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Basic Italian Grammer

Basic Italian Grammer

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The grammar pages which you can reach from this Home Page are meant to supplement what

you are doing in class. Use this page to revise the basic points of Italian grammar which you need for Standard Grade and Higher. This page links you to information on the following:
• • • • • •

• •

nouns definite and indefinite articles (“the” and “a”) partitive article (“some”) adjectives articulated prepositions verbs:— select the tense by clicking on one of the items listed below 1. present tense 2. future tense 3. conditional 4. past conditional 5. past tense (passato prossimo) 6. imperfect tense 7. pluperfect tense 8. gerundio 9. reflexive verbs 10. modal verbs 11. imperative mood 12. passive voice 13. impersonal verbs 14. subjunctive mood pronouns adverbs

I NOMI Nouns (and how to make them plural)
Italian nouns are divided into two genders: masculine and feminine. Italian nouns end in 3 possible ways: -A -O -E like pizza, pasta, casa like bambino, minuto, disegno like ristorante, studente, ospedale

Words borrowed from another language like sport, weekend, jogging, film are masculine and have no plural form. 1. Nouns which end in -A are nearly always feminine; to make them plural change -A to -E: e.g. casa = house ; houses = case pizza = pizza ; pizzas = pizze porta = door ; doors = porte 2. Nouns which end in -O are nearly always masculine; to make them plural change -O to -I: e.g. ragazzo = boy ; boys = ragazzi gelato = ice cream ; ice creams = gelati tempo = time ; times = tempi 3. Nouns which end in -E can be either masculine or feminine and you have to learn the gender when you learn the word; to make these nouns plural change -E to -I :e.g. ristorante = restaurant ; restaurants = ristoranti notte = night ; nights = notti studente = student ; students = studenti Notes: 1. Many nouns in Italian end in -ità (note the grave accent on the final -a). These nouns do not have a plural form. Nor does the noun città (city). 2. Look at these two masculine nouns: zio (plural zii) and occhio (plural occhi). You will only find two 'i's if the 'i' in the singular carries the stress of the word. 3. Spelling: Nouns ending in -ca and -ga are spelt -che and -ghe in the plural: e.g. banca = bank ; banks = banche riga = line ; lines = righe Nouns ending in -co and -go are spelt -chi and -ghi in the plural: e.g. fico = fig ; figs = fichi fungo = mushroom ; mushrooms = funghi

Exercise 1: Turn all the nouns below into the plural. (This is not an interactive exercise; you'll have to use paper and check your answers) porta ; finestra ; gatto ; cane ; ombrello ; ospedale ; cerimonia ; opportunità ; film ; posto ; lago ; unione ; spiaggia ; giacca ; albergo ; sbaglio ; sacco ; università ; sport ; città. To check your answers click here. Back to Grammar Index Page N.B. THIS IS NOT AN EXHAUSTIVE SET OF RULES: THERE ARE SOME IRREGULAR NOUNS WHICH ARE NOT DEALT WITH HERE. LEARN THEM AS YOU MEET THEM! However, you ought to know the following: A. These nouns are masculine although they end in -a: 1. il cinema 2. Nouns ending in -ma which are Greek in origin. il clima il diploma il problema il programma il tema (theme) B. Nouns ending in -ista correspond to English nouns ending in -ist; they denote people who do things and can be masculine or feminine; the plural can be -isti or -iste depending on the gender. C. The noun mano is feminine even although it end in -o: la mano and the plural is le mani. D. Some masculine nouns have strange plurals: singular il braccio (arm) il dito (finger) l'osso (bone) il labbro (lip) l'uovo (egg) il paio (pair) plural le braccia le dita le ossa le labbra le uova le paia

E. These two nouns are irregular! singular l'uomo (man) la moglie (wife) plural gli uomini le mogli

Here are the answers to exercises on nouns and articles: Exercise 1: porte ; finestre ; gatti ; cani ; ombrelli ; ospedali ; cerimonie ; opportunità ; film ; posti ; laghi ; unioni ; spiaggie ; giacche ; alberghi ; sbagli ; sacchi ; università ; sport ; città. Back to Nouns Page. Back to Grammar Index Page Exercise 2: 1) il paesino 2) la stanza 3) lo stato 4) l' acqua 5) l'occhio Exercise 3 1) un paesino 2) una stanza 3) uno stato 4) un' opinione 5) un occhio Exercise 4 1. la sera — le sere 2. la stazione — le stazioni 3. l'uva — le uve 4. l'idea — le idee 5. il libro — i libri 6. il dente — i denti 7. lo strumento — gli strumenti 8. lo studente — gli studenti 9. l'ospedale — gli ospedali 10. l'uccello— gli uccelli 6) una madre 7) un padre 8) un orecchio 9) uno zero 10) un'insalata 6) la madre 7) il padre 8) l' umidità 9) lo zucchero 10) l' insalata

L'articolo determinativo— The Definite Article This is the grammatical name for the English word “the”. 1 Feminine nouns — easy.
If the feminine noun is singular, use LA (or abbreviate it to L'if the noun begins with a vowel). If the feminine noun is plural use LE and never abbreviate it, even if the noun begins with a vowel. For example: singular la ragazza la casa l'ora l'erba la chiave la notte l'opinione l'opportunità plural le ragazze le case le ore le erbe le chiavi le notti le opinioni le opportunità

2 Masculine nouns — tricky.
There is only one word for "the" for feminine nouns, but before a masculine noun you need to choose between IL and LO. You make the choice depending on how the masculine noun begins. You should find that you choose IL most of the time. Here are the rules: 1. Use IL and its plural I when the masculine noun begins with a consonant. 2. Use LO and its plural GLI when the masculine noun begins with a vowel, or z or “impure s” — i.e. the letter s followed by another consonant. LO can be abbreviated to L' before a word beginning with a vowel. 3. Remember that any nouns borrowed from another language are masculine and have no plural. This table summarises all you need to know about masculine nouns and there articles: singular il ragazzo il ristorante l'albergo lo sbaglio lo zio plural i ragazzi i ristoranti gli alberghi gli sbagli gli zii

l'ufficiale lo sport il film

gli ufficiali gli sport i film

If you can master how to change words from singular to plural a huge amount of Italian grammar will become very easy. It is vital that you try very hard to master this piece of grammar before you move on. If you can master the definite article, you will be able to understand and use correctly some necessary but rather tricky pieces of Italian grammar, so try to master this before you move on.

L'articolo indeterminativo — The Indefinite Article This is the grammatical name for the English word “a”. 1 Feminine nouns — easy.
The word for “a” before a feminine noun is una which can be abbreviated to un' if the noun begins with a vowel.

2 Masculine nouns — less easy.
The usual word is un which is used before all masculine nouns (including those which begin with a vowel) except those which begin with z or s impure. Study the following table which should explain it all. masculine un ragazzo un amico un ospedale uno sconto uno specchio uno zingaro un salmone un trattore feminine una ragazza un'amica un'intezione una scarpa una specie una zingara una salsiccia una trattoria

Exercise 2 : Put the Definite Article (il/lo/l'/la/l') in front of each of the following singular nouns; if you are not immediately sure of the gender of the noun, check in a dictionary.

1) ..... paesino 6) .... madre

2) ..... stanza 3) ..... stato 4) ..... acqua 5) .....occhio

7) .... padre 8) .... umidità 9) .... zucchero 10) .... insalata

Exercise 3: Put the Indefinite Article (un/uno/una/un') in front of each of the following nouns; if you are not immediately sure of the gender of the noun, check in a dictionary. 1) ..... paesino 6) .... madre 2) ..... stanza 7) .... padre 3) ..... stato 8) .... orecchio 4) ..... 9) .... zero opinione 5) .....occhio 10) .... insalata Exercise 4: change all the following phrases into the plural: 1. la sera 2. la stazione 3. l'uva 4. l'idea 5. il libro 6. il dente 7. lo strumento 8. lo studente 9. l'ospedale 10. l'uccello

Here are the answers to exercises on nouns and articles: Exercise 1: porte ; finestre ; gatti ; cani ; ombrelli ; ospedali ; cerimonie ; opportunità ; film ; posti ; laghi ; unioni ; spiaggie ; giacche ; alberghi ; sbagli ; sacchi ; università ; sport ; città. Exercise 2: 1) il paesino 2) la stanza 3) lo stato 4) l' acqua 5) l'occhio Exercise 3 1) un paesino 2) una stanza 3) uno stato 4) un' opinione 5) un occhio Exercise 4 1. la sera — le sere 2. la stazione — le stazioni 3. l'uva — le uve 4. l'idea — le idee 5. il libro — i libri 6. il dente — i denti 7. lo strumento — gli strumenti 8. lo studente — gli studenti 9. l'ospedale — gli ospedali 10. l'uccello— gli uccelli 6) una madre 7) un padre 8) un orecchio 9) uno zero 10) un'insalata 6) la madre 7) il padre 8) l' umidità 9) lo zucchero 10) l' insalata

The Partitive Article — Il Partitivo This is the grammatical name for the English word "some" or "any".
There are several ways that this can be translated into Italian but you must master the first
method so that you can use the two irregular adjectives bello and quello which follow the same pattern. 1 The commonest word for "some" is del. This word is a combination of the word di and the various forms of the definite article as shown in the table below. If you're not sure about all the various forms of the definite article revise it again here. masc. sing. il lo l' del dello dell' fem. sing. masc. plur. la l' i gli della dell' dei degli fem. plur. le delle

Definite Article Partitive Article

Master this word before you move on. The form you need is the one which corresponds to the definite article which would be used with the noun: for example: 1. Suppose you want to say "some wine"; 'the' wine is il vino, so 'some' wine is del vino. 2. Suppose you want to say "some friends" ; 'the' friends is gli amici, so 'some' friends is degli amici. You will see that to handle this word correctly you must understand the definite article. Revise it again if you have to but it won't get any easier if you pretend that it will go away if you ignore it. Exercise 1 Here is a shopping list; translate the items into Italian. (Use a dictionary for the nouns) 1. some wine 2. some bread 3. some cheese 4. some apples 5. some fruit 6. some biscuits 7. some mineral water 8. some oil 9. some vinegar 10. some garlic 11. some spaghetti (N.B. this word is masc. plur.) 12. some lasagne (N.B. this word is fem. plur.) 13. some sugar 14. some onions 15. some courgettes (courgette = zucchino)

Exercise 2 Use a dictionary to help you translate these sentence into Italian, using the correct part of del.

N.B. "there is" = c'è ; "there are" = ci sono. 1. Is there any bread? 2. Are there any rolls? 3. Is there any butter? 4. Is there any oil? 5. There are some nice strawberries in the garden (nel giardino) 6. There is some wine downstairs. 7. There are some houses 8. Are there any shops? 9. Is there any fresh milk? 10. There are some mistakes.

Master the word del before you go any further. The adjectives bello and quello follow the same pattern; learn it thoroughly. Here are the other ways of saying "some" : Look carefully at the conditions under which they can be used. 2 alcuni ; alcune [only used with a plural noun; it agrees with its noun] e.g. I invited some friends = Ho invitato alcuni amici I spent a few hours in Rome = Ho passato alcune ore a Roma 3 qualche [invariable; followed by a singular noun in Italian, but its meaning is plural] This is a good one to use in higher writing. e.g. I invited some friends = Ho invitato qualche amico I spent a few hours in Rome = Ho passato qualche ora a Roma. I have been leaninng Italian for a few weeks = Imparo l'italiano da qualche settimana. I would like to spend some days in Rome = Vorrei passare qualche giorno a Roma. 4 un po' di = a little; a bit of ; some [invariable] e.g. I need a bit of peace = Ho bisogno di un po' di pace. I take a little milk in my coffee = prendo un po' di latte nel caffe.

5 NOT USED IN A NEGATIVE SENTENCE IN ITALIAN: e.g. I don't have any problems = Non ho problemi There's no more milk = Non c è più latte.

6 nessun ; nessuno ; nessuna ; nessun' = not any [double negative! sing.only] e.g. I didn't prepare any special dishes = Non ho preparato nessun piatto speciale. I don't have any idea = Non ho nessun'idea.

Exercise 3 Here are some sentences in English which have been partially translated into Italian. You have to supply the missing words, but be careful, not all the gaps require a word — look at 5 above! 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. I bought some pasta = Ho comprato ______ pasta. Some friends invited me to a party. = ___________ amici mi hanno invitato a una festa. I met some nice people = Ho conosciuto ___________ persone simpatiche. There were some long tables = C'erano ________ lunghi tavoli. On the tables there were some bottles of beer = Sui tavoli c'era _________ bottiglia di birra. There were also a few plates of cheese. = C'erano anche ________ piatti di formaggio. There wasn't any more sparkling wine nor any brandy. = Non c'era più _______ spumante e neanche ______ cognac. 8. I drank a few glasses of red wine = Ho bevuto _______ bicchiere di vino rosso. 9. I ate some salad, and some olives = Ho mangiato _______ insalata e ________ olive. 10. Maria left with some students. = Maria è partita con ________ studenti.

The Partitive Article: answers to the exercises
Exercise 1 some wine some bread some cheese some apples some fruit some biscuits del vino del pane del formaggio delle mele della frutta dei biscotti dell'acqua some mineral water minerale some oil dell'olio some vinegar dell'aceto some garlic dell'aglio some spaghetti degli spaghetti some lasagne delle lasagne some sugar dello zucchero some onions delle cipolle some courgettes degli zucchini Exercise 2 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Is there any bread? = C'è del pane? Are there any rolls? = Ci sono dei panini? Is there any butter? = C'è del burro? Is there any oil? = C'è dell'olio? There are some nice strawberries in the garden (nel giardino) = Ci sono delle belle fragole nel giardino. 6. There is some wine downstairs. = C'è del vino di sotto. 7. There are some houses = Ci sono delle case. 8. Are there any shops? = Ci sono dei negozi? 9. Is there any fresh milk? = C'è del latte fresco? 10. There are some mistakes. = Ci sono degli sbagli./Ci sono degli errori. Exercise 3 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. I bought some pasta = Ho comprato della pasta. Some friends invited me to a party. = Alcuni (or Degli) amici mi hanno invitato a una festa. I met some nice people = Ho conosciuto delle persone simpatiche. There were some long tables = C'erano alcuni (or dei) lunghi tavoli. On the tables there were some bottles of beer = Sui tavoli c'era qualche bottiglia di birra. There were also a few plates of cheese. = C'erano anche alcuni (or dei) piatti di formaggio. There wasn't any more sparkling wine nor any brandy. = Non c'era più spumante e neanche cognac. 8. I drank a few glasses of red wine = Ho bevuto qualche bicchiere di vino rosso. 9. I ate some salad, and some olives = Ho mangiato dell' insalata e delle olive.

