato remoto and imperfetto.
Passato remoto is used mostly in story telling and in some italian areas (Sicily, Tuscany), so if you are a beginner and you are not planning to read a novel in Italian, you can skip it for now.

Usually, when talking about a past event, both imperfetto and passato prossimo are used., according to the situation.

Here are the differences between there two tenses


PASSATO PROSSIMO
Passato prossimo is used to report a specific event happened at a specific time.
Some examples:
Sabato scorso [color=blue]sono andato [/color] al ristorante e [color=blue]ho mangiato [/color] una pizza - Last Saturday I went to the restaurant and I had a pizza
Ieri [color=blue]ha piovuto [/color] per tutto il giorno - Yesterday it rained all day
Stamattina [color=blue]sono arrivato [/color] tardi al lavoro – Today I arrived late at work
Ieri [color=blue]sono andata [/color] al cinema – Yesterday I went to the movies
L’anno scorso [color=blue]ho fatto[/color] un viaggio in Italia – Last year I travelled to Italy

IMPERFETTO
Imperfetto is used in the following cases:

1. for usual actions (like the english “used to be”, “used to do”)
Quando [color=green]ero[/color] piccola [color=green]leggevo[/color] le favole – When I was a child I used to read fairy tales
Quando [color=green]ero[/color] studente [color=green]arrivavo[/color] sempre tardi a scuola’ – ‘When I was a student, I used to be late at school’

2. for actions in progress, when something else happened or was happening

Mentre [color=green]leggevo[/color] (action in progress – imperfetto) lui [color=green]guardava[/color] (action in progress – imperfetto) la televisione - While I was reading he was watching TV,
Mentre [color=green]andavo[/color] (action in progress – imperfetto) a casa ho incontrato (specific event – passato prossimo) un mio amico – While I was going home I met a friend of mine
[color=green]Stavo[/color] dormendo (action in progress – imperfetto) quando un rumore mi ha svegliato (specific event – passato prossimo) – I was sleeping when a noise awoke me

3. for descriptions, when reporting past situations
Ieri c’[color=green]era[/color] il sole e [color=green]faceva[/color] caldo – Yesterday the weather was sunny and warm
La casa di mio padre [color=green]era[/color] grande e accogliente – My father’s house was large and cosy

4. Notice the idiom: “C’era una volta” = “Once upon a time”.

Here is a little exercise to practice. passato prossimo and imperfetto.
In the following text, fill in the blanks with the appropriate tense (passato prossimo or imperfetto). Put the verbs in 1st person singular (io).

Ieri ________________(svegliarsi) alle 8 e mezzo. _______(Piovere). Siccome ___ (essere) tardi, _________(chiedere) a mio padre di accompagnarmi a scuola, ma la sua macchina ___ (essere) senza benzina, così __________ (dovere) prendere l’autobus.
Mentre _________ (aspettare) l’autobus alla fermata, ________ (vedere) passare un mio amico in moto, e gli __________ (chiedere) un passaggio, così _____________ (arrivare) in orario.

Here’s the English translation:
Yesterday I woke up at 8:30 am. It was raining. Since it was late, I asked my father to take me to school by car, but his car was out of gas, so I had to take the bus.
While I was at the bus stop waiting for the bus, I saw a friend of mine going by (?) on his motorbike, and I asked him for a lift, so I arrived at school on time.
(If you find mistakes in my English sentences, please send me a PM, I’ll correct them).

Carla




oviaukko
Sunday 26th of June 2005 01:04:38 AM
i've always been tought loro instead of essi. what's the difference there, is one more informal maybe?

and another thing, are you going to continue posting these basic grammar lessons? it'd be wonderful as my italian is very very rusty.

cheers!

hazel


Carla
Sunday 26th of June 2005 05:29:01 AM
Loro - Essi: Hi Hazel,
:)
The words essi, egli and ella are subject pronouns (the same as the English they, he and she), while loro, lui and lei are object pronouns (like the English them, him and her).

