Aug 8, I've never seen an Italian grammar so detailed! Questionable only the long introduction about the variation of pronunciation according to the parts/region of Italy. When studying Italian grammar, knowing how to conjugate verbs means the difference between saying 'I to speak' and 'I speak.' The beauty is that you can build. ITALIAN GRAMMAR. t ouchin g o f the u pp er a gainst the lower li p, the vocal cords not vibrating, and b i s the same with vibration of the vocal cords. An Italian .
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Modern Italian grammar: a practical guide/Anna Proudfoot and. Francesco Cardo . – 2nd ed. p. cm. – (Routledge modern grammars). Includes. Basic Italian: A Grammar and Workbook comprises an accessible reference grammar and related exercises in a single volume. This workbook presents What follows is an attempt to set out the rules of grammar for the structures training may feel a little insecure in their knowledge of basic Italian grammar.
Jerome] However, in titles capital letters are used for personal or geographic names, as in ordinary language: Instead of the stress falling on the usual next-to-lastsyllable, the stress falls on the third-to-last syllable, exceptin the noi and voi forms in the present tense.. All patterns shown in the examples above in present tense may be used with any other indicative tense: In this case, probably the eldest would be preferred to the least young. Modern Italian uses the following set of accented vowels: The first important meaning of this prepositon is to, as a dative case:
Avere to have uses ci to emphasize the immediacy of having something: Do you have the keys — right here, right now? Fare to make, to do adds ci and the direct object pronoun la and becomes farcela to be able to, to manage, to stand something. The conjugated verb puts ce la in front of each form: You say, for example, Ce la fai?
Can you manage? Certain Italian verbs, usually those with Latin roots, are accented differently from the norm. Instead of the stress falling on the usual next-to-lastsyllable, the stress falls on the third-to-last syllable, exceptin the noi and voi forms in the present tense.. This accento sdrucciolo matters in Italian because poetic meter depends on syllabic count, a count in part determined by which syllable of the last word in a line of poetry is stressed.
More important for your purposes, when movies are dubbed into Italian, silly characters from The Three Stooges, for example never get this accentuation right.
In order to sound Italian, you need to be aware of words that have accentuation or vocal stress patterns that differ from the norm. The noi and voi forms maintain the normal next-to-last syllable stress. Consider the stress shown in the following conjugation of abitare. The following common verbs all use the accento sdrucciolo in the present tense conjugation. Cheat Sheet. Building on Verb Conjugations in the Present Tense in Italian The verbs venire to come and dire to say, to tell conjugate irregularly in the present tense.
Can you see? Non ci sento. It takes patience. It takes us half an hour.
An example is: In Italian, though, articles need to match the noun they relate to, both by gender and by number: Furthermore, Italian language uses articles more often than English: Finally, Italian articles also have to match phonetically the word coming next, to produce a more fluent sound, and they do this by modifying their basic inflection But don't panic! Mastering these articles is a much easier task than it might seem from this description, and once you become familiar with the sound of Italian language more than with the actual rules , your ears will help you more than your memory.
So, let's become familiar with each of them, one at a time: It is used whith nouns starting with a vowel. The loss of the article's vowel is to provide a swifter sound, as the sound of two vowels would "slow down" the pronounciation: See also the bottom of the page for a further minor note. The apostrophe "binds" the article to the following letter, both in spelling no space and in pronounciation, as for the l' article above: When plural nouns are indefinite, they simply do not use an article, or they use the partitive form: Partitive will be dealt with further on, so for the time being simply disregard its use.
Summarising this apparently difficult scheme, the following table will make articles much more easy to memorize: In this case, the English equivalent does not match the Italian syntax, so an example will make this concept easy to understand: As a result, only two forms are possible: Here are a few more examples: The three ways of mastering these patterns are practice, more practice and practice again.