10. Maria left with some students. = Maria è partita con alcuni or degli studenti.

ADJECTIVES — Aggettivi
This page is divided into 4 sections dealing with:
• • • •

regular adjectives irregular adjectives possessive adjectives comparative and superlative adjectives

1. REGULAR ADJECTIVES Adjectives in Italian must match the noun they describe in gender and number. This means that if the noun is feminine, the adjective must be feminine, and if the noun is plural, the adjective must be plural.
Gender means making the adjective masculine or feminine to agree with the noun. Number means making the adjective singular or plural to agree with the noun. Adjectives make their plurals in the same way that nouns make their plurals, so go back and revise the page about nouns if you are not sure. In Italian, adjectives usually come after the noun they are describing but a few always stand before their noun; these are as follows:
1. 2. 3. 4. possessive adjectives (my, your, his/her etc.) which are dealt with below. demonstrative adjectives (this/that) also dealt with below. the adjectives "molto" (much) and "troppo" (too much) some adjectives denoting size can come before or after their noun.

In dictionaries, adjectives are always given in the masculine singular and this may not be the form in which you need the adjective and you may have to change it. There are only 3 irregular adjectives which you need to know; they are dealt with at the end of this page.

Italian adjectives are of two basic types: piccolo and grande — i.e. they either end in -o or they end in -e. If the adjective ends in -o, it has four possible endlings: piccolo (masc. sing.) piccola (fem. sing.)
piccolo (masc. sing.) piccoli (masc. plur.) Now compare an adjective that ends in -e grande (masc. sing.) grandi (masc. plur.) grande (fem. sing.) grandi (fem. plur.) piccola (fem. sing.) piccole (fem. plur.)

This type of adjective has no feminine form; it only has a plural form which is both masculine and feminine. Spelling: Be careful when changing some adjectives because you may need to make a spelling change to preserve the sound of the consonant before the ending: for example: stanco (masc. sing.) stanchi (masc. plur.) lungo (masc. sing.) lunghi (masc. plur.) drammatico (masc. sing.) drammatici (masc. plur.) stanca (fem. sing.) stanche (fem. plur.) lunga (fem. sing.) lunghe (fem. plur.) drammatica (fem. sing.) drammatiche (fem. plur.)

The last adjective above "drammatico" shows you something which regularly happens with adjectives ending in "-ico", — i.e.the masculine plural is -ici while the feminine plural is -iche. Similarly, adjectives ending in "-igo" have the masculine plural -igi, and the feminine plural -ighe. Remember the rules for making nouns and adjectives plural: singular ends in -a ends in -o ends in -e plural change to -e change to -i change to -i

Now try a couple of exercises to see if you have mastered the idea of plurals of nouns and agreement of adjectives:

Exercise 1 : Change the following phrases into the plural. If you have not met the definite article yet, don't try to make the first word in each phrase plural. If you need to revise the article, do that before you try this exercise. 1. la bella ragazza 2. il nuovo metodo 3. il bravo studente 4. il vecchio amico scozzese 5. il giovane ragazzo 6. la prima lezione francese 7. il formaggio francese 8. lo studente tedesco 9. il nuovo sport popolare 10. la grande città industriale 11. il vino magnifico italiano 12. l'attore famoso.

Exercise 2 Change the following phrases into the plural. Be careful about the spelling of some of the adjectives in the plural. You don't need to know the definite article for this exercise. 1. capello lungo e biondo 2. occhio castano e lucido 3. tifoso fanatico 4. via larga 5. vecchia fiaba fantastica 6. giacca sporca 7. strada lunga e serpeggiante 8. famiglia ricca e importante 9. giovane americano ricco 10. esercizio grammaticale

2. IRREGULAR ADJECTIVES There are only 3 irregular adjectives:
1. buono (good) 2. bello (beautiful, nice) 3. quello (that) When these adjectives are put in front of their noun, they follow their own rules: 1. buono has two forms for the masculine singular, so it looks like this: buon or buono (masc. sing.) buona (fem. sing.) buoni (masc. plur.) buone (fem. plur.)

Use the form buon where you would use the indefinite article un — i.e. before a masculine noun beginning with a vowel or consonant or most groups of consonants BUT use buono where you would use the indefinite article uno — i.e. before a masculine noun beginning with z or s+consonant. You'll see that the rest of this adjective is normal. 2. bello and quello have all the possible forms of the word del (the partitive article) If you have not met the word del yet go and study it now because these two adjectives follow the same pattern and you need to know it. Go to the page on the Partitive Article. For those of you who have already met the Partitive Article, here are all the possible forms of bello and quello: masc. sing. fem. sing. masc. plur. fem.pl. del dello dell' della dell' dei degli delle quel quello quell' quella quell' quei quegli quelle Exercise 4. Insert the correct part of buono, bello or quello in these phrases: 1. una [buono] idea. 2. in [quello] casa, con [quello][bello] giardino. 3. un [bello] parco. 4. [quello][bello] appartamento. 5. [bello] isola 6. in [quello] zona di [quello] piccolo paese. 7. un [buono]strumento]. 8. un [buono] amico. 9. una [buono] amica. 10. [quello] [buono] vino. Exercise 5: Turn all the phrases in Exercise 3 into the plural.

3. POSSESSIVE ADJECTIVES: — my, your, his, her, our, their.
IMPORTANT RULE: In Italian you must put the definite article in front of these adjectives. Make yourself familiar with the table below: Singular masc. my your his/her our il mio il tuo il suo il nostro fem. la mia la tua la sua la nostra masc. i miei i tuoi i suoi i nostri Plural fem. le mie le tue le sue le nostre

your their

il vostro il loro

la vostra la loro

i vostri i loro

le vostre le loro

Pay particular attention to the boxes which have been given a different colour and notice 2 things: 1. mio, tuo and suo behave like normal adjectives except in the masculine plural. 2. loro does not make any changes at all, it is invariable. REMEMBER! These adjectives require the definite article UNLESS you are referring to members of the family, when they are not used. REMEMBER too, they take the gender of the noun following them, not the gender of the possessor. Exercise 3: Translate the following phrases which use possessive adjectives into Italian: 1. my house 2. your name 3. my mother 4. our friends 5. his car 6. her father 7. their holidays 8. his father 9. my parents 10. her eyes 11. their tickets 12. our family

4. COMPARATIVE and SUPERLATIVE and STRUCTURES.
Very basically, “comparative” adjectives are words like “taller”, older”, “more intelligent”. “Superlative” adjectives are words like “tallest”, “oldest”, “ most intelligent”. In Italian there is no equivalent to the English suffixes -er and -est; instead, Italian uses the adverb più = more.

COMPARATIVES: — Comparative of Inequality:
1. Examine carefully the following sentences: 1. Maria is tall. = Maria è alta.

2. Angela is taller. = Angela è più alta. 3. Angela is taller than Maria = Angela è più alta di Maria Sentence 3 show a structure called the “comparative of inequality”. Use più with the adjective to make the comparative form, and di to translate the English word than. Use it whenever you want to say someone or something is bigger than/ older than/ better than/ faster than/ someone or something else. Now have a careful look at the following sentences, which show another type of comparison: 1. Marco is intelligent = Marco è intelligente. 2. Giorgio is less intelligent. = Giorgio è meno intelligente. 3. Giorgio is less intelligent than Marco = Giorgio è meno intelligente di Marco. Sentence 3 shows another type of “comparative of inequality” — when you want to say someone/something is less old/interesting/exciting than someone/something else; use meno for the English word less and di to translate the English word than.

Comparative of Equality: This is when you say something like “Edinburgh is as lively as Glasgow”, or “Hearts are as good as Hibs” Here is how you would say that in Italian: 1. Edinburgh is as lively as Glasgow = Edimburgo è così vivace come Glasgow. 2. Hearts are as good as Hibs = Gli Hearts sono così bravi come gli Hibs.
Alternatively, you can express as .....as by using tanto ...... quanto (like the correlative construction in Latin). So you could translate the two sentences above this way:

1. Edinburgh is as lively as Glasgow = Edimburgo è tanto vivace quanto Glasgow. 2. Hearts are as good as Hibs = Gli Hearts sono tanto bravi quanto gli Hibs.

SUPERLATIVES. In English we can use the suffix -est to create the superlative form of the adjective, producing words like oldest, weakest, fastest etc. There is no equivalent in Italian. Instead you use the definite article (il/la/i/le) plus più or meno and the adjective.
Some examples should make this clear. Read carefully the following English sentences and their translation into Italian: 1. The most beautiful churches in Tuscany are in Florence. = Le chiese più belle della Toscana sono a Firenze.

2. The oldest houses in the city are being restored. = Le case più vecchie della città sono in restauro. 3. Milan is the richest city in the country. = Milano è la città più ricca del Paese. 4. They are the fastest cars in the world. = Sono le macchine più veloci del mondo. N.B. Notice how, in Italian, the phrases “in Tuscany”, “in the city” etc. are translated with the preposition di.

THE ABSOLUTE SUPERLATIVE This is the grand name for the suffix -issimo (which you must have seen many times if you are a musician). To make it, drop the final vowel of the simple adjective and add -issimo, e.g.: 1. bello (beautiful) — bellissimo (very beautiful) or you could say molto bello 2. veloce (fast) ——— velocissimo (very fast) or you could say molto veloce
Be careful! sometimes you will have to insert the letter h to preserve the sound of the consonant; e.g.: 1. lungo (long) — lunghissimo (very long) = molto lungo 2. simpatico (nice) — simpatichissimo (very nice) = molto simpatico 3. fresco (fresh) — freschissimo (very fresh) = molto fresco Use this form of the word if you want to say, for example: 1. Venice is a very beautiful city. = Venezia è una città bellissima. 2. Italian women are always very elegant. = Le donne italiane sono sempre elegantissime. Finally, a few adjectives have kept their comparative and superlative forms from Latin:

simple buono (good) cattivo (bad) basso (low)

comparative migliore (better) peggiore (worse) inferiore (lower)

superlative ottimo (best) pessimo (worst) infimo (lowest)

alto (high) piccolo (small) grande (big)

superiore (higher) minore (smaller) maggiore (bigger)

supremo (highest) minimo (smallest) massimo (biggest)

However, you can also say più buono and il più buono and buonissimo, and similarly with the others in the table. The last structure you should know is how you say in Italian phrases like “as long as possible” , “as warm as possible” In Italian the equivalent is: “il più lungo possibile” and “il più caldo possibile”.

Exercise 1 la bella ragazza le belle ragazze il nuovo metodo i nuovi metodi il bravo studente i bravi studenti il vecchio amico i vecchi amici scozzese scozzesi il giovane ragazzo i giovani ragazzi la prima lezione le prime lezioni francese francesi il formaggio francese i formaggi francesi lo studente tedesco gli studenti tedeschi il nuovo sport i nuovi sport popolare popolari la grande città le grandi città industriale industriali il vino magnifico i vini magnifici italiano italiani l'attore famoso. gli attori famosi Exercise 2 capelli lunghi e biondi occhi castani e lucidi tifosi fanatici vie larghe vecchie fiabe vecchia fiaba fantastica fantastiche giacca sporca giacche sporche strada lunga e strade lunghe e serpeggiante serpeggianti famiglia ricca e famiglie ricche e importante importanti giovane americano giovani americani ricchi ricco esercizio grammaticale esercizi grammaticali Exercise 4. The answers are given after the dashes and in bold print.
• • • • • • • • • •

capello lungo e biondo occhio castano e lucido tifoso fanatico via larga

una [buono] idea. — una buon'idea in [quello] casa, con [quello][bello] giardino. — in quella casa con quel bel giardino un [bello] parco. — un bel parco [quello][bello] appartamento. — quel bel appartamento [bello] isola — bell'isola in [quello] zona di [quello] piccolo paese. — in quella zona di quel piccolo paese. un [buono]strumento]. — un buono strumento. un [buono] amico. — un buon amico una [buono] amica. — una buon'amica quel buon vino

.

original phrase una buon'idea in quella casa con quel bel giardino un bel parco quel bel appartamento bell'isola in quella zona di quel piccolo paese. un buono strumento. un buon amico una buon'amica quel bel vino

plural phrase buone idee in quelle case con quei bei giardini bei parchi quei begli appartamenti belle isole in quelle zone di quei piccoli paesi buoni strumenti buoni amici buone amiche quei bei vini

Prepositions are words which stand before a noun or pronoun to create a phrase which can
show place, time, or manner, e.g.: 1. under the table = sotto la tavola 2. at midnight = a mezzanotte 3. with great care = con grande cura. There are a few common “simple” prepositions which you should know and their basic meanings are given below. Learn them! a to ; at ; in

da from ; at the house of .. su on in in ; on di of These prepositions combine with the various forms of the definite article (il, lo, la, l', i, gli, le) to form a single word. This is a fundamental part of Italian grammar and you must know it. The table below shows you what happens when these words combine. In combination with the article, these simple prepositions are called “articulated prepositions” — preposizioni articolate. masculine sing. il a da su in di al dal sul nel del lo, l' allo, all' dallo, dall' sullo, sull' nello, nell' dello, dell' fem. sing. la, l' alla, all' dalla, dall' sulla, sull' nella, nell' della, dell' masc. plur. i ai dai sui nei dei gli agli dagli sugli negli degli fem. pl.. le alle dalle sulle nelle delle

N.B. Be particularly careful with the preposition in which has unusual forms when combined with the article. N.N.B Learn thoroughly the preposition di in its various combinations because this word is also the “partitive article” which is equivalent to the English word “some”. It is also the pattern for the two irregular adjectives bello and quello which, instead of having just the usual four forms, have all the possible forms of the word del. What the table above means is that instead of saying a le ragazze (to the girls), you say alle ragazze. Similarly, you do not say in il giardino (in the garden), but nel giardino. Now try this exercise:

Exercise 1. Translate into English: 1. sulla tavola 2. dalla scuola 3. alla porta della chiesa 4. nel centro della città 5. sui tetti delle case 6. il nome dello studente 7. negli alberghi 8. sul pavimento 9. al cinema 10. sulla sedia nella cucina To check your answers. Exercise 2. Translate into Italian: 1. on the chair 2. on the table in the kitchen 3. in the bathroom 4. from the boys 5. to the hotels 6. in the drawer of the table 7. the names of the students 8. at the window of the bedroom 9. in the pupils' books — i.e. "in the books of the pupils" 10. at the end of the day To check your answers. Prepositions are awkward because they often do not correspond exactly with the equivalent propisition in the other language. There is no easy way to master them; you must simply try to remember the way they are used in Italian. It would take up too much space to give you a definitive list of the various usages which are not the same as in English, but here are a few usages which you must know:

I. The preposition a.
1. The preposition a already has three basic meanings (to, at, in) but you must know the following usages:
• • • • •

Abito a Edimburgo = I live in Edinburgh [use a if you are referring to a town, otherwise use in] C'è un programma alla televisione = There is a programme on television. Non è possibile andare a piedi = It's not possible to go on foot. Passo le vacanze al mare = I spend my holidays at the seaside. Vorrei andare all'estero = I would like to go abroad.