Nowadays, the pronouns essi, egli and ella are very little used, because in everyday speech people tend to replace them with loro, lui and lei, even when they act as subjects. You will only find essi, egli and ella in novels and literary pieces.
;)
Carla



Tyrrena
Monday 31st of October 2005 08:26:02 PM
Hi Carla,
I've got serious problems with double consonants in Italian.
Is there any rule on this item?, i may distinguish them when i hear sb speaking, but when it comes to writing, i'm at a loss, i either put them in the wrong place or miss them completely :'( .
Thanks in advance! :)


Carla
Monday 31st of October 2005 08:42:27 PM
Double consonants: Hi Tyrrena,
:)
unfortunately, there are no rules about double consonants in Italian...you only have to read a lot, and try and memorize words with double consonants.
This is a hard topic for Italian native speakers too :(
Italian kids at school often miss double consonants...

Carla


xx_Carol_xx
Wednesday 02nd of November 2005 12:02:58 AM
Double negatives: I'm currently working my way through the Pimsleur course and it was posted on the Pimsleur thread that instead of saying "Non vorrei bere qualcosa" as on the CD, it sounds better to say "Non voglio bere niente". In English this would be a double negative which would mean you DO want to drink something. Is it okay then to use double negatives in Italian?


Carla
Wednesday 02nd of November 2005 01:05:38 AM
Double negatives: Hi Carol :)

Unlike English, double negatives in Italian are perfectly acceptable, and they are commonly used by native speakers. Sentences containing two (or even three) negative words still have a negative meaning.
Negative sentences in Italian always contain the conjunction "non".

Here are some Italian negative words and their corresponding English words:
non...nessuno - no one, nobody
non... niente - nothing
non...nulla - nothing
non...né...né - neither...nor
non...mai - never
non...ancora - not yet
non...più - no longer
non...affatto - not at all
non...mica - not at all (in the least)
non...punto - not at all
non...neanche - not even
non...nemmeno - not even
non...neppure - not even
non...che - only

Examples:
Non voglio niente – I don’t want anything
Non abbiamo visto nessuno – We haven’t seen anybody
Non ho mai visto nessuno in quella stanza - I have never seen anybody in that room
Non è mai stata in Italia – She has never been to Italy
Non ho preso nulla – I didn’t take anything
Non ho più fame – I’m not hungry any more

Ciao :)

Carla



Tyrrena
Wednesday 02nd of November 2005 08:26:18 PM
Originally posted by carla1604


Hi Tyrrena,
:)
unfortunately, there are no rules about double consonants in Italian...you only have to read a lot, and try and memorize words with double consonants.
This is a hard topic for Italian native speakers too :(
Italian kids at school often miss double consonants...

Carla

Thank u for ur reply Carla! :)
Well, i've got the sneaking suspicion i'm done!!!:'(


Carla
Tuesday 15th of November 2005 05:46:16 AM
Hi everybody

I was asked about compound prepositions (preposizioni articolate). Here is an explanation about them.

In Italian the prepositions di, a, da, in, su, are often combined with definite articles to form compound prepositions (preposizioni articolate).
See my post at http://www.phrasebase.com/discuss/read.php?TID=3547 for an explanation about definite articles.

Definite articles

il, lo - masculine singular
la - feminine singular
i, gli - masculine plural
le - feminine plural

Compound prepositions (preposition + article)

di + il, lo = [color=blue]del, dello[/color]
di + la = [color=blue]della[/color]
di + i, gli = [color=blue]dei, degli[/color]
di + le = [color=blue]delle[/color]
Examples:
il calore [color=blue]del[/color] sole, il cane [color=blue]dello[/color] zio, l'inizio [color=blue]della[/color] primavera, il capo [color=blue]dei[/color] ribelli, il canto [color=blue]degli[/color] uccelli, il profumo [color=blue]delle[/color] rose
the heat of the sun, my uncle’s dog, the beginning of spring, the leader of the rebels (or the rebel leader) , the scent of roses, birdsong (or the song of birds)