But these words are pretty rare, so don't worry about them now. In older times, this article used to be treated as for singular nouns starting with a vowel: But now this does not occur any longer. Italian adjectives, instead, may come either before or after the matching noun: Two further situations will make this concept more evident: He lives in a small house not far from mine It is a small house compared to the average The main concept of the first sentence is that "somebody lives nearby", not that "his house is small": In the second expression, the fact that "the house is small" is much more important for the overall sense of the sentence: Also the tone of the voice can be used to express different concepts: But don't worry: The pattern "noun - adjective" is as common as the opposite one "adjective - noun", though in certain expressions the "adjective - noun" pattern might be incorrect, or sound very strange to an Italian.
For example, when colours are used as adjectives, they always follow the noun: Anyway, it's not really important to master this concept now; simply, be aware that adjectives may either follow the noun, or may be used before it with a less emphasized meaning. When the following masculine noun starts with a vowel, instead, grande remains more oten unchanged.
The shortened form grand' with an apostrophe also exists, but only in a limited number of cases.
If you are in doubt, it is better to use grande in full: With feminine nouns, the same changes as for masculine ones may sometimes occur, but in many cases the unchanged grande is the only possible form: Plurals of both genders behave as singular forms: Before a consonant, this adjective changes in the same way as the previous one i. When the shortening occurs before a vowel, only one letter is dropped instead of two, and an apostrophe links the adjective to the noun as it happens when using articles l', dealt with in paragraph 2.
Feminine gender bella does not change: No change occurs in feminine plural: Feminine singular has no special change: Plurals never change: Summarizing these irregular adjectives for an easier memorization: Whatever form you use, remember to make a correct match between the adjective's gender and number, and those of the noun it relates to: Focus the following examples: In the second three sentences the noun is feminine, so una is shortened in un' which does require an apostrophe una notizia, but un'incredibile notizia , since for phonetic reasons una drops the last a before words starting with a vowel.
It's quite common for beginners to make an incorrect use of the apostrophe i.
So always take care in using or not using the apostrophe according on the gender of the following noun, disregarding the adjective. These patterns are not easy to master at once, so it is better to practice them throughoutly from time to time. The name of Italian ones works in the following way: The following tables show also English sounds.
When using articles, the numeral acts like a plural adjective in the "adjective-noun" pattern: And, as any other noun, also the word numero requires an article: The last three numbers, instead, have an opposite pattern: The stressed syllable is the same as for the corresponding digits. The same rules stated above for 0 to 9 are also valid for these numbers and for the following ones, as well , therefore: Names of digits slightly change, binding with the suffix.
The word cento, instead, actually means hundred Italian does not require to specify one, as in English. All rules are the same as above: Two observations: Just bind each digit to cento: For greater numbers with a cento compound, the pattern is the same: Also multiples work out in the same way: Follow these examples: The unbroken form is used in all other cases. But in written texts, books, newspapers, etc. So if you don't become familiar now with these patterns, you can still do well, although you will need to master these numbers for dates discussed in paragraph 3.
Obviously, thousand separators do not affect pronounciation: The comma instead, in Italian virgola, is used as a separator for decimals, whereas in English a dot is normally used: In this case, the word virgola is used exactly as English point, so that in the examples above the pronounciation would be: Fractions, instead, will be discussed in paragraph 3. In Italian, they have specific forms from 1 to 10, while all the following ones use one same suffix, so they are quite easy to learn.
Unlike cardinal numbers, though, ordinals behave like an adjective, therefore they can have both a masculine and a feminine gender, in both singular and plural forms all of them are regular. Also in this page English sounds are shown. Used as adjectives, they all follow the most common pattern: Note that there is an adjective derived from uno one , unico, which means only, in contrast with primo first.
This adjective is regular, although its " XXXXX secondo: YYYYY terzo: XXXXX second: YYYYY third: Just like adjectives, they can also have the plural form: The more classic way to indicate an ordinal number in Italian is to use roman numbers: When a roman number occurs in an Italian text, it should always be looked at as an ordinal number, unless it belongs to a date. If you don't feel too confident with these numbers, appendix 1 will show you how they work.