2. The preposition a also links certain verbs to a following infinitive, such as: andare a to go to ...

aiutare a cominciare a imparare a incoraggiare a insegnare a mettersi a pensare a provare a riuscire a venire a

to help to ... to start/begin to to learn to ... to encourage to ... to teach to ... to start/begin to ... to think about .... to try to ... to manage to to come to ...

3. The preposition a also links certain adjectives to a following infinitive, such as: abituato a attento a pronto a accustomed to ... careful to ... ready to ...

II The preposition da.
1. The preposition da has the same meaning as the preposition chez in French: — Rosaria abitava dalla nonna = Rosaria used to live at her grandmother's . Ho comprato del dentifricio dal farmacista. = I bought some toothpaste at the chemist's. C'era una festa da Franco. = There was a party at Franco's house. 2. Da is used to make an expression of time (with a verb in the present tense in Italian) to show actions or circumstances that began in the past and continue into the present: e.g. Carla impara l'italiano da un anno = Carla has been learning Italian for a year. Ti aspetto da un'ora = I have been waiting for you for an hour. 3. Da specifies the agent in a passive sentence, e.g.: L'inglese è parlato da quasi tutti = English is spoken by nearly everyone. Marcovaldo è un libro scritto da Calvino = "Marcovaldo" is a book written by Calvino. 4. Da can indicate what something is used for, e.g.: un campo da calcio = a football pitch un campo da golf = a golf course scarpe da sci = ski boots. 5. Da can be followed by an infinitive in expressions like: Non c'è niente da fare. = There is nothing to do. Cosa c'è da mangiare? = What is there to eat?

III The preposition su

• •

ascoltavo un dibatito sulla politica = I was listening to a discussion about politics. ho letto sul giornale. = I read in the newspaper.

IV The preposition in
1. In is used with the names of countries, states, or regions to show place, e.g.: Abito in Scozia = I live in Scotland. Molti scozzesi sono emigrati in Canada = Many Scots emigrated to Canada. 2. In is used with all methods of transport: in macchina in aereo in moto in bicicletta in barca in treno in autobus in pullman by car... by plane by scooter by bicycle by boat by train by bus by coach

V The preposition di
1. Di shows possession, e.g.:
• •

Hai visto gli occhiali di Lucia? = Have you seen Lucia's glasses? Di chi sono queste scarpe? = Whose shoes are these?

2. Di shows what something is made of, e.g:
• •

una cravatta di seta = a silk tie scarpe di cuoio = leather shoes

3. Di is used to make time phrases, e.g.: di sera di mattina di solito di nuovo di rado in the evenings in the mornings usually again rarely

4. Di is used after some verbs like parlare, discutere, trattare to indicate the topic of discussion, e.g.:
• •

Non mi piace parlare di religione = I don't like talking about religion. Questo libro tratta del problema della droga = This book deals with the problem of drugs.

5. Di is used in expressions making comparisons, e.g.:

• •

Giovanni è più intelligente del fratello = Giovanni is more intelligent then his brother. Tu parli italiano meglio di me. = You speak Italian better than I do.

6. Di is used with the verb essere to indicate origin, e.g.:
• •

La mia famiglia è di Bologna = My family are from Bologna. Tu sei di qui? = Are you from here?

7. Di is also used after certain adjectives to link them to an infinitive verb, e.g.: capace di contento di desideroso di felice di incapace di ... sicuro di soddisfatto di spiacente di stanco di triste di capable of ... happy to ... eager to ... happy to ... incapable of sure of ... satisfied to ... sorry to ... tired of ... sad to ...

8. Di is also used after several verbs to link to a following infinitive, e.g.: accorgersi di cercare di chiedere di consigliare di decidere di dimenticare di domandare di essere in grado di fingere di finire di immaginare di lamentarsi di offrire di pensare di permettere di proibire di rendersi conto di ricordarsi di scegliere di smettere di sperare di tentare di trattare di vietare di to realise; be aware to try to ... to ask to ... to advise to ... to decide to ... to forget to ... to ask ... to be in a position to ... to pretend to ... to finish to imagine to complain about to offer to think of to allow to forbid to realise; be aware to remember to choose to ... to stop to hope to ... to attempt to ... to be about; deal with to forbid

9. Di also acts as the partitive article.

BASTA ADESSO!

Here are the answers to your exercises. Exercise 1. Translate into English: 1. sulla tavola 2. dalla scuola 3. alla porta della chiesa 4. nel centro della città 5. sui tetti delle case 6. il nome dello studente 7. negli alberghi 8. sul pavimento 9. al cinema 10. sulla sedia nella cucina on the table from the school at the door of the church in the centre of the city on the roofs of the houses the name of the student in the hotels on the floor at the cinema; to the cinema on the chair in the kitchen

Exercise 2. Translate into Italian: 1. on the chair 2. on the table in the kitchen 3. in the bathrom 4. from the boys 5. to the hotels 6. in the drawer of the table 7. the names of the students 8. at the window of the bedroom 9. in the pupils' books 10. at the end of the day sulla sedia sul tavolo nella cucina nel bagno dai ragazzi agli alberghi nel casssetto del tavolo i nomi degli studenti alla finestra della camera nei libri degli studenti alla fine del giorno

VERBS — I VERBI Italian verbs are arranged into three groups or conjugations depending on the vowel in the infinitive: 1. parlare: ending in -are 2. vedere: ending in -ere 3. finire: ending in -ire You need to know the type of verb you are dealing with so that you can make the tenses correctly. Some verbs are irregular in that they seem to have an infinitive which fits into the scheme above but they make some of their tenses in a different way. there are very few of these verbs and the best thing to do is learn them when you are learning or revising a particular tense. There is only one verb which is irregular in nearly all its tenses and that is essere (to be). Some verbs have infinitives which are shortened versions of their original forms and this is why they seem to be irregular, in fact it is the infinitive which is slightly irregular. the common ones are: dire, shortened from dicere fare, shortened from facere bere, shortened from bevere porre, shortened from ponere -durre, shortened from -ducere To see how verbs make their various tenses,

PRESENT TENSE — TEMPO PRESENTE
In English this tense looks like "he runs", "they live", "she is working", "we are talking" These four examples all have pronouns — he, they, she, we, but in Italian the pronouns are not necessary because the verb always has an ending to indicate what personal pronoun we want. the four English examples above would each be one single word in Italian. Italian does have personal pronouns; you won't see them very often, but here they are: io tu lui lei Lei I you he she you noi voi loro we you they

The pronoun Lei (with a capital L) means you. It is different from the pronoun tu because Lei is formal: you would use it when politely addressing a stranger; if you speak to someone using a formal title like signore/signorina you should use Lei and even if you don't use the pronoun, the verb should be in the 3rd person singular. Italian verbs fall into 3 types, depending on the vowel in the infinitive. The grammatical name is not type but conjugation and that's the name I'm going to use.
• • •

Conjugation 1 contains verbs with an infinitive ending in -ARE Conjugation 2 contains verbs with an infinitive ending in -ERE Conjugation 3 contains verbs with an infinitive ending in -IRE 1 PARLARE 2 SCRIVERE 3 DORMIRE 3 CAPIRE

1st pers. sing. I 2nd pers. sing. you 3rd pers. sing. he, she, it 1st pers. plur. we 2nd pers. plur. you 3rd pers. plur. they

parlo parli parla parliamo parlate parlano

scrivo scrivi scrive scriviamo scrivete scrivono

dormo dormi dorme dormiamo dormite dormono

capisco capisci capisce capiamo capite capiscono

Don't let a table like this put you off; look for all the similarities, not the differences; for example: All verbs use the ending -o for the first person singular — i.e. if you want to say I do something. All verbs use the ending -i for the second person singular — i.e. if you want to say you do something. All verbs use the ending -iamo for the first person plural — i.e. if you want to say we do something.

English has three forms of the present tense and Italian has only one. In English we can say I speak or I am speaking but in Italian there is only the form parlo. To ask a question in English we would use the phrase do you speak? but in Italian you can only indicate a question by the tone of your voice or by writing a question mark — parli? You'll see that there are two examples of a 3rd conjugation verb, dormire and capire and they behave differently. Most verbs behave like dormire but a small number insert the syllable -iscbefore the personal endings. There is no rule about which do and which don't, you just have to learn as you meet them. The commonest ones which insert -isc- are:finire (to finish) preferire (to prefer) pulire (to clean) punire (to punish) spedire (to send) IRREGULAR VERBS — There are very few verbs which do not fit into the scheme shown in the table above, but two which are very important are the verb avere (to have) and the verb essere (to be) because as well as being very common verbs in their own right, they are also the auxiliary verbs which help to make the past tense (passato prossimo). Here they are: avere 1 ho 2 hai 3 ha to have essere to be I have sono I am you are he/she/it is you are they are you have sei he/she/it è has you have siete they have sono

1 abbiamo we have siamo we are 2 avete 3 hanno

There are twelve common verbs which are irregular in their present tense. They are in the table below. You have to learn them because you will not be able to find these forms in a dictionary. avere = to have ho hai ha abbiamo avete hanno essere = to be sono sei è siamo siete sono venire = to come vengo vieni viene veniamo venite vengono uscire = to go out esco esci esce usciamo uscite escono andare = to go dare = to give vado vai va andiamo andate vanno do dai dà diamo date danno

fare= to do; make sapere = to

stare = to stay; potere =

dovere =

volere = to want

know faccio fai fa facciamo fate fanno so sai sa sappiamo sapete sanno

be sto stai sta stiamo state stanno

can posso puoi può possiamo potete possono

must devo devi deve dobbiamo dovete devono voglio vuoi vuole vogliamo volete vogliono

Return to the Grammar Index Page.

THE FUTURE TENSE — IL FUTURO
The future tense in English is a compound (i.e. more than a single word) tense, made with the auxiliary verbs "shall" and "will". In Italian, the future tense is a simple (i.e. single word) tense, made by adding six ending to the present infinitive: singular -ò = I shall ... -ai = you will ... -à = he/she will... plural -emo = we shall... -ete = you will ... -anno = they will...

These ending are attached to the present infinitive which loses the final -e. Look at the table below: parlare parlerò parlerai parlerà parleremo parlerete parleranno scrivere scriverò scriverai scriverà scriveremo scriverete scriveranno partire partirò partirai partirà partiremo partirete partiranno

Please note three things: 1. Verbs like parlare change the vowel in their infinitive from -a- to -e2. There are accents written on the First Person Singular and Third Person Singular in all verbs. 3. You will have to be careful with the spelling of some verbs when you put them into the Future Tense in order to preserve the sound in their infinitive. This will happen with verbs ending in -care and -gare, e.g. pagare (to pay) I'll pay = pagherò cercare (to look for) I'll look for = cercherò This will also happen with verbs ending in -ciare and -giare, e.g. cominciare (to begin) I'll begin = comincerò viaggiare (to travel) I'll travel = viaggerò IRREGULAR VERBS: A few verbs don't quite follow the pattern above. You need to learn what they do: The Future Tense of avere and essere is:

avere avrò avrai avrà avremo avrete avranno

essere sarò sarai sarà saremo sarete saranno

There are another ten common verbs which you need to learn: andare andrò andrai andrà andrete dare darò darai darà darete fare farò farai farà farete stare starò starai starà starete sapere saprò saprai saprà saprete dovere dovrò dovrai dovrà dovrete potere potrò potrai potrà potrete volere vorrò vorrai vorrà vorrete vedere vedrò vedrai vedrà vedrete venire verrò verrai verrà verrete

andremo daremo faremo staremo sapremo dovremo potremo vorremo vedremo verremo andranno daranno faranno staranno sapranno dovranno potranno vorranno vedranno verranno Apart from the verb essere, only two verbs, volere and venire, are awkward and need careful attention. Return to Grammar Index Page.

The Conditional — Il Modo Condizionale: condizionale presente
The Conditional is a mood of the verb for expressing hopes, wishes and aspirations. In English, the equivalent is the tense/mood made with the the auxiliary very would: e.g. —
• •

I would take a holiday if I had the time. I'm sure that you would enjoy the party, even if your parents are there too.

This mood of the verb is made up like the future tense, by adding endings to the infinitive. The endings are: singular -ei = I would ... -esti = you would ... -ebbe = he/she would... plural -emmo = we would... -este = you would ... -ebbero = they would...