a + il, lo = [color=blue]al, allo[/color]
a + la = [color=blue]alla[/color]
a + i, gli = [color=blue]ai, agli[/color]
a + le = [color=blue]alle[/color]
Examples
andare [color=blue]al[/color] parco, guardarsi [color=blue]allo[/color] specchio, vedere un film [color=blue] alla[/color] televisione, dare da mangiare [color=blue]ai[/color] pesci, dare da mangiare [color=blue]agli[/color] uccelli
to go to the park, to look at oneself in the mirror, to watch a movie on tv, to feed the fishes, to feed the birds

da + il, lo = [color=blue]dal, dallo[/color]
da + la = [color=blue]dalla[/color]
da + i, gli = [color=blue]dai, dagli[/color]
da + le = [color=blue]dalle[/color]
Examples:
andare [color=blue]dal[/color] dottore, venire [color=blue]dallo[/color] spazio, guardare [color=blue]dalla[/color] finestra, una bambina [color=blue]dai[/color] capelli lunghi, una donna [color=blue]dagli[/color] occhi azzurri, [color=blue]dalle[/color] due alle sette
to go to the doctor, to come from the space, to look out of the window, a long-haired little girl, a blue-eyed woman, from 2:00 to 7:00

in + il, lo = [color=blue]nel, nello[/color]
in + la = [color=blue]nella[/color]
in + i, gli = [color=blue]nei, negli[/color]
in + le = [color=blue]nelle[/color]
Examples:
[color=blue]nel [/color]bosco, [color=blue]nello[/color] stagno, [color=blue]nella[/color] cucina, [color=blue]nei[/color] boschi, [color=blue]negli[/color] stagni, [color=blue]nelle[/color] cucine
in the wood, in the pond, in the kitchen, in the woods, in the ponds, in the kitchens

su + il, lo = [color=blue]sul, sullo[/color]
su + la = [color=blue]sulla[/color]
su + i, gli = [color=blue]sui, sugli[/color]
su + le = [color=blue]sulle[/color]
Examples:
[color=blue]sul[/color] tavolo, [color=blue]sullo[/color] scaffale, [color=blue]sulla[/color] sedia, [color=blue]sui[/color] tavoli, [color=blue]sugli[/color] scaffali, [color=blue]sulle[/color] sedie
on the table, on the shelf, on the chair, on the tables, on the shelves, on the chairs

The preposition con may or not be combined with definite articles. The compound forms are mostly used in spoken language, but I like better to use con and the article separately.
con + il, lo = [color=blue]col, collo[/color]
con + la = [color=blue]colla[/color]
con + i, gli = [color=blue]coi, cogli[/color]
con + le = [color=blue]colle[/color]

Notice that the compound prepositions dello, della, dallo, dalla, allo, alla, nello, nella, sullo, sulla become dell', dall', all', nell', sull' before nouns - either masculine or feminine - starting with a vowel.

Carla
;)



xx_Carol_xx
Thursday 14th of December 2006 05:21:16 AM
Pimsleur: Hi, After a long break from doing the Pimsleur, I'm slowly working through it again. I'm on for unit 18 and I have a couple of questions.

1. We are asked to say "What does your wife want to do?" and the answer is "Sua moglie, che cosa vuole fare?" Is it not possible to say "Che cosa sua moglie vuole fare?"

2. One of the answers they give is "Ma no, non del latte" but earlier in the same unit they say "Non vino ma birra." I thought with 'non' you didn't add del/della as in non dollari or is milk an exception? :)


Carla
Thursday 14th of December 2006 06:10:54 AM
It would sound more natural to say: "Che cosa vuole fare sua moglie?". The sentence "che cosa sua moglie vuole fare?" sounds a bit weird. In Italian we often put the subject at the end of a sentence.

You can say both "non vino ma birra" and "non del vino ma della birra".



C_david
Tuesday 19th of December 2006 02:09:09 AM
Hey, I've been wondering how to insist on a sentence, for exemple: She does know, it did happen; is it like in Spanish?¡? By adding the word 'sì'?¡?

Grazie mille. :)


Carla
Tuesday 19th of December 2006 08:19:03 AM
It depends... you may simply say the sentence with a different intonation, without adding anything, so you should just say:
Lei lo sa
è successo

You may also add an adverb such as "proprio", "davvero", "veramente":
I do love you as before = Ti amo davvero come prima
I did study but I don't remember it = Ho davvero studiato ma non me lo ricordo
It did happen = E' successo veramente
You do deserve a prize = Ti meriti proprio un premio


xx_Carol_xx
Wednesday 20th of December 2006 07:56:14 PM
Thanks Carla.