Adding a superscript vowel to roman numbers i. IIIo, Va, etc. Roman numbers are now still used to indicate volumes, chapters, monarchs, centuries, and very few more categories. However, for some of the aforesaid ones centuries, rulers the use of Western numbers would not be considered very elegant. In common speech, ordinal numbers are used according to the "adjective-noun" pattern, i. Instead, when a roman number is used, the ordinal number usually follows the noun: In these cases both forms are accepted, so also terzo volume, secondo atto, etc.
NOTE As already said, ordinals greater than 10th do not use the same suffix as the smaller ones, having simplified the inflection to In old-style Italian, instead, all ordinals used to follow the pattern decimo primo instead of undicesimo , decimo secondo instead of dodicesimo , etc.
When the object of the fraction is introduced by a definite article two thirds of the members, etc. The following samples show the use of both the simple preposition di and of its compound form; although you may disregard the latter now, simply note the difference with the first two. Compound prepositions will be dealt with in paragraph 5. Ordinal numbers always have the masculine form, also when the numbered object is feminine: So, for instance: Also una cinquina about five and una quindicina about fifteen are quite common, although they tend to be rather colloquial.
Other nouns for rough quantities are: Instead poche is already plural, therefore it has to be poche centinaia, poche migliaia both feminine. It is also possible to combine two rough quantities: Since in Italian these pronouns have two forms, one when they are used as subjects and one when they are used for any other part of the sentence as direct object, in genitive case, in dative case, etc. Neutre gender is used for objects, plants and animals except man; but this distinction does not cause any important change, because all other parts of the sentence nouns, verb inflections, adjectives, etc.
So you only need to be aware of neutre gender when using singular personal pronouns as a subject of the sentence. Before turning the page, be sure to memorize them well.
As in most western languages, also Italian verbs are indicated with their infinitive tense, called tempo infinito or simply infinito omitting the word for tense.
But in the 2nd conjugation Since some of the tenses do not exactly match English ones, their literal meaning will be stated in this page, but in further pages they will be referred to with their Italian name. This tense almost acts in opposition to imperfect tense, by which the past action has not ended by the time of the sentence further details will be discussed later on. In Italian, this same tense may also translate uncertainty, as if the action was not sure, or only had chance to be true: In the following paragraphs, all these concept will be fully discussed again.
Summarizing again these tenses in a chronological order: Nevertheless, when two irregular verbs have similar stems, they often have similar inflections too. Two auxiliary verbs are used in Italian: The same auxiliary essere is also used for passive forms.
English uses auxiliary verbs in a rather different way: Interrogative and negative sentences, instead, use the auxiliary verbs to do and to have "do you go? To become confident with the construction of Italian compound tenses you should focus well the simple pattern mentioned above and summarized by the following lines: Furthermore, essere is also used for nominal sentences, i. For instance I am old; this is plastic; they were nice; we were lazy etc.
Therefore, before discussing regular verbs, it is important for the student to become confident with the verb essere. So, when the subject of a sentence is a personal pronoun, in spoken language it is frequently omitted, while in written language it is often more correct to mention it. This page, as well as the following ones, will show personal pronouns in brackets: Without a pronoun, the sentence might look as if it had no subject, because in English it is always mentioned; but in Italian the specific inflection of the verb is enough to understand who carries out the action, i.
In the case of the present tense, only inflection sono refers to two persons, 1st singular and 3rd plural, and could be mistaken. But also in this case, there is no need to use a pronoun when the other parts of the sentence make it clear to whom sono refers: I am in bed dove sono i bambini? Focus this case: Also when the sentence expresses a contrast, personal pronouns may be used for the same reason explained above: When the latter is used, it has to match the verb by gender and number.
Plural forms will obviously be told by the same verb inflection: Imperfect tense is usually translated with English simple past, although it expresses the concept of an action carried out in the past which has not necessarily come to an end. In many cases, the English form "I used to be" could be used instead of "I was"; since Italian has no such form, you may translate imperfect tense with both English forms: In a few cases, Italian future tense might have a meaning of probability, or chance: Notice that fu does not have an accented u because there is no other way of pronouncing the word.