These ending are attached to the present infinitive which loses the final -e. Look at the table below: parlare parlerei parleresti parlerebbe parleremmo parlereste parlerebbero scrivere scriverei scriveresti scriverebbe scriveremmo scrivereste scriverebbero partire partirei partiresti partirebbe partiremmo partireste partirebbero

Please note that as with the Future Tense, verbs like parlare change the vowel in their infinitive from -a- to -e- and also the spelling changes for the Future Tense which affect verbs ending -care, -gare, -ciare and -giare also apply to this tense. IRREGULAR VERBS: The verbs which were irregular in their Future Tense, are also irregular in the Conditional, but all you need to do is change the endings: The Conditional of avere and essere is: avere avrei avresti avrebbe avremmo essere sarei saresti sarebbe saremmo

avreste avrebbero

sareste sarebbero

There are the other ten common verbs which you need to learn: andare andrei andresti dare darei daresti fare farei faresti stare starei staresti sapere saprei sapresti dovere dovrei dovresti potere potrei potresti volere vorrei vorresti vedere vedrei vedresti venire verrei verresti

andrebbe darebbe farebbe starebbe saprebbe dovrebbe potrebbe vorrebbe vedrebbe verrebbe andremm daremm faremm staremm sapremm dovremm potremm vorremm vedremm verremmo o o o o o o o o o andreste dareste fareste stareste sapreste dovreste potreste vorreste vedreste verreste andrebber darebber farebber starebber saprebber dovrebbe potrebber vorrebbe vedrebbe verrebber o o o o o ro o ro ro o So, once you have learned how this mood is formed,you need to be clear about when it is used. Here is a list: 1. to express wishes, hopes, desires, aspirations: I would enjoy spending a year abroad. Mi piacerebbe passare un anno all'estero. 2. to express a request politely: I would like an ice-cream vorrei un gelato. Could you help me, please? Potresti aiutarmi, per favore? (informal) Potrebbe aiutarmi, per favore?(formal) 3. to express doubt: I don't think that he would earn much money. Non penso che guadagnerebbe molti soldi. Mum doesn't think it would be a good idea. La mamma non crede che sarebbe una buon'idea. 4. to express personal opinions: I would say that it should be possible to do it. direi che dovrebbe essere possibile farlo. 5. to repeat rumours, hearsay and other people's opinions:

According to press, they will probably get divorced: Secondo la stampa, si divorzierebbero.

The modal verbs: potere (can), dovere (must/ have to), and volere (want) need a bit of care: potrei = I could dovrei = I should vorrei = I would like For Example: 1. Sandra could learn Italian but she's too lazy. Sandra potrebbe imparare l'italiano me è troppo pigra. 2. They should write to you soon. Dovrebbero scriverti presto. 3. Giorgio would like to accompany you. Giorgio vorrebbe accompagnarti. Return to Grammar Index Page.

The Past Conditional — Il Condizionale Passato
In English the equivalent tense/mood is made with the auxiliaries would have: e.g.—
• •

I would have gone, if I had been invited. He would have earned more money in the States.

In Italian this is a compound tense (i.e.made with more than one word). It is made with the present conditional tense of the auxiliary verb (avere or essere) and the past participle of the verb. Study the table below: parlare avrei parlato avresti parlato finire avrei finito avresti finito arrivare sarei arrivato/a sarebbe arrivato/a saremmo arrivati/e sarebbero arrivati/e partire sarei partito/a vestirsi mi sarei vestito/a

saresti arrivato/a saresti partito/a ti saresti vestito/a sarebbe partito/a si sarebbe vestito/a saremmo partiti/e sarebbero partiti/e ci saremmo vestiti/e si sarebbero vestiti/e

avrebbe parlato avrebbe finito avremmo parlato avrebbero parlato avremmo finito avrebbero finito

avreste parlato avreste finito

sareste arrivati/e sareste partiti/e vi sareste vestiti/e

So, when do you use it? 1. to express a past intention or wish that can no longer be fulfilled: I would have booked the hotel last week; now it's too late. Avrei prenotato l'albergo la settimana scorsa; adesso è troppo tardi. Maria would have come to the party but she is ill. Maria sarebbe venuta alla festa ma sta male. 2. to express "the future in the past" — i.e. in reported speech to express a future action from a point of view in the past: e.g. She said yesterday that she would come. Lei ha detto ieri che sarebbe venuta. I knew that it would be difficult. Ho saputo che sarebbe stato difficile. My father promised that he would buy me a car for my birthday. Mio padre ha promesso che mi avrebbe comprato una macchina per il mio compleanno. The "future in the past" is a difficult piece of grammar but you might want to use it in Higher writing. In essence you use the past conditional when the clause introduced by "that" in English, or

"che" in Italian follows a verb in the past tense. In English the verb in the "that" clause sounds like a conditional, but in Italian it has to be past conditional. The modal verbs: potere (can), dovere (must/ have to), and volere (want) need a bit of care: avrei potuto = I could have avrei dovuto = I should have avrei voluto = I would have liked to For Example: 1. Claudia could sit her exams next week; she could have sat them all last week. Claudia potrebbe fare gli esami la settimana prossima; avrebbe potuto farli la settimana scorsa. 2. You should go to the doctor's; you should have gone yesterday Dovresti andare dal medico; avresti dovuto andare ieri. 3. Giorgio would have liked to accompany you. Giorgio avrebbe voluto accompagnarti. Return to Grammar Index Page

N.B. The verb 'essere' is also the auxiliary verb for itself; the past participle is "stato". Here is the full past tense : I was/have been sono stato/a we were siamo stati/e you were he was she was sei stato/a è stato è stata you were they were siete stati/e sono stati/e

Notice how the past participle must change to match the gender and number of the subject.

The Perfect Tense — Il Passato Prossimo
1. This is a compound tense — i.e. composed of two words — auxiliary verb and past participle. 2. This tense corresponds to two different tenses in English: The Simple Past: e.g. I visited Italy last year. The Present Perfect: e.g. She has gone on holiday for a month. N.B. This means that the English "I went" and "I have gone" are the same in Italian. To make this tense you need the present tense of avere followed by the past participle of the verb you want. You already know the present tense of avere, so you now need you learn how to make the past participle. The table below explains how: Present Infinitive parlare vedere Past Participle parlato veduto

finire finito So, to say in Italian "I have finished" you say Ho (I have) finito (finished); if you want to say "I finished" it is also Ho finito. It is important that you understand that you can only make the past tense in Italian in two words — auxiliary verb and a past participle. Here is the full past tense of the verb vedere (to see) : abbiamo ho veduto I saw; I have seen we saw; we have seen veduto hai veduto you saw; you have seen avete veduto you saw; you have seen ha veduto he/she saw; has seen hanno veduto they saw; they have seen Note that the past participle does not change when the auxiliary verb is avere. If you have learned French you will see that the system is exactly the same.

The vast majority of verbs make their past participle by following the pattern in the table above, but some do not follow the general rule; they are called strong verbs. You have to learn them as you meet them but listed below you will find some of the most common verbs. Learn them now! infinitive aprire bere chiedere chiudere dire fare leggere mettere prendere scegliere scoprire scrivere smettere vedere vincere vivere meaning to open to drink to ask to close to say; to tell to make; to do to read to put to take to choose to discover to write to stop to see to win to live past participle aperto bevuto chiesto chiuso detto fatto letto messo preso risposto scelto scoperto scritto smesso visto vinto vissuto

rispondere to answer

You will see that the verb vedere (to see) has two past participles: veduto and visto; choose whichever you like.

Verbs which require the verb essere as the auxiliary:
Intransitive verbs (usually verbs of motion) and all the reflexive verbs require essere as the auxiliary verb, not avere. This means that you use the present tense of essere and the past participle. N.B. When essere is the auxiliary, the past participle agrees with the subject of the verb. For example: “The girls have left” = Le ragazze sono partite. “The boys arrived late” = I ragazzi sono arrivati in ritardo. “The children woke up early” = I bambini si sono svegliati presto.

Listed below are the commonest verbs which require essere as their auxiliary; learn them now be careful to learn the strong past participles. Infinitive andare venire partire arrivare entrare uscire salire scendere nascere morire tornare cadere rimanere succedere essere Meaning to go to come to leave to arrive to enter to go out to get into to get out of to be born to die to return to fall to remain to happen to be Past Participle andato venuto partito arrivato entrato uscito salito sceso nato morto tornato caduto rimasto successo stato

diventare to become diventato This is a very important tense: you must be able to use it for both Standard Grade and Higher. Try the following exercises. Exercise 1. Translate into English: 1. Ho mangiato troppo. 2. Non ho mai visitato Roma. 3. Hai fatto i compiti? 4. Dove hai passato le vacanze? 5. Non ho fatto niente durante le vacanze. 6. Ho letto un libro interessante la settimana scorsa. 7. Hai visto quel film ieri sera? 8. Mariella ha chiuso la porta quando ha lasciato la casa. 9. La mamma ha comprato del pane al mercato. 10. Cosa hai preso da mangiare oggi? To check your answers click here. Exercise 2. Translate into English: 1. 2. 3. 4. La famiglia è andata a Roma. Tutti sono arrivati in treno. La mia amica è partita ieri sera. L'uomo è salito in macchina.

5. Roberto si è svegliato molto presto. 6. Le ragazze si sono alzate alle sette. 7. I miei genitori sono venuti qui anni fa. 8. La principessa Diana è nata in Inghilterra ma è morta a Parigi. 9. Sono rimasti dieci giorni a Bologna. 10. Dopo la guerra gli uomini sono tornati a casa. To check your answers click here. Exercise 3 Translate into Italian: [transitive verbs — use avere as the auxiliary] 1. I visited Italy last year. 2. I had a strange dream. 3. We have finished. 4. Have you seen my watch? 5. They spent two weeks in Sicily. 6. We ate a delicious pizza. 7. Marco drank too much. 8. They have not paid the bill. 9. I have never slept so well. 10. I closed the door and opened the windows. To check your answers click here. Exercise 4. Translate into Italian: [intransitive and reflexive verbs — use essere as the auxiliary] 1. The results have arrived. 2. Maria has gone to the cinema. 3. The guests left this morning. 4. The girls got up very early. 5. Franco got dressed in a hurry. 6. The children fell asleep. 7. Giuliana has been in Florence on holiday. 8. The others arrived two hours ago. 9. She went out and got into the car. 10. The boys have gone home. To check your answers click here. Return to Grammar Index Page.

Here are the answers to the exercise on the Perfect Tense: Exercise 1. Translate into English: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Ho mangiato troppo. = I have eaten too much. Non ho mai visitato Roma. = I have never visited Rome. Hai fatto i compiti? = Have you done your homework? Dove hai passato le vacanze? = Where did you spend your holidays? Non ho fatto niente durante le vacanze. = I didn't do anything during the holidays. Ho letto un libro interessante la settimana scorsa. = I read an interesting book last week. Hai visto quel film ieri sera? = Did you seethat film last night? Mariella ha chiuso la porta quando ha lasciato la casa = Mariella shut the door when she left the house. 9. La mamma ha comprato del pane al mercato. Mum bought some bread at the market. 10. Cosa hai preso da mangiare oggi? = What did you have to eat? Exercise 2. Translate into English: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. La famiglia è andata a Roma. = The family went to Rome. Tutti sono arrivati in treno. = The all arrived by train. La mia amica è partita ieri sera. = My friend left last night. L'uomo è salito in macchina. = The man got into a car. Roberto si è svegliato molto presto. = Roberto woke up very early. Le ragazze si sono alzate alle sette. = The girls got up at seven o'clock. I miei genitori sono venuti qui anni fa. = My parents came here years ago. La principessa Diana è nata in Inghilterra ma è morta a Parigi. = Princess Diana was born in England but she died in Paris. 9. Sono rimasti dieci giorni a Bologna. = They stayed in Bologna for ten days. 10. Dopo la guerra gli uomini sono tornati a casa. = After the war the men returned home. Exercise 3 Trnalsate into Italian: 1. I visited Italy last year. = Ho visitato l'Italia l'anno scorso. 2. I had a strange dream. = Ho avuto un sogno strano. 3. We have finished.= Abbiamo finito. 4. Have you seen my watch? = Hai visto il mio orologio? 5. They spent two weeks in Sicily. = Hanno passato due settimane in Sicilia. 6. We ate a delicious pizza.= Abbiamo mangiato una pizza deliziosa. 7. Marco drank too much. = Marco ha bevuto troppo. 8. They have not paid the bill. = Non hanno pagato il conto. 9. I have never slept so well. = Non ho mai dormito così bene. 10. I closed the door and opened the windows. = Ho chiuso la porta e ho aperto le finestre. Return to Perfect Tense Page. Exercise 4. Translate into Italian: [intransitive and reflexive verbs — use essere as the auxiliary] 1. The results have arrived. = I risultati sono arrivati. 2. Maria has gone to the cinema. = Maria è andata al cinema.

3. The guests left this morning. = Gli ospiti sono partiti stamattina. 4. The girls got up very early. = Le ragazze si sono alzate molto presto. 5. Franco got dressed in a hurry. = Franco si è vestito in fretta. 6. The children fell asleep. = I bambini si sono addormentati. 7. Giuliana has been in Florence on holiday. = Giuliana è stata a Firenze in vacanza 8. The others arrived two hours ago. = Gli altri sono arrivati due ore fa. 9. She went out and got into the car. = E' uscita ed è salita in macchina. 10. The boys have gone home. = I ragazzi sono andati a casa. Return to Grammar Index Page

THE IMPERFECT TENSE — L'IMPERFETTO
In Italian the imperfect tense is a simple (i.e. a single word) past tense for describing repeated actions in the past or conditions that last for an indefinite time or for descriptions in the past. In English, the equivalent tense is the continuous past or the structure used to.... Here are some examples of the tense in English: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. I was listening to some music. My parents were watching television. I used to play football when I was younger. The weather was beautiful, the sun was shining, the birds were singing. Every Saturday they worked in a supermarket Every morning she would wait for the postman to arrive.