Unit 19
So is it right to say "Che cosa vorrebbe bere lui?" and not put the lui at the start like they've done in Pimsleur?

Also with "Lui vorrebbe bere del latte", do you put the lui at the start? I know you normally drop pronouns but in both these sentences would you include the lui if there might be uncertainty you meant "he"?





Carla
Wednesday 20th of December 2006 10:09:23 PM
You may say
"Che cosa vorrebbe bere lui?" and "Lui che cosa vorrebbe bere?" are both correct.

"Lui vorrebbe bere del latte" is correct.
In Italian we usually put the subject at the start of a sentence (in questions also). There are some exceptions though; the subject may follow the verb in some cases, especially with intransitive verbs (arrivare, tornare, nascere, morire etc.):

è arrivato un mio amico
è morto Pinochet
è nato un bambino
è tornato mio marito


xx_Carol_xx
Monday 29th of January 2007 01:46:09 AM
Thank you..

Trying to work out lontano and lontana. I understand it's to do with the verb or noun in a sentence but why in unit 23 and then in 25 do they say "non è lontano" and "non è lontana" ? Is it to do with what it is referring to?


Carla
Tuesday 30th of January 2007 07:53:00 AM
The word lontano in Italian is both an adverb and an adjective.

An adverb is a word that modifies a verb; adverbs in Italian are invariable.
An adjective is a word that modifies a noun, it has to agree with the noun in gender/number.

When used as an adverb, the word lontano is invariable ("lontano"), whereas when it's used as an adjective, it has to agree with the noun it refers to.

Examples:
Lontano (adverb - invariable)
La mia casa è lontano dal centro
Roma è lontano da qui?

Lontano (adjective - variable)
La mia casa è lontana dal centro
Roma è lontana da qui?



badbadger
Tuesday 13th of March 2007 05:11:31 PM
i am having a little trouble with "chiamarsi"

i know that to say "i am called" it is "mi chiamo" and for "it is called" it is "si chiama" but am a bit more unsure when it comes to things like:

they call him monty
i was called bobby
what were you called at school? (informal)

things like that give me a bit of trouble...


Carla
Tuesday 13th of March 2007 06:35:34 PM
Your sentences:

they call him monty - Lo chiamano Monty
i was called bobby - mi chiamavano Bobby
what were you called at school? - come ti chiamavano a scuola?

CHIAMARE AND CHIAMARSI
Chiamare and chiamarsi, although similar, are two different verbs.
In fact, many Italian verbs (like chiamare/chiamarsi, sposare/sposarsi, ricordare/ricordarsi) can have both a normal (transitive) and pronominal (usually intransitive) form. If you look up those verbs on the dictionary, you will find two separate entries.

Chiamare
Meaning: to call
Dictionary definition (De Mauro online): click => here <=.

Present tense conjugation:
io chiamo
tu chiami
lui/lei chiama
noi chiamiamo
voi chiamate
loro chiamano

Examples:
Come hai chiamato il tuo cane? L'ho chiamato Rex.
Il mio nome è Luigi ma gli amici mi chiamano Gigi.
Quando è nato suo figlio, lo ha chiamato con lo stesso nome di suo nonno.

Notice that the object pronouns in the above sentences are direct object pronouns (lo, la, mi, ti etc.)

Chiamarsi
It's an intransitive pronominal verb, that is it's conjugated with a reflexive pronoun
Meaning: to be called
Dictionary definition (De Mauro online): click => here <=.

Present tense conjugation:
io mi chiamo
tu ti chiami
lui/lei si chiama
noi ci chiamiamo
voi vi chiamate
loro si chiamano

Examples:
Mi chiamo Carla.
Il mio gatto si chiama Chicco.
Si chiama Antonio come suo nonno

Notice that the pronouns in the above sentences are reflexive pronouns (mi, ti, si, ci, vi etc.)