This tense expresses the fact that the action has ended time ago, and is no longer in progress: It is irregular, but less than essere. The reason for which h is added is that similar words without an h exist: So the consonant is merely graphic, to indicate the verb's inflections. Always remember that the imperfect tense expresses the concept of a past action which has not necessarily come to an end: Although the past perfect of the verb essere discussed in the previous paragraph has some differences, accents and many of the inflections work in the same way.
Remember that this tense expresses ceased actions, no longer active: Most verbs belonging to this conjugation are regular. Sample sentences will also use these other few regular verbs: Always remember that this tense is used when the past action expressed by the sentence is already over. But, as explained in paragraph 4. Most verbs in the latter subgroup are regular; despite this, past perfect tense is partially irregular in all cases, but this will be discussed later on.
As a help for the reader, I will spell the Italian infinitive tense with one accented vowel the vowel which carries the stress , but remember that this never happens in common spelling.
Other verbs used in sample sentences are: In order to memorize this tense more easily, concentrate on the following differences with the 1st conjugation: Therefore, no change occurs in the verb's root: The accents, instead, are the same. In this case, the normal root chied But for some verbs the change is more consistant past perfect might be a nightmare for beginners, and a real test for well-taught Italian speakers.
This is why, in common speech, many Italians too often prefer to use the present perfect tense a compound tense, discussed in a further paragraph instead of past perfect, although this choice would be considered slightly incorrect. The second important difference with the same tense of the 1st conjugation is that no inflections have an accent on the last syllable no one ends with an accented vowel. Despite the change of root, though, all inflections are regular and do not change. This is an example of how other verbs behave, according to the "simple" rule: This is the conjugation with the least umber of verbs, and most of them are regular.
Note how the inflection of all singular persons and of the 3rd plural person is longer than in other conjugations i. This causes a certain difference in pronounciation see paragraph 1. But a fewer number of verbs, as the following nine ones of the table above, have simple inflections, like the ones used for present tense of the 1st and the 2nd conjugation: In both cases, accent always falls on the penultimate syllable, except the 3rd plural person accent on the antepenultimate syllable , like in present tense of the 1st and 2nd conjugation.
Some of them add a phonetic i to the root, so to keep the consonant's "soft" sound: Without the i, they would have sounded "kwkoh" and "kwkohnoh", i. Instead, other verbs do not add the phonetic i, so the root remains graphically unchanged, but the sound of the consonant changes according to the following vowel: But almost every other verb of the 3rd conjugation whose root ends with c or g follows the first pattern i. So, try to memorize only the two aforesaid irregular patterns, and don't worry about others.
The first vowel of the inflection is i. No special phonetic change occurs with any verb. Again, the first vowel of the inflection is i. Only the 3rd singular person is slightly different, because it has an accented i instead of an accented o. Also note how the 1st singular person ends with two vowels i: The Italian language has nine basic prepositions: When they are not followed and bound to articles, as above, they are called "simple prepositions".
Each of them will be discussed individually, showing their basic use.
You don't need to memorize all their meanings now, but reading the page will let you become more familiar with these prepositions and with their use. You may also use this page as a reference, for translating exercise sentences.
Most of these prepositions will be more deeply discussed in further specific paragraphs. DI The first important meaning of this preposition is of, so that it can be easily translated in most expressions: The first important meaning of this prepositon is to, as a dative case: In a similar way, a indicates directions: Another common Italian use for preposition in is to describe the quantity of people in groups or parties, when only the number is stated: It is also often used as an alternative to in when indicating transport, but in this case it is followed by an article either definite or indefinite: Most of these changes concern both spoken and written language.
DI with singular articles: Many of its combinations have become almost obsolete in written language, and the simple form i. Since these changes are merely phonetic, spoken language may use either of the two forms. They correspond to the English ones, but while in English possession is expressed by two different forms, one as adjective my, your, his, her, etc.