N.B. In sentence 5, the English verb is worked — i.e. the 'simple past' but in Italian you must use the imperfect because the phrase "every Saturday" shows that the action was repeated in the past. In sentence 6, the English verb is would wait which sounds like the 'conditional' but this is yet another way the English language has of showing repeated actions in the past. Translated into Italian, the verb would be in the imperfect tense. This is an easy tense to make in Italian; it has very few exceptions: each verb group adds a set of endings to the stem. In the table below you will see the full scheme. Look for the similarities not the differences! parlare parlavo (I was speaking) parlavi parlava parlavamo parlavate parlavano scrivere scrivevo writing) scrivevi scriveva scrivevamo scrivevate scrivevano (I was dormire dormivo sleeping) dormivi dormiva dormivamo dormivate dormivano (I was

You'll see that each verb uses the endings -vo, -vi, -va, -vamo, -vate, -vano. In front of these endings you will find the same vowel as the verb has in its infinitive. The exceptions: You need to learn the following verbs which do not follow the above rule. ESSERE ero (I was) eri era

eravamo eravate erano There are another five verbs which have a contracted infinitive but they make this tense from their original uncontracted infinitive: fare [facere] facevo facevi faceva facevamo facevate facevano dire [dicere] dicevo dicevi diceva dicevamo dicevate dicevano bere [bevere] bevevo bevevi beveva bevevamo bevevate bevevano porre [ponere] ponevo ponevi poneva ponevamo ponevate ponevano -durre [ducere] -ducevo -ducevi -duceva -ducevamo -ducevate -ducevano

N.B. The verb -durre does not exist in this simple form; it always has a prefix like produrre (to produce), ridurre (to reduce) etc. The other verbs have the following meanings: 1. 2. 3. 4. fare = to do; to make dire = to say ; to tell bere = to drink porre = to put ; to place

NN.B There is one odd place where this tense is used when you would not expect it: if you look at the following piece of English translated into Italian, you'll see it: "The policeman asked me where Stefano lived, but I didn't know = Il poliziotto mi ha chiesto dove abitava Stefano, ma non lo sapevo. Usually if you want to say "I didn't know", you say "non ho saputo". (past tense). Return to Grammar Index Page.

The Pluperfect Tense — Il Trapassato Prossimo
In English this is a compound tense using the auxiliary "had" and a past participle. In Italian this is a compound tense (i.e. two words) using the imperfect tense of the auxiliary verb avere or essere and the past participle of the verb. The tense describes an action in the past which took place before another action in the past: e.g.
1. I looked for my friend but he had already left.

Ho cercato il mio amico ma lui era già partito.
2. My sister gave me a present of a book which I had read years ago.

Mia sorella mi ha regalato un libro che avevo letto anni fa.
Here is the full pluperfect tense of a few verbs: fare avevo fatto avevi fatto aveva fatto meaning I had done he/she had done vedere meaning partire ero partito/a eri partito/a era partito/a eravamo partiti/e eravate partiti/e meaning I had gone you had gone he/she had gone we had gone you had gone

avevo visto I had seen he/she had seen we had seen you had seen

you had done avevi visto you had seen aveva visto avevamo visto avevate visto avevano visto

avevamo fatto we had done avevate fatto you had done avevano fatto they had done

they had seen erano partiti/e they had gone

Exercise 1 Translate the following sentences or clauses into Italian: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. When I had finished, ........ They had already arrived. My parents had bought a house near Naples. Because I had forgotten to telephone, ..... The train had already left. They had cancelled our flight.

To check your answers .

Here are the correct translations of the verbs in the Pluperfect Tense:

1. When I had finished, ........ 2. They had already arrived. 3. My parents had bought a house near Naples. 4. Because I had forgotten to telephone, ..... 5. The train had already left. 6. They had cancelled our flight.

1. Quando avevo finito, .... 2. Erano già arrivati/e. 3. I miei genitori avevano comprato una casa vicino a Napoli 4. Perché mi ero dimenticato/a di telefonare, .. 5. Il treno era già partito. 6. Avevano annullato il nostro volo.

Return to Grammar Index Page.

IL GERUNDIO
This is equivalent to the English present participle — i.e. the part of the verb ending in -ing, like
thinking, running, talking, going etc. The table below will show you how the gerundio is made from the present infinitive: infinitive parlare vedere dormire meaning to speak to see to sleep gerundio parlando vedendo dormendo meaning speaking seeing sleeping

N.B. The gerundio is invariable; it does not behave like an adjective. For example: 1. Sandra fell while skiing = Sandra è caduta sciando 2. Seeing him, the others went away = Vedendolo, gli altri sono andati via. Notice in the last example in Italian the gerundio “vedendolo”. The “lo” is the pronoun 'him' and it illustrates a rule with the gerundio, that pronouns are attached to the end of it to make one word, they are not put in front of it as happens with the ordinary tenses of the verb. STRUCTURE: This part of the verb creates a present and past continuous tense when the verb “stare” is used as the auxiliary. For example: 1. 2. 3. 4. I am thinking = sto pensando. She is crying = sta piangendo. They were waiting = stavano aspettando. We were watching TV = stavamo guardando la TV.

Exercise 1. Translate these sentences into English: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Cosa stai facendo? Sto leggendo il giornale. Stanno preparando l'insalata. Stavo ascoltando la radio quando il telefono ha squillato. I ragazzi stavano vestendosi.

To check your answers click here. Exercise 2. Translate these sentences into Italian: 1. I am writing a letter. 2. She is waiting for a phone call.

3. I was watching a football match. 4. He was doing something. 5. The girls were sleeping. To check your answers click here.

Answer:- Here are the answers to the two exercises on the gerundio. Exercise 1. Translate these sentences into English: 1. 2. 3. 4. Cosa stai facendo? = What are you doing? Sto legendo il giornale. = I am reading the newspaper. Stanno preparando l'insalata. = They are preparing the salad. Stavo ascoltando la radio quando il telefono ha squillato. = I was listening to the radio when the telephone rang. 5. I ragazzi stavano vestendosi.= the boys were gettin dressed.

Exercise 2. Translate these sentences into Italian: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. I am writing a letter. = Sto scrivendo una lettera. She is waiting for a phone call. = Sta aspettando una telefonata. I was watching a football match. = Stavo guardando una partita di calcio. He was doing something. = Stava facendo qualcosa. The girls were sleeping. = Le ragazze stavano dormendo.

REFLEXIVE PRONOUNS and REFLEXIVE VERBS and how to use them: mi ti si Rules: 1. Like all pronouns, the reflexive pronouns stand before the verb or the auxiliary verb in compound tenses. e.g.: Mio fratello si chiama Giancarlo = My brother is called Giancarlo. L'uomo si è ucciso = the man killed himself. 2. Reflexive verbs use essere as the auxiliary verb as in the last example above. e.g.: I bambini si erano vestiti = The children had got dressed A che ora ti alzerai, Luisa? = What time will you be getting up, Luisa? 3. Reflexive pronouns are added to the end of the infinitive, gerundio and imperative to form one word. e.g.: Ero così stanco che non ho potuto alzarmi = I was so tired that I couldn't get up. Maria è in bagno,e sta lavandosi i capelli = Maria is in the bathroom, she's washing her hair. English has very few real reflexive verbs, like to enjoy oneself, to hurt oneself, to kill oneself, but they are very common in Italian, often where English uses another verbal phrase. It is useful to know the commonest reflexive verbs; here are a few to learn as items of vocabulary, along with their meaning. svegliarsi to wake up alzarsi to get up lavarsi to get washed vestirsi to get dressed spogliarsi to get undressed pettinarsi to comb one's hair truccarsi to put on makeup lamentarsi to complain divertirsi to enjoy oneself fermarsi to stop sedersi to sit muoversi to move annoiarsi to get bored arrabbiarsi to get angry avvicinarsi to approach sbagliarsi to make a mistake preoccuparsito be worried accorgersi to be aware of; realise myself yourself himself/herself ci vi si ourselves yourselves themselves

Relfexive verbs behave like ordinary verbs except that you have to put a reflexive pronoun in front. Make sure you know what type of verb you are dealing with; e.g. divertirsi is conjugated as divertire with a reflexive pronoun in front; similarly annoiarsi is annoiare with a reflexive pronoun. If you would like to see the whole present tense of a reflexive verb look at the table below, where divertirsi (to enjoy oneself) has been laid out for you: mi diverto ti diverti si diverte ci divertiamo vi divertite si divertono

N.B. Higher candidates: make sure you know and can use the following reflexive verbs: 1. mettersi a ... = to start to ... 2. accorgersi di ... = to be aware of; to realise 3. andarsene ...= to go away; leave [= s'en aller in French] Now try some exercises to see if you have grasped the idea. Exercise 1. Translate into English. 1. Ogni mattina mia madre si alza alle sette. 2. Ieri mi sono svegliato molto presto. 3. La festa era orrenda; mi sono annoiato molto. 4. Prima di vestirti, Franco, devi lavarti la faccia. 5. Gina si era già lavata i denti. 6. Se tu prendi la macchina, papà si arrabbierà. 7. Avevo paura di sbagliarmi. 8. Luigi si annoia perché non c'è niente da fare. 9. Ci siamo divertiti alla festa. 10. Il treno, avvicinandosi alla stazione, si è fermato all'improvviso. To check your answers click here. Exercise 2. Complete the following passage by transforming the infinitive verbs into the correct form of the present tense. Signor Tommasini is describing his daily routine before he leaves home in the morning. Di solito la mattina [svegliarsi] alle sette. [alzarsi] poco dopo e [farsi] la doccia. Poi [radersi] e [spruzzarsi] con il dopobarba. Infine [vestirsi] e vado in cucina dove [prepararsi] un cappuccino. Dopo la colazione [lavarsi] i denti, [guardarsi] allo specchio, [mettersi] la giacca ed esco di casa. To check your answers click here. Exercise 3. Try to describe your daily routine; translate the following sentences, then modify them to suit your own situation.

1. I wake up at 7.30.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

I get up a little later. I get dressed in a hurry. I make myself breakfast. Then I brush my teeth. I look at myself in the mirror and comb my hair. Before leaving the house, I put on a coat.

To check your answers click here. Exercise 4. Re-write exercise 3 in the perfect tense. 1. I woke up at 7.30. 2. I got up a little later. etc. To check your answers click here.

Exercise 1. Translate into English. 1. Ogni mattina mia madre si alza alle sette. = Every morning my mother gets up at seven o'clock. 2. Ieri mi sono svegliato molto presto. = Yesterday I woke up very early. 3. La festa era orrenda; mi sono annoiato molto. = The party was terrible; I was very bored. 4. Prima di vestirti, Franco, devi lavarti la faccia. = Before getting dressed, Franco, you have to wash your face. 5. Gina si era già lavata i denti.= Gina had already brushed her teeth. 6. Se tu prendi la macchina, papà si arrabbierà. = If you take the car, dad will get angry. 7. Avevo paura di sbagliarmi.= I was afraid of making a mistake. 8. Luigi si annoia perché non c'è niente da fare.= Luigi is bored because there is nothing to do. 9. Ci siamo divertiti alla festa.= We enjoyed ourselves at the party. 10. Il treno, avvicinandosi alla stazione, si è fermato all'improvviso. The train, approaching the station, suddenly stopped. Return to the Reflexives Page. Return to the Pronouns Page. Exercise 2. Complete the following passage by transforming the infinitive verbs into the correct form of the present tense. Signor Tommasini is describing his daily routine before he leaves home in the morning. Di solito la mattina mi sveglio alle sette. Mi alzo poco dopo e mi faccio la doccia. Poi mi rado e mi spruzzo con il dopobarba. Infine mi vesto e vado in cucina dove mi preparo un cappuccino. Dopo la colazione mi lavo i denti, mi guardo allo specchio, mi metto la giacca ed esco di casa. Meaning: In the morning I usually wake up at seven o'clock. I get up a little later and have a shower. Then I get shaved and splash myself with aftershave. Lastly I get dressed and go into the kitchen where I prepare a cappuccino for myself. After breakfast I brush my teeth, look at myself in the mirror, put on my jacket and leave the house. Return to the Reflexives Page. Return to the Pronouns Page. Exercise 3. Try to describe your daily routine; translate the following sentences, then modify them to suit your own situation. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. I wake up at 7.30. = Mi sveglio alle sette e mezza. I get up a little later. = Mi alzo poco dopo. I get dressed in a hurry. = Mi vesto in fretta. I prepare myself breakfast. = Mi preparo la colazione. Then I brush my teeth. = Poi mi lavo i denti. I look at myself in the mirror and comb my hair.= Mi guardo allo specchio e mi pettino.

7. Before leaving the house, I put on a coat. = Prima di uscire di casa, [or prima di lasciare la casa], mi metto il cappotto. Return to the Reflexives Page. Return to the Pronouns Page. Exercise 4. You will see that the past participles are given in the masculine with an alternative feminine, e.g. alzato/a. If you are a girl you choose the feminine, so to say I got up you say mi sono alzata. A boy would say mi sono alzato. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Mi sono svegliato/a alle sette e mezzo. Mi sono alzato/a poco dopo. Mi sono vestito/a in fretta. Mi sono preparato/a la colazione. Poi mi sono lavato/a i denti. Mi sono guardato/a allo specchio e mi sono pettinato/a. Prima di uscire di casa, mi sono messo/a il cappotto.

Return to the Reflexives Page. Return to the Pronouns Page.

The Modal Verbs
There are three verbs called “modal verbs” which you will meet very frequently; learn them thoroughly because they have very basic meanings and you will want to use them in speaking and writing. They are the verbs:
• • •

potere = to be able; can dovere = to have to ; must volere = to want

These verbs are followed by an infinitive verb without any linking preposition. We'll look at the verbs individually 1. potere = to be able; can. Here is the scheme of its tenses; the present tense is irregular and is written out in full; you should be able to complete the other tenses if you are given the First Person. The present subjunctive is also irregular: present future conditional past cond. imperfect perfect pluperfect pres.subj. impf. subj. avrei avevo posso potrò potrei potevo ho potuto io possa io potessi potuto potuto puoi tu possa tu poteesi lui/lei può potesse possa possiamo possiamo potessimo potete possiate poteste possono possano potessero Exercise 1. Translate into English. — These sentences require a knowledge of all the tenses, and the subjunctive. 1. Non posso fare ciò che mi chiedi. 2. Non ho potuto finire l'esercizio. 3. Alla fine degli esami, Marco potrà rilassarsi. 4. Forse qualcuno più giovane potrebbe aiutare. 5. Quando era studente, poteva uscire a divertirsi tutte le sere. 6. Se mi telefoni domani, è possibile che ti possa dare un risposta. 7. Potrei usare questa macchina, ma preferirei un'altra. 8. Se Maria avesse potuto scegliere, avrebbe fatto una carriera diversa. 9. Avrei potuto andare alla festa, ma ho deciso di stare a casa. 10. Sì, Marco avrebbe potuto accompagnarci, ma vuole andare da solo. To check your answers, click here. The conditional mood of this verb translates the English "could" when you mean something like "I could go, but I don't want to."