I tried to be as clear as possible, but I realize it can be tricky... so if you have any other questions, please ask again :)

Carla


SanjaDz
Wednesday 28th of March 2007 11:27:29 PM
Hi,

There`s something that i`d like to ask.Since Italian has a lot of tenses,do native speakers always use all of them,or are there some that are much less used and therefore not necessary for foreigners to learn? If so,which ones are the most important?
Here`s the list of tenses whose frequency of usage i want to know:

http://www.italian-verbs.com/italian-verbs/conjugation.php?verbo=parlare


Carla
Thursday 29th of March 2007 05:31:13 AM
Good question :)

You are right, Italian verb tenses are so many that a foreigner might be scared...

Here are the most used tenses:

Modo indicativo:
presente (io parlo...)
passato prossimo (io ho parlato...)
imperfetto (io parlavo...)
futuro semplice (io parlerò...)

Modo congiuntivo:
presente (che io parli...)
imperfetto (che io parlassi...)

Modo condizionale:
presente (io parlerei...)

As for the modi indefiniti (gerundio, participio, infinito), the most common tenses are the following:
gerundio presente (parlando)
participio passato (parlato)
infinito presente (parlare)

I think the tenses above cover the 80% or more of the verb tenses commonly used in spoken Italian.

Just a note about the passato remoto: it's very little used in spoken Italian, but it's widely used in written language (stories, novels etc.), so if you are planning to read a novel in Italian you will have to learn it.

Another short note about the congiuntivo mood (subjunctive): the subjunctive should be used whenever you want to express uncertainty or subjectivity, but Italian speakers themselves sometimes miss it, especially in spoken language, so if you don't feel like learning subjunctive, don't worry... you will be understood if you use presente indicativo and imperfetto indicativo instead of presente congiuntivo and imperfetto congiuntivo.


SanjaDz
Friday 30th of March 2007 06:08:35 AM
Thanks for your answer and explanation.There`s a lot to learn,but now i know what to concentrate on and it makes things easier for me. :)


SanjaDz
Saturday 31st of March 2007 06:59:35 AM

I`m trying to phrase some sentences that have just come into my mind,but since i have recently started learning i guess what i want to say requires much more knowledge than i have.I`ve only learned a few tenses so far and am not familiar with the rules of grammar,so i`d appreciate it if you could correct my mistakes.

Sto scrivendo una lettera al mio amico chi e in America dove impara l`inglese.Quando avra ricevuto la lettera,dira che cosa pensa.
The second one seems incorrect to me,and i`m not sure about the first one either.Anyway,I want to say:"When he receives the letter,he`ll tell me what he thinks."

What about the following?
Parlero al telefono con te quando avro avuto abbastanza tempo.
Would it be possible to say:"Parlero al telefono con te quando ho abbastanza tempo," and "Parlero al telefono con te quando avro abbastanza tempo"?

Thanks in advance.


Carla
Monday 02nd of April 2007 04:54:51 PM
Sto scrivendo una lettera al mio amico chi che è in America dove impara l'inglese. Quando avrà ricevuto (or riceverà) la lettera, dirà che cosa pensa.

Your sentence is correct. The only mistake is the use of the pronoun chi instead of che (chi is an interrogative pronoun, che is the subject pronoun).
In this sentence you can use either futuro anteriore (avrà ricevuto) or futuro semplice (riceverà). The meaning is the same, but there's a slight difference:

Futuro semplice - the two actions (ricevere, dire) are very close.
Futuro anteriore - the two actions (ricevere, dire) are not very close. When you use the futuro anteriore, you mean to emphasize that the first action is already finished when the second one takes place.

Parlero al telefono con te quando avrò avuto abbastanza tempo.

In the above sentence, the use of futuro anteriore is wrong. In fact, "avere tempo" (to have time) is not really an action, it's rather a condition, so it doesn't make sense to use the futuro anteriore.

Let's change a bit your sentence:
Parlerò con te al telefono quando finirò/avrò finito di scrivere questa lettera.

As in your first sentence, you can use both futuro anteriore and futuro semplice, depending on which concept you want to emphazize (close actions or the first action finished before the first one takes place).