Only when the possessed noun is a specific family relative the article is dropped, as in English: Another important difference is that while in English the gender of the possessive pronoun matches the possessor, in Italian it matches the possessed subject: If this seems difficult, focus this sample sentence: Had the pronoun mia not been there, the sentence would have read: But in the previous sentence, the the word next to the article is not the noun but mia, which has to be phonetically matched.
These are more sentences with the same situation. Instead, when nouns describing different sexes have a different root, both nouns are actually mentioned: What may change is the use of an article before the pronoun. It is more easy to discuss the two cases separately. Focus the following example: This form is used to indicate the possessed object among others of similar nature.
While the standard form puts the stress on the owner of the object, the latter form stresses which of the objects among the present ones are possessed: This form is not compulsory, but it is very commonly used.
In spoken language, the question will be expressed by simply raising the pitch of the voice while approaching the end of the sentence, especially stressing the last one or two words in the two examples above: The only situation in which words change order is when verb essere to be introduces a copula, expressing a quality, a condition, etc. Compare the following examples with the previous ones: The verb and the copula go before the rest of the sentence, and the subject is postponed.
More examples: But when there is no definite subject to be postponed, the interrogative form is simply obtained by adding a question mark: The interrogative form will be discussed again, at a more advanced stage.
They may be used for any other case genitive, dative, etc. Especially in the spoken language, questo and quello are often strengthened by the use of the following adverbs: For this reason their English translation is more often that man rather than this man, but several other expressions would be correct: Instead, these pronouns would never be used to address a friend, or somebody who is well-known, or the main character of a novel, and so on.
They are not too frequently used in the spoken language, while they are very common in literature. It still carries a meaning of "person rather new to the context", for instance it could be used for a side character in a novel, but it never expresses contempt. In this case, a few changes occur to match phonetically the first letter of the following word: Pronoun quello instead, changes according to the same rule described for article lo see paragraph 2.
In the same way, quella donna that woman , or quella ragazza that girl would match costei in formal meaning, and quelle persone those people , quegli uomini those men , quelle donne those women , etc. For instance: For an introduction to these tenses, see paragraph 4. As explained in paragraph 4. Essere to be is a transitive verb, so avere to be should be used as an auxiliary verb; but essere is a very irregular verb, so as an exception, the same verb essere is also used as the auxiliary one.
The past participle of the verb essere is stato irregular. The verb stare will be dealt with more in depth in paragraph Once again, for feminine and plural the past participle changes its inflections in stata, stati, state. Remember the change of inflection for feminine and plurals stata, stati, state.
The past participle of the verb is avuto regular past participle inflection. When avere is used before the past participle, the latter is insensitive to gender and number, so avuto will be the participle for both masculine and feminine, both singular and plural forms.
It may be translated with the English corresponding tense "I have had" , but the use of simple past tense is commonly preferred: It is usually translated with the English form "I had had". When this tense is used, the action expressed is followed by another action, in passato remoto tense. In English, this pattern can be turned into an alternative form: This literally means: In Italian, this sentence would require a past pluperfect trapassato remoto for the first verb, and a past perfect passato remoto for the second one: NOTE accented vowels are used to mark the accent stress in verbs of the 2nd conjugation, but remember that they are not used in common spelling Many verbs have a regular past participle, whose inflections are as follows: Most dictionaries state irregular past participles: Obviously you don't need to learn all forms at once, but try to get slowly familiar with them, because it is important to tell a past participle from other words a noun, an adjective, etc.
Also try to focus how verbs with similar phonetic structure often behave in the same way: But this is not an absolute rule.
Some past participles can be used both as a verbal tense and as an adjective; this happens also in English: I have broken the stick verb - the stick is broken adjective ; sigillato sealed: It is also important to learn how to trace back the verb's root thus, the verb's infinitive from its past participle.
It's easy when the participle is regular: Things are a little more complicated when the verb is intransitive i. Therefore, the following examples show both situations, by using the transitive verb alzare to lift, to raise and the intransitive verb scappare to run off, to escape.