The past conditional translates the English "could have" , e.g. "I could have gone, but I didn't want to." Use this information to help you translate the following sentences into Italian. Exercise 2. Translate into Italian: 1. He can speak Italian very well. 2. I have never been able to understand French. 3. During the holidays I shall be able to sleep all day. 4. When they were children, they were able to understand English. 5. I can't eat much. 6. I used to be able to play the piano years ago. 7. Adriana could come with us but she prefers to go out with her boyfried. 8. I could have danced all night. 9. We could have taken a taxi. 10. If I could have gone, I would have enjoyed myself. To check your answers, click here. Return to the Grammar Index Page

2. dovere = to be have to; must; ought to. Here is the scheme of its tenses; the present tense is irregular and is written out in full; you should be able to complete the other tenses if you are given the First Person. The present subjunctive is also irregular: present future conditional past cond. imperfect perfect pluperfect pres.subj. avrei avevo devo dovrò dovrei dovevo ho dovuto io debba dovuto dovuto devi tu debba lui/lei deve debba dobbiamo dobbiamo dovete dobbiate devono debbano impf. subj. io dovessi tu dovessi dovesse dovessimo doveste dovessero

N.B. The conditional of this verb translates the English "ought" or "should"; the past conditional translates the English "ought to have ..." or "should have" Exercise 3. Translate into English. — These sentences require a knowledge of all the tenses, and the subjunctive. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Devo partire subito, ho fretta. Purtroppo dovrete fare l'esercizio di nuovo. Quando ero piccolo, dovevo imparare a suonare il violino. Daniela non è venuta; ha dovuto andare all'ospedale. Dobbiamo comprare i biglietti prima di salire in autobus. L'insegnante dice che Franco dovrebbe passare gli esami facilmente.

7. L'insegnante dice che Franco avrebbe dovuto passare gli esami facilmente. 8. I tuoi genitori avrebbero dovuto educarti meglio. 9. E' probabile che tu debba rifare l'esame. 10. Se io avessi dovuto prendere soldi in prestito, non avrei potuto andare all'università. To check your answers, click here. Exercise 4. Translate into Italian.— These sentences get progressively more difficult. 1. I must finish this work. 2. I shall have to listen more attentively. 3. Unfortunately Maria's sister has had to cancel her holiday. 4. In primary school we used to have to wear short trousers. 5. I often had to stay at home because I didn't have any money. 6. It ought to be quite easy. 7. The doctor says that I should try to relax. 8. The students should have finished the course by now. 9. It is possible that Angela must pay the fine, if she can't find the ticket. 10. If my father had had to emigrate, he would have gone to America. To check your answers, click here. Return to the Grammar Index Page

3. volere = to want. Here is the scheme of its tenses; the present tense is irregular and is written out in full; you should be able to complete the other tenses if you are given the First Person. The present subjunctive is also irregular: present future conditional past cond. imperfect perfect pluperfect pres.subj. impf. subj. avrei avevo voglio vorrò vorrei volevo ho voluto io voglia io volessi voluto voluto vuoi tu voglia tu volessi lui/lei vuole volesse voglia vogliamo vogliamo volessimo volete vogliate voleste vogliono vogliano volessero Exercise 5. Translate into English. — These sentences require a knowledge of all the tenses, and the subjunctive. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Gina non vuole accompagnarci. Quando ero piccolo,volevo avere un bicicletta. So che non hai fame adesso, ma forse vorrai qualcosa più tardi. Vorrei chiederti qualcosa. Noi tutti vorremmo più soldi e più tempo libero. Cosa vorresti vedere a Pisa? Avrei voluto comprarti qualcosa, ma non avevo i soldi.

8. Forse il tuo amico vorrebbe che tu lo invitasse alla festa. 9. Era possibile che i tuoi amici volessero andarci senza di te. 10. Se io avessi voluto imparare la grammatica, ne avrei comprato un libro. Exercise 6. Translate into Italian. 1. I want to telephone him. 2. I was not wanting to disturb you. 3. When they were little, they wanted to have a pet. 4. My cousin would like to go on holiday with me. 5. I had never wanted to work in an office. 6. My mother would have liked a bigger house. 7. My parents don't want me to go on holiday with my friends. 8. Our teacher would like us to finish this for tomorrow. 9. It seemed that Carla wanted a more interesting job. 10. If I had wanted to study medicine, the course would have lasted six years. To check your answers, click here. Return to the Grammar Index Page

Modal Verbs
Here are the answers to the exercises on modal verbs. Exercise 1. 1. Non posso fare ciò che mi chiedi. I can't do what you are asking me. 2. Non ho potuto finire l'esercizio. I was not able to finish the exercise.; I have not been able to finish the exercise; I couldn't finish the exercise. 3. Alla fine degli esami, Marco potrà rilassarsi. At the end of the exams, Marco will be able to relax. 4. Forse qualcuno più giovane potrebbe aiutare. Maybe someone younger could help. 5. Quando era studente, poteva uscire a divertirsi tutte le sere. When I was a student, I was able to go out every night. 6. Se mi telefoni domani, è possibile che ti possa dare una risposta. If you phone me tomorrow, I could possibly give you an answer. 7. Potrei usare questa macchina, ma preferirei un'altra. I could use this car, but I would prefer another. 8. Se Maria avesse potuto scegliere, avrebbe fatto una carriera diversa. If Maria had been able to choose, she would followed a different career. 9. Avrei potuto andare alla festa, ma ho deciso di stare a casa. I could have gone to the party, but I decided to stay at home. 10. Sì, Marco avrebbe potuto accompagnarci, ma vuole andare da solo Yes, Marco could have accompanied us, but he wants to go on his own. Return to the Modal Verb Page. Exercise 2. Translate into Italian: 1. He can speak Italian very well. Può parlare italiano molto bene. 2. I have never been able to understand French Non ho mai potuto capire il francese. 3. During the holidays I shall be able to sleep all day. Durante le vancanze potrò dormire tutto il giorno. 4. When they were children, they were able to understand English. Quando erano bambini, potevano capire l'inglese. 5. I can't eat much. Non posso mangiare molto. 6. I used to be able to play the piano years ago. Potevo suonare il pianoforte anni fa. 7. Adriana could come with us but she prefers to go out with her boyfried. Adriana potrebbe venire con noi, ma preferisce uscire con il suo amico. 8. I could have danced all night. Avrei potuto ballare tutta la notte. 9. We could have taken a taxi. Avremmo potuto prendere un taxi.

10. If I could have gone, I would have enjoyed myself. Se io avessi potuto andare, mi sarei divertito/a. Return to the Modal Verb Page. Exercise 3. Translate into English. — These sentences require a knowledge of all the tenses, and the subjunctive. 1. Devo partire subito, ho fretta. I must leave right away; I'm in a hurry 2. Purtroppo dovrete fare l'esercizio di nuovo. Unfortunately you will have to do the exam again. 3. Quando ero piccolo, dovevo imparare a suonare il violino. When I was little, I had to learn to play the violin. 4. Daniela non è venuta; ha dovuto andare all'ospedale. Daniela didn't come; she had to go to the hospital. 5. Dobbiamo comprare i biglietti prima di salire in autobus. We have to buy the tickets before getting on to the bus. 6. L'insegnante dice che Franco dovrebbe passare gli esami facilmente. The teacher says that Franco should pass the exam easily. 7. L'insegnante dice che Franco avrebbe dovuto passare gli esami facilmente. The teacher said that Franco should have passed the exam quite easily. 8. I tuoi genitori avrebbero dovuto educarti meglio. You parents should have brought you up better. 9. E' probabile che tu debba rifare l'esame. It's likely that you'll have to resit the exam. 10. Se io avessi dovuto prendere soldi in prestito, non avrei potuto andare all'università. If I had had to borrow money, I would not have been able to go to university. Return to the Modal Verb Page. Exercise 4. Translate into Italian.— These sentences get progressively more difficult. 1. I must finish this work. Devo finire questo lavoro. 2. I shall have to listen more attentively. Dovrò ascoltare più attentamente 3. Unfortunately Maria's sister has had to cancel her holiday. Purtroppo la sorella di Maria ha dovuto cancellare la sua vacanza. 4. In primary school we used to have to wear short trousers. Nella scuola elementare dovevamo portare pantaloni corti. 5. I often had to stay at home because I didn't have any money. Spesso dovevo stare a casa perché non avevo soldi. 6. It ought to be quite easy. Dovrebbe essere abbastanza facile 7. The doctor says that I should try to relax. Il medico dice che dovrei tentare di rilassarmi. 8. The students should have finished the course by now. Ormai gli studenti avrebbero dovuto finire il corso 9. It is possible that Angela must pay the fine, if she doesn't find the ticket. E' possibile che Angela debba pagare la multa, se non trova il biglietto.

10. If my father had had to emigrate, he would have gone to America. Se mio padre avesse dovuto emigrare, sarebbe andato in America. Return to the Modal Verb Page. Exercise 5. Translate into English. — These sentences require a knowledge of all the tenses, and the subjunctive. 1. Gina non vuole accompagnarci. Gina doesn't want to go with us. 2. Quando ero piccolo,volevo avere un bicicletta When I was a little boy, I wanted to have a bicycle.. 3. So che non hai fame adesso, ma forse vorrai qualcosa più tardi. I know that you are not hungry now,but maybe you will want something later. 4. Vorrei chiederti qualcosa. I would like to ask you something. 5. Noi tutti vorremmo più soldi e più tempo libero. We would all like more money and more free time. 6. Cosa vorresti vedere a Pisa? what would you like to see in Pisa? 7. Avrei voluto comprarti qualcosa, ma non avevo i soldi. I would have likes to buy you something, but I didn't have the money. 8. Forse il tuo amico vorrebbe che tu lo invitasse alla festa. Perhaps your friend would like you to invite him to the party. 9. Era possibile che i tuoi amici volessero andarci senza di te. It was possible that your friends wanted to go there without you. 10. Se io avessi voluto imparare la grammatica, ne avrei comprato un libro. If I had wanted to learn grammar, I would have bought a book about it. Exercise 6. Translate into Italian. 1. I want to telephone him. Voglio telefonargli. 2. I was not wanting to disturb you. Non volevo disturbarti. 3. When they were little, they wanted to have a pet. Quano erano piccoli, volevano avere un animale domestico. 4. My cousin would like to go on holiday with me. Mio cugino vorrebbe andare in vacanza con noi. 5. I had never wanted to work in an office. Non avevo mai voluto lavorare in un ufficcio. 6. My mother would have liked a bigger house. Mia madre avrebbe voluto una casa più grande. 7. My parents don't want me to go on holiday with my friends. I miei genitori non vogliono che io vada in vacanza con i miei amici. 8. Our teacher would like us to finish this for tomorrow. Il nostro professore vorebbe che finissimo questo per domani. 9. It seemed that Carla wanted a more interesting job. Sembrava che Carla volesse un lavoro più interessante. 10. If I had wanted to study medicine, the course would have lasted six years. Se io avessi voluto studiare la medicina, il corso avrebbe durato sei anni.

THE IMPERATIVE MOOD This is the form of the verb which is used to give orders, commands or requests.
For example: 1. Listen carefully = Ascolta attentamente. 2. Take notes in Italian. = Prendete appunti in italiano. 3. Let's go! = Andiamo! Here is how the imperative is formed: parlare sing. plur. parla parlate ripetere ripeti ripetete aprire apri aprite finire finisci finite

These forms are the most frequently used. However, to express a command or request in more polite or formal language, use the following forms: parlare sing. plur. parli parlino ripetere ripeta ripetano aprire apra aprano finire finisca finiscano

This is why there are apparently two ways of saying "Excuse me". The explanation is: Use scusa if you addressing someone informally. Use scusi if you are being formal or polite. There is also a form of the imperative equivalent to the English structure "Let's finish early" "Let's go to lunch". The equivalent in Italian is: Let's finish early = Finiamo presto. Let's go to lunch = Andiamo a pranzare. You'll see that this form of the imperative is the same as the ordinary present tense. A few verbs have an irregular formation: andare dare fare stare dire sing. plur. va' da' fa' sta' di' dite andate date fate state

Very often general commands are expressed by the infinitive, e.g.:

1. Tirare = Pull 2. Spingere = Push Remember that pronouns get attached to the end of the imperative to form one word, e.g. 1. Ripetilo, per favore. = Repeat it, please. 2. Leggimelo = Read me it. With imperatives of only one syllable, like da', fa', sta', di', the first consonant of the pronoun is doubled (but not with "gli"), e.g. 1. 2. 3. 4. Dimmi! = Tell me! Stacci = Stay there Dammelo! = Give me it! Diglielo = Tell it to him!

However, with the formal imperative, pronouns go in front of it, e.g.: 1. Mi dica! = Tell me. 2. S'accomodi! = Have a seat.

NEGATIVE COMMANDS: "DON'T EAT IN THE CORRIDORS" "NO SMOKING" Negative commands are usually expressed in Italian with non followed by the infinitive verb.For example: 1. Don't eat in the corridors! = Non mangiare nei corridoi! 2. No smoking! = Non fumare! 3. Don't throw things out of the window = Non gettare oggetti dalla finestra. However, if you want to direct a negative commands to more than one person, use the normal imperative preceded by non, e.g.: 1. Don't run, boys! = Non correte, ragazzi! 2. Don't eat too much, gentelmen! = Non mangiate troppo, signori! Finally, if you want the negative command using the more formal imperative, simply put non in front of it, e.g.: 1. Don't drink it! = Non lo beva! 2. Don't give it to him! = Non glielo dia! N.B. In the writing you will do at Standard Grade and Higher, you will probably never use this mood of the verb, but you will certainly meet it when you are reading Italian, so learn it!