Finally, I have to say that in spoken Italian the presente indicativo tense is often used instead of the futuro semplice, and the passato prossimo often replaces the futuro anteriore. This is because Italian speakers tend to simplify their speech and to use the most common verb tenses.

An Italian speaker will probably say:
Ti telefono quando ho tempo.
Quando riceve la lettera, mi dirà che cosa ne pensa.
Appena ho finito di fare i compiti vengo a casa tua.



SanjaDz
Sunday 01st of July 2007 09:33:58 PM
Hello everybody!
I need a translation of these three conditionals and a short explanation.

1 If i go there i will meet your friends.
2 If i went there i would meet your friends.
3 If i had gone there i would have met your friends.

Thanks :)


Carla
Wednesday 04th of July 2007 11:07:49 PM
PERIODO IPOTETICO: Hello, here are the translations of your sentences:
1 Se io vado lì incontrerò i tuoi amici
2 Se io andassi lì incontrerei i tuoi amici
3 Se io fossi andato lì avrei incontrato i tuoi amici


The three sentences above are conditional clauses. That construction is called PERIODO IPOTETICO in Italian.
The periodo ipotetico is introduced by the word SE (=IF) followed by different verb tenses according to the situation. It may contain the word ALLORA (=THEN).

The general form of the period ipotetico is as follows:
SE + HYPOTHESYS + ALLORA (optional) + CONSEQUENCE


There are three kinds of periodo ipotetico:

1.REAL -the hypothesis is perfectly possible; often you can exchange "when" for "if"):
use SE + INDICATIVO (presente, futuro, passato prossimo, whatever you need to mean), and the INDICATIVO or IMPERATIVO for the consequence

Examples:
se studi impari – if you study then you will learn
se non hai fame non mangiare – if you are not hungry, then don’t eat

2.UNLIKELY - an unlikely hypothesis; you cannot substitute "when" for "if":
use SE + CONGIUNTIVO IMPERFETTO, and the CONDIZIONALE PRESENTE or PASSATO for the consequence

Examples:
Se fossi ricca smetterei di lavorare – if I were rich, I’d give up working
Se fosse bel tempo andrei a fare una passeggiata – if the weather was good, I’d go out for a walk

3.NO LONGER POSSIBLE - a hypothesis in the past, therefore by definition impossible:
use SE + CONGIUNTIVO TRAPASSATO, and the CONDIZIONALE PRESENTE or PASSATO for the consequence.

Examples:
Se avessi avuto tempo, sarei passata a trovarti… – if I had had time, I would have gone to see you
Se fossi andata a letto presto, ora non sarei stanca – if I had gone to bed early, I wouldn’t be so tired right now




Bober
Friday 06th of July 2007 06:03:05 AM
hello!
i'm having more and more interest in Italian language lately, so I thought I could start and learn some basics..
I've a question about the tenses: is there much similarity between french and italian? (in grammar, especially tenses i mean) I'd say passato prossimo and imperfetto are just like passé composé and imparfait in french, or am I wrong?


Carla
Saturday 07th of July 2007 10:20:27 PM
Hi Bober,
yes you are right, Italian verb tenses are very similar to the French ones. Passato prossimo and imperfetto follow exactly the same rules in Italian and in French.

I'd say that the main differences between Italian and French verbs are the following:

1. In Italian, we don't use the forms "aller + infinitif" (futur proche) and "venir + infinitif" (passé récent), you have to use different constructions. Also, "etre en train de" is translated as "stare + gerund".

2. Subjunctive is a bit more used in Italian than in French. For example, unlike the French verbs croire and penser, the Italian verbs credere (to believe) and pensare(to think) call for the subjunctive in active form too. The past subjunctive tenses (imperfetto, trapassato etc) are more frequently used in Italian than in French.

3. Italian verbs, as well as the French ones, may take the auxiliaries essere (to be) and avere (to have). Usually, Italian verbs take the same auxiliary as in French, but that's not always true... for example the verb essere (to be), unlike the French etre, takes the verb essere as auxiliary.

Italian: io sono stato (auxiliary essere)
French: j'ai été (auxiliary avoir)

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