But a few examples with telefonare to phone will also be shown: Most verbs of the 1st conjugation are transitive, despite some of them might seem intransitive at first sight: This depends on the fact that when essere is used as an auxiliary verb, the following past participle behaves almost as if it was an adjective. So, when a past participle follows the verb essere, it is gender- and number-sensitive.
For older actions, passato remoto English simple past should be more properly used. In common speech, though, this tense is often used in place of passato remoto also for older actions.
When translating this tense into English, often the closest equivalent is a simple past, not the actual compound tense i. Some elements in the sentence might help to decide which of the two is better. English instead would use simple past: In the same way, in Italian a simple past questa mattina non presi l'autobus: So, when turning Italian into English, in most cases passato prossimo will require simple past; when doing the opposite translation English into Italian , rely on how much time ago the action happened, but if you find difficulties with passato remoto tense, you can use the easier passato prossimo, in any case.
The latter is in passato remoto tense English simple past. Had there not been a following action, the trapassato prossimo tense would have been used: Always remember to inflect the past participle when essere is the auxiliary verb. Since some verbs may be either transitive or intransitive according to different meanings, the auxiliary verb may change: Also notice how these names never have a capital uppercase letter, as they usually do in English.
These names are all masculine, except domenica which is feminine. Most names end with Many Italian names of the week have an astronomical-mythological origin, referring to planets which often bear the name of ancient roman gods and goddesses , but also a few English names have this peculiar origin: When using these names to indicate a precise date, I will come on Monday, etc. A definite article is often used: A further way to indicate habitual days is to use a definite article in singular form: NOTE - in the latter case, the specification "before Christmas" is almost redundant, because the use of "that" indicates how this day has already been introduced as a topic, or specified Some sentences refer to more than one specific day i.
Instead, sabato and domenica have standard plurals: In most cases, these names have an ancient roman origin: A main difference with English is that, in Italian, they always have a small or lowercase initial letter. Usually simple preposition in is used to indicate an event taking place within the month: Unlike day names, months never use a definite article in habitual forms: It is less commonly used with autunno.
Obviously, primavera would require a full di, but this preposition is not really used at all with this noun. An article is only used to indicate seasons when no event is related to them: Some sentences also use compound prepositions, so if you are in doubt check again paragraph 5. When writing a specific ordinal number before this word, usually roman numbers are used see paragraph 3.
Also western numbers can be used, but a roman numeral is always considered a more elegant choice. If you don't feel confident with roman numbers, check appendix 1.
Only when two or more centuries are mentioned, the numeral part may come after the word secolo: As all articles, they require a phonetical match with the number of the day the first word following the article. Another important difference is that in Italian date numbers are cardinal, not ordinal as in English: The cardinal number is more common when the month is followed by a year, in a full date: Quite often, the simple preposition di of is used between number and month: The expression what time is it?
Italian hours always need a definite article, referring to the noun ora hour , which is though usually omitted. All forms are obviously feminine, because the noun ora to which they refer is feminine too. Italian can use both the hour format and the hour format, the latter being more formal used in timetables, or in official speech, etc.
But in common speech and in most texts more common expressions take the place of these "official" ones: The form di mattina has del mattino as an alternative mattina is feminine, mattino is masculine, but both nouns mean morning.
Since hours require a plural article, also verb tenses need to be in plural form: The last sentence also shows how the expression in punto corresponds to English sharp referred to an hour. Instead 4: A very colloquial form is also mancano When using this colloquial form, the word minuti or minuto if singular must be used. This form exists also without a verb: Since un quarto is singular, notice how the verb inflection too manca is singular. Also fractions of the hour can be referred to mezzogiorno: The specific time Also either alone or in fractions of the hour.
Also mezzanotte can be used with fractions of the hour; as mezzogiorno, it rejects an article, it needs simple prepositions, and behaves as a singular noun. Which of the two positions depends on which part of the sentence is more emphasized, since in