THE PASSIVE VOICE OF THE VERB
Verbs can be active or passive voice. This means that when the subject of the verb performs the action of the verb, we say that the verb is in the active voice. A verb is in the passive voice if the subject has the action of the verb done to it, e.g.: Active Voice = Calvino is writing a book = Calvino scrive un libro. Passive Voice = The book is written by Calvino = Il libro è scritto da Calvino The passive is formed by using the appropriate tense of essere and the past participle of the verb, e.g.: 1. Lots of book have been written on this theme, = Molti libri sono stati scritti su questo tema 2. This film is being produced by Visconti. = Questo film è prodotto da Visconti. Note the following points about the passive: 1. The passive voice always requires at least two words, sometimes three. 2. The past participle always agrees with the grammatical subject of the sentence. 3. Any tense can have a passive voice, e.g.: present: molte informazioni sono date dal professore a lot of information is given by the teacher future: molte informazioni saranno date dal professore. a lot of information will be given by the teacher imperfect: molte informazioni erano date dal professore. a lot of information was given by the teacher perfect: molte informazioni sono state date dal professore. a lot of information has been given by the teacher. pluperfect: molte informazioni erano state date dal professore. a lot of information had been given by the teacher. conditional: molte informazioni sarebbero date dal professore. a lot of information would be given by the teacher. past conditional: molte informazioni sabbero state date dal professore. a lot of information would have been given by the teacher.

N.B. The verb venire can be used instead of essere in the present, future, imperfect and conditional, e.g.: Poche macchine veranno vendute l'anno prossimo. = Few cars will be sold next year.

Although the passive voice is available as outlined above, a very neat way to create it is by using the pronoun si with the third person of the active voice of the verb. This construction is called si passivante. This is how to use it: 1. Si danno troppi soldi al sud. = Too much money is given to the South. 2. Non si mangia carne ogni giorno. = Meat is not eaten every day. You will often see this construction in newspaper advertisements or selling or renting articles. Then the si is attached to the verb, e.g.: 1. Vendesi bicicletta. = Bicycle for sale. 2. Affittasi piccolo appartamento. = Small appartment for rent. Students usually find the passive is awkward to form correctly in Italian; the best solution is to use the si passivante contruction, but if that is not possible, try to turn the sentence around and write it in the active voice, e.g. instead of trying to write "the tickets had already been posted by my parents" turn it into "my parents had already posted the tickets

IMPERSONAL VERBS These verbs only exist in the third person; there are three groups: 1. Verbs referring to the weather:
1. 2. 3. 4. piove = it is raining nevica = it is snowing fa freddo = it is cold fa caldo = it is warm

2. Impersonal expressions like “it is easy to ...”, “ it is likely that ...”, e.g.
1. 2. 3. 4. è facile (+ infinitive) = it's easy to ... è difficile (+ infinitive) = it's difficult to ... è probabile che (+ subjunctive) = it's probable that ... è necessario che (+ subjunctive) = it's necessary that ....

3. Certain verbs expressing need, necessity etc. e.g.
bisogna occorre pare sembra succede accade importa basta it's necessary it's necessary it seems it seems it happens it happens it's important; it matters it is enough

However, the impersonal construction is very common in Italian when you want to show that the action of a verb is perfomed by a subject which is indefinite or by people in general.
The construction uses si + 3rd person of the verb. The construction is called si impersonale. It is used where in English we would say “You go to school, you come home, you go to bed, you get up, you go to school.” or “one reads about it all the time.” The examples below should make it clear: 1. Si lavora per guadagnare soldi. People work to earn money. 2. Non si può pagare con una carta di credito. You can't pay by credit card. 3. Come si dice awkward in italian? How do you say awkward in Italian. 4. Non si paga molto in alberghi di quella categoria. You don't pay much in hotels of that class.

5. Si scelgono diversi corsi. People choose different courses. (Different courses are chosen) Look at the last example carefully. The verb is plural because the noun following it is plural. This usage is the same as the si passivante construction.

THE SUBJUNCTIVE MOOD — IL MODO CONGIUNTIVO
All the tenses of the verb which are listed under the verbs on the Grammar Index Page, apart from the conditional tenses, are in a mood called the INDICATIVE. This is the form of the verb which is used for making statements of fact. Now meet the subjunctive: This is a mood of the verb which no longer exists in English, except in one structure with the verb "to be", so English speakers usually find it difficult to grasp the subjunctive. Many other languages still have there subjunctive mood but it has vanished from English. It is a form of the verb which is used in Italian quite commonly in certain situations. The subjunctive mood is available in only four tenses: present, imperfect, perfect and pluperfect. Firstly you have to get to know what the subjunctive looks like; here are some verbs to illustrate how the present and imperfect are formed: PRESENT TENSE parlare parli parli parli parliamo parliate parlino vedere veda veda veda vediamo vediate vedano dormire dorma dorma dorma dormiamo dormiate dormano capire capisca capisca capisca capiamo capiate capiscano IMPERFECT TENSE parlare parlassi parlassi parlasse parlassimo parlaste parlassero vedere vedessi vedessi vedesse vedessimo vedeste vedessero capire capissi capissi capisse capissimo capiste capissero

N.B. You will see that in the present tense, the first three persons of the verb are identical and this is one occasion when you will probably have to use the personal pronouns in order to avoid confusion. Similarly, in the imperfect tense, you cannot distinguish the first and second persons without using pronouns.

You know that in the present tense there are two types of verb in the Third Conjugation (those whose infinitive ends in -ire). If you are not sure of this, go back and look again at how you form the present tense by clicking here. Both these types of verb form there imperfect in the same way. Here are the subjunctives of essere and avere. You need these as verbs in their own right but they are also the auxiliary verbs which make the perfect and pluperfect subjunctives for all the other verbs in the language. PRESENT TENSE IMPERFECT TENSE essere sia sia sia siamo siate siano avere abbia abbia abbia abbiamo abbiate abbiano essere fossi fossi fosse fossimo foste fossero avere avessi avessi avesse avessimo aveste avessero

Again you need to use pronouns to distinguish the persons of the verb which are identical. The tables above show you how to make the subjunctive, now you need to learn when and when not to use it. I have divided the rest of this page into eight sections to illustrate the uses of the subjunctive. In Higher Grade Writing, I would expect you to be able to use a few clauses and structures which require the subjunctive. SECTION 1: Use it : after impersonal verbs and expressions like: bisogna che ... it is necessary that .... occorre che ... it is necessary that .... sembra che ... it seems that ... pare che ... it seems that ... è facile/difficile che ... it is easy/difficult

è possibile/impossibile che it is possible/impossible ... that è probabile/improbabile che ... è meglio che ... è peccato che ... è bene che ... è importante che ... it is probable/improbable that it is better that ... it is a pity that ... it is good that ... it is important that

But DON'T USE IT when you use an infinitive, e.g.: 1. It is difficult to understand all this = E' difficile capire tutto questo. 2. You need to book the tickets = Bisogna prenotare i biglietti.

SECTION 2: Use it : after verbs expressing hope, want, expect, prefer, fear, think, e.g. 1. 2. 3. 4. I hope that you understand all this = Spero che tu capisca tutto questo. The boss wanted us all to work hard = Il padrone voleva che lavorassimo sodo. My parents prefer me to go with them = I miei genitori preferiscono che io li accompagni. I thought Angelina was very sweet = Pensavo che Angelina fosse molto simpatica.

But DON'T USE IT when you use an infinitive, e.g.: 1. 2. 3. 4. I hope to go to university = Spero di andare all'università. I would like to study law = Vorrei studiare legge. I would prefer to continue to study Spanish = Preferirei continuare a studiare lo spagnolo. I am thinking of looking for a job = Penso di cercare un lavoro.

SECTION 3: It must be used in clauses introduced by the following conjunctions: benché although sebbene although purché provided that a condizione che ... on condition that ... nel caso che ... in case

For example: 1. We enjoyed ourselves although the weather was terrible = Ci siamo divertiti benché il tempo fosse terribile 2. I'll buy him a present for his birthday provided it doesn't cost too much = Gli comprerò un regalo per il suo compleanno purché non costi troppo 3. I'll take an umbrella in case it rains. = Porterò un ombrello nel caso che piova.

SECTION 4: USE IT to express purpose after the following conjunctions BUT only if the subjects of the main and dependent clauses are different/ affinché perché cosicché in modo che For example: 1. We hired bikes so that the children could go into the countryside. = Abbiamo noleggiato delle biciclette affinché i bambini vadano in campagna. 2. Let's wait a little for the wine to get cooler. = Aspettiamo un po' cosicche il vino sia più freddo. But DON'T USE IT if the subjects in the two clauses are the same; instead, use per + infinitive, e.g.: 1. I would like to go to university to study foreign languages. = Vorrei andare all'università per studiare lingue straniere. 2. If I had the money, I would go to Italy to improve my Italian. = Se io avessi i soldi, andrei in Italia per migliorare il mio italiano. 3. I went to the bank in order to change money. = Sono andato alla banca per cambiare soldi. in order that ...; so that ... in order that ...; so that ... in order that ...; so that ... in order that ...; so that ...

SECTION 5: USE IT after the conjunction “prima subjects of the two clauses are different, e.g.:

che”to translate “before” if the

1. I'll leave before your parents come back home. = Partirò prima che i tuoi genitori tornino a casa. 2. The house had been burning for half an hour before the firemen arrived. = La casa brucciava da una mezz'ora prima che i pompieri arrivassero. But DON'T USE IT if the subjects in the two clauses are the same; instead, use prima di + infinitive, e.g.: 1. We played cards before going to bed. = Abbiamo giocato a carte prima di andare a letto.

2. I would like to have a gap year before going to university. = Vorrei avere un anno sabatico prima di andare all'università.

SECTION 6: USE IT after the conjunction “senza the subjects of the two clauses are different, e.g.:

che”to translate “without” if

1. The boys used to smoke without their parents being aware of it. = I ragazzi fumavano senza che i loro genitori se ne accorgessero. 2. I can't do anything without my family knowing about it. = Non posso fare niente senza che la mia famiglia lo sappia. But DON'T USE IT if the subjects in the two clauses are the same; instead, use senza + infinitive, e.g.: 1. I didn't want to come back without buying some presents. = Non volevo tornare senza comprare qualche regalo. 2. Breakfast is important. It's not a good idea to leave home without having something to eat. = La colazione è importante. Non è una buona idea uscire di casa senza mangiare qualcosa.

SECTION 7: USE IT with the structure“non different, e.g.:

vedo l'ora che”to translate “I can't wait; I am looking forward to” if the subjects of the two clauses are
1. I can't wait for the holidays to arrive. = Non vedo l'ora che le vacanze arrivino. 2. I couldn't wait for the phone to ring. = Non vedevo l'ora che il telefono squillasse. But DON'T USE IT if you want an infinitive; instead, use non vedo l'ora + infinitive, e.g.: 1. I can't wait to go back to Rome. = non vedo l'ora di tornare a Roma. 2. My partner was looking forward to visiting Scotland. = La mia corrispondente non vedeva l'ora di visitare la Scozia.

SECTION 8: Commonest mistakes when using the subjunctive. These are: 1. Using the subjunctive when you don't need it. Look at the sections above and note when it is not required; it is usually only needed after certain conjunctions when the subjects in the two clauses are different. 2. Using the wrong tense. There are only four tenses which have a subjunctive: present, imperfect, perfect, pluperfect.

Rule: If the verb in the main clause is present, future, or imperative, use the present or perfect subjunctive. If the verb in the main clause is past, or conditional, use the imperfect or pluperfect subjunctive. Exercise 1: Here is a short passage in English; after it you will find that most of it has been translated but you have to change the verbs given from the infinitive into the correct tense of the subjunctive. In the passage someone is telling of their dreams and wishes when he was younger and this is a situation where the subjunctive is needed. When I was a little boy, I always wished that my father was rich. I wanted my family to live in a big house. I hoped that my father would buy us a car, and that we would spend our holidays abroad. I wanted us to live in a big town because I always thought that our town was boring and I would have liked us to have been able to go to concerts and the theatre etc. To check your answer click here. Exercise 2: Translate these sentences into Italian: 1. I used to think that life in America was exciting. 2. I doubt that Anna is happy. 3. I suppose that teachers in Italy don't earn much. 4. My mother hoped that we were spending our holiday quietly. 5. I always imagined that the beaches were crowded in summer. 6. Our grandmother always wished that we had gone to university. 7. It is possible that someone has found the wallet. 8. It was necessary for the children to get dressed in a hurry. 9. I had bought a house in the country because I thought that the air was cleaner there. 10. My parents would have liked me to stay at home. To check your answer click here. Quando ero piccolo,sempre volevo che mio padre (essere) ricco. Volevo che la mia famiglia (abitare) in una grande casa. Speravo che mio padre ci (comprare) una macchina, e che noi (passare) le nostre vacanze all'estero.Volevo che noi (abitare) in una grande città perché pensavo sempre che il nostro paese (essere) noioso e mi sarebbe piaciuto che noi (potere) andare ai concerti ed a teatro ecc.

Exercise 1.: Quando ero piccolo, volevo sempre che mio padre fosse ricco. Volevo che la mia famiglia abitasse in una grande casa. Speravo che mio padre ci comprasse una macchina, e che noi passassimo le nostre vacanze all'estero.Volevo che noi abitassimo in una grande città perché pensavo sempre che il nostro paese fosse noioso e mi sarebbe piaciuto che noi potessimo andare ai concerti ed a teatro. Return to Subjuctives Page.

Exercise 2: Translate these sentences into Italian: 1. I used to think that life in America was exciting. Pensavo che la vita in America fosse eccitante. 2. I doubt that Anna is happy. Dubito che Anna sia felice. 3. I suppose that teachers in Italy don't earn much. Suppongo che gli insegnanti in Italia non guadagnino molto. 4. My mother hoped that we were spending our holiday quietly. Mia madre sperava che noi passassimo la nostra vacanza tranquillamente. 5. I always imagined that the beaches were crowded in summer. Ho sempre immaginato che le spiaggie fossero affollate in estate. 6. Our grandmother always wished that we had gone to university. Nostra nonna voleva sempre che noi fossimo andati all'università. 7. It is possible that someone has found the wallet. E' possibile che qualcuno abbia trovato il portafoglio. 8. It was necessary for the children to get dressed in a hurry. Bisognava che i bambini si vestissero in fretta. 9. I had bought a house in the country because I thought that the air was cleaner there. Avevo comprato una casa in campagna perché pensavo che l'aria fosse più pulita lì. 10. My parents would have liked me to get married Ai miei genitori sarebbe piaciuto che io mi sposassi. Return to Subjuctives Page.

PRONOUNS — I PRONOMI This page is divided into six sections organised as follows:
1. Direct Object Pronouns 2. Indirect Object Pronouns 3. Reflexive Pronouns 4. Disjunctive Pronouns 5. The pronoun “ ne” 6. Rules for using two pronouns before the verb

Pronouns are words which take the place of nouns.
In Italian there are four types of pronouns; they sometimes have horrendous technical names but they are quite easy. They are given below with their grammatical names and a translation into English. There is also a special pronoun ne which is in a class of its own. 1 DIRECT OBJECT PRONOUNS: mi ti lo la La me you him her you (formal) ci vi li le Le us you them (masc.) them (fem.) you (formal

To see how to use them click here. Return to the Grammar Index Page

2 INDIRECT OBJECT PRONOUNS: mi ti gli le Le to/for me to/for you to/for him to/for her to you (formal) ci vi loro loro to/for us to/for you to them to them

Loro to you (formal)

To see how to use them click here. Return to the Grammar Index Page

3 REFLEXIVE PRONOUNS: mi ti si myself yourself himself/herself ci vi si ourselves yourselves themselves

To see how to use them click here. Return to the Grammar Index Page

4 DISJUNCTIVE PRONOUNS (used after prepositions) me te lui lei Lei me you him her you (formal) noi voi loro loro us you them (masc.) them (fem.)

Loro you (formal

To see how to use them, click here. Return to the Grammar Index Page

5 THE PRONOUN

ne.

This pronoun is very idiomatic. Spend a little time with it and try to master it, especially if you are doing Higher Writing. Rules:
1. It stands before the verb or before the auxiliary verb in compound tenses. 2. It is attached to the end of the infinitive, gerundio and imperative to form one word. 3. It follows the rule about using two pronouns before the verb. Check it out in the next section.

4 In compound tenses, when ne replaces the direct object, the past participle agrees with the direct object:— Quante bottiglie di vino hai comprato? — Ne ho comprate dieci. = How many bottles of wine did you buy? — I bought ten.

1. Nemeans “of it; of them”. It frequently does not need to be translated into
English: e.g.:
1. Hai molti esami? — Sì, ne ho sette. = Do you have many exams? Yes, I have seven (of them) 2. Hai fatto tutti gli esercizi? — No. Però, ne ho fatti tre. = Have you done all the exercises? No. But I've done three (of them) Although English not have an equivalent for ne in the type of sentences shown above, you must remember to use it in Italian.

2. This pronoun replaces a prepositional phrase beginning with di, and it does need to be
translated into English. For example: 1. Hai paura del cane? — No, non ne ho paura. = Are you frightened of the dog? No, I'm not frightened of it. 2. Carlo parla mai della sua infanzia? — Sì, ne parla spesso. = Does Carlo ever talk about his childhood? Yes, he often talks about it. You could find that you need to use this pronoun if you are dealing with one of the common verbs or expressions which are followed by di. Here are the commonest; try to learn them: avere bisogno di avere paura di avere voglia di sapere di accorgersi di rendersi conto di ricordarsi di dimenticarsi di For example: 1. Ti sei accorto di quanto costava la macchina? — Sì, me ne sono accorto. = Did you notice how much the car cost? — Yes, I noticed (it). 2. Ti ricordi della scuola materna? — No, non me ne ricordo niente. = Do you remember your nursery school? — No, I don't remember anything about it. to need to be afraid of to want to know of to notice; realise to notice; realise to remember to forget

3. Cosa sai di Sardegna? — Non ne so molto. = What do you know about Sardinia? — I don't know much about it.

3. This pronoun also replaces expressions consisting of da + place. For example:
1. Ha aperto la borsetta e ne ha preso una fotografia. = She opened her handbag and took a photograph out of it. 2. A che ora tuo marito è uscito dall'ufficio? — Ne è uscito alle sette e mezzo. = What time did your husband leave the office? He left it at 7.30.

4. This pronoun also has some idiomatic usages which have no equivalent in English. The only
one which you should be familiar with is with the reflexive form of the verb andare. This produces the verb andarsene which means “to leave; go away”. Although there is no equivalent in English, in French you may have met the verb s'en aller . Here is the verb in its present and perfect tenses. This verb cannot take a direct object. present tense me ne vado te ne vai se ne va I am leaving you .... he/she/it .... passato prossimo me ne sono I left/ have left andato/a te ne sei andato/a you .... se n'è andato/a he/she/it .... ce ne siamo we .... andati/e ve ne siete andati/e you .... se ne sono andati/e they ....

ce ne andiamo we .... ve ne andate you .... se ne vanno they ....

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6 RULES ABOUT USING TWO PRONOUNS. Look at these sentences: 1. I bought her a present but forgot to give her it. 2. We sent for their autographs and they said they would give us them. There are two pronouns highlighted in each one. English speakers often have problems translating this kind of sentence into Italian because they are not quite sure what pronouns to use. the sentences actually mean: 1. I bought a present for her, but I forgot to give it to her. 2. We sent for their autographs and they said they would sent them to us. So, in the first sentence it is a direct object pronoun and to her is an indirect object pronoun. Similarly in the second sentence, them is a direct object pronoun and to us is an indirect object pronoun.

In Italian there is a rule which governs the order in which these pronouns are used, namely: indirect object followed by direct object. This causes a slight change of spelling: pronouns which normally end in i change this letter to e. This is more complicated than it should be and perhaps the best way to grapple with it is to look at the following table where two pronouns are used.The first pronoun means "to me" , "to you" etc.; lo and la mean "it", and li and le mean "them". You'll see that the pronoun gli means "to him" or "to her" or "to them" and it combines into one word with the direct object pronouns lo, la, li, le. Indirect Object prons. lo (him/it) me lo te lo glielo glielo ce lo ve lo glielo Direct Object Pronouns la (her/it) me la te la gliela gliela ce la ve la gliela li (them) me li te li glieli glieli ce li ve li glieli le (them) me le te le gliele gliele ce le ve le gliele ne (of it/of them) me ne te ne gliene gliene ce ne ve ne gliene

mi (to me) ti (to you) gli (to him) le (to her) ci (to us) vi (to you) gli (to them)

So, look at how these English senteces translate into Italian: 1. They bought a scooter and gave me it for my birthday Hanno comprato un motorino e me l'hanno regalato per il mio compleanno. 2. She doesn't have your telephone number; I'll send her it with my letter. Non ha il tuo numero telefonico; glielo mando con la mia lettera. 3. They already have the results; when will they give us them? Hanno già i risultati; quando ce li daranno? 4. He has a new car; he was showing her it. Ha una nuova macchina; gliela mostrava. As with single pronouns, both of these pronouns get attached to the end of the infinitive, gerundio, or imperative, so the last sentence could also be : Ha una nuova macchina; stava mostrandogliela. When added to an infinitive or imperative, pairs of pronouns can make the verb look very strange, e.g. Ti ho comprato qualcosa; quando posso dartela? = I bought something for you; when can I give you it? Mi hanno chiesto di spiegarglielo = They asked me to explain it to them. Quelle sigarette sono le mie; dammele subito. Those cigarettes are mine; give me them immediately. The same rules apply to reflexive pronouns used with direct object pronoun,e.g. Reflexive pronouns. Direct Object Pronouns

mi (myself) ti (yourself) si (himself/herself) ci (ourselves) vi (yourselves) si (themselves)

lo la (her/it) (him/it) me lo me la te lo te la se lo ce lo ve lo se lo se la ce la ve la se la

li (them) me li te li se li ce li ve li se li

le (them) me le te le se le ce le ve le se le

ne (of it/of them) me ne te ne se ne ce ne ve ne se ne

Here are the Indirect Object pronouns: You'll see that they are the same as the Direct Object Pronouns except for the pronouns in the Third Person (i.e. to him; to her; to them). mi ti gli le Le to/for me to/for you to/for him to/for her to you (formal) ci vi loro loro to/for us to/for you to them to them

Loro to you (formal)

N.B. Very frequently, in modern Italian, gli is used instead of loro. Rules: 1. Like all pronouns, the Indirect Object Pronouns stand before the verb, or before the auxiliary in compound tenses, but there is one exception: the pronoun loro always follows the verb. e.g.: Suo padre gli ha comprato una macchina = His father bought him a car. Il professore non le fa mai domande difficili = The teacher never asks her difficult questions. but, Chiedo loro dove sono stati = I am asking them where they have been. In the last example you could also say: Gli chiedo dove sono stati.

2. They are attached to the end of the infinitive, the gerundio, and the imperative, forming one word. e.g. Non ho voluto darle il mio numero telefonico = I didn't want to give her my telephone number. Sua madre ha cercato di scrivergli = His mother tried to write to him.

Be very sure that you understand in English the distinction between direct and indirect objects or you will never understand the difference in the Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns. Put very simply, the direct object is governed directly by the verb, e.g. Romeo loved her. The Indirect Object in an English sentence often stands where you would expect the direct object but common sense will tell you that the direct object is later in the sentence, e.g.: Romeo bought her a bunch of flowers. The direct object — i.e. the thing that Romeo bought is “a bunch of flowers”; Romeo didn't buy “her” as if she were a slave. So the pronoun her in the sentence actually means "for her" and is the Indirect Object. If this is unclear, get yourself a book of English grammar; I'm trying to teach you Italian! Certain verbs, which take a direct object in English, take and Indirect Object Pronoun in Italian. Learn them now! chiedere consigliare dire domandare insegnare parlare rispondere somigliare telefonare to ask to advise to say to ask to teach to speak to answer to resemble; look like to telephone.

Now try to understand how these pronouns are used: Exercise 1. Translate into English 1. Qulacuno mi ha mandato una cartolina dalla Spagna. 2. Il professore le ha spiegato il problema. 3. Gli hai detto di comprare un regalo per sua madre? 4. Voglio telefonargli. 5. Il signor Brambilla ci ha insegnato l'italiano. 6. Cosa gli dici? 7. Lucia,tuo padre vuole parlarti! 8. Non gli ho mai chiesto di aiutarmi. 9. Non oserei consigliarti. 10. Le ho regalato un paio di orecchini. To check your answers click here. Exercise 2. Translate into Italian 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. What did you say to her? Did you send him a postcard. I would like to speak to you. I shall ask him his name. I was not able to answer her.

6. She gave him a beautiful present. 7. Why did you phone them? 8. They advised us to find another hotel. 9. I wanted to tell you something 10. Someone has sent me a letter. To check your answers click here. 1.

Here are the answers to the exercises on Indirect Object Pronouns. Exercise 1. Translate into English 1. Qulacuno mi ha mandato una cartolina dalla Spagna. = Someone (has) sent me a postcard from Spain. 2. Il professore le ha spiegato il problema. = The teacher (has) explained the problem to her. 3. Gli hai detto di comprare un regalo per sua madre? =Did you tell him/them to buy a present for (his/their) mother. 4. Voglio telefonargli.= I want to phone him. 5. Il signor Brambilla ci ha insegnato l'italiano. = Mr Brambilla taught us Italian. 6. Cosa gli dici? = What are you saying to him/to them? 7. Lucia, tuo padre vuole parlarti! = Lucia, your father wants to speak to you! 8. Non gli ho mai chiesto di aiutarmi. = I (have) never asked him to help me. 9. Non oserei consigliarti. = I would not dare to advise you. 10. Le ho regalato un paio di orecchini. = I gave her a present of a pair of earrings. Return to Indirect Object Pronouns Page Exercise 2. Translate into Italian 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. What did you say to her? = Cosa/Che cosa le hai detto? Did you send him a postcard. = Gli hai mandato una cartolina? I would like to speak to you. = Vorrei parlarti./Vorrei parlarvi./Vorrei parlarLe I shall ask him his name. = Gli chiederò il suo nome. I was not able to answer her. = Non ho potuto risponderle. She gave him a beautiful present. = Gli ha datto un bel regalo. Why did you phone them? = Perché non gli hai telefonato? or Perché non hai telefonato loro. 8. They advised us to find another hotel. = Ci hanno consigliato di trovare un altro albergo. 9. I wanted to tell you something = Volevo dirti qualcosa. 10. Someone has sent me a letter. = Qualcuno mi ha mandato una lettera. Return to Indirect Object Pronouns Page Return to Pronouns Page

ADVERBS — GLI AVVERBI
ADVERBS indicate time, place, manner or quantity; unlike adjectives, they are invariable and can modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. Here are some common adverbs which you should know as items of vocabulary. Learn them: adverbs of time ieri yesterday oggi today adverbs of place qui here adverbs of quantity molto very too lì there bene well troppo (much) quite; vicino near male badly abbastanza enough lontano far away meglio better piuttosto rather daperttutto everywhere peggio worse assai quite fuori outside purtroppo unfortunately più more dentro inside davvero really anche also adverbs of manner così so

domani tomorrow sempre spesso tardi presto subito ancora fa già always often late early immediately still; again ago already

Many adverbs can be made from adjectives by adding the suffix -mente to the feminine form of the adjective as shown below: ADJECTIVE vero chiaro ovvio recente veloce true clear recent quick ADVERB veramente truly obviously quickly chiaramente clearly recentemente recently velocemente

obvious ovviamente

If the adjective ends in -le or -re and there is a vowel in front, the final -e is dropped and -mente is added, for example: ADJECTIVE facile regolare popolare easy regular ADVERB facilmente regolarmente easily regularly

probabile probable probabilmente probably popular popolarmente popularly

Comparative Adverbs

Comparative is when you want to say “more easily” or “less often”. The equivalent in Italian is to say “più facile” and “meno spesso”. Position of Adverbs:
1. Adverbs usually follow the verb they qualify: e.g. Marco va sempre in macchina = Marco always goes by car. 2. Adverbs qualifying a noun, precede it: e.g. Roma è una città molto viva = Rome is a very lively city. 3. The common adverbs ancora, anche, già, mai, più, sempre usually insert themselves between the auxiliary verb and past participle in the perfect tense: e.g. Non ho mai visitato gli Stati Uniti = I have never visited the USA. Maria è già andata via = Maria has already gone away. Return to the Grammar Index Page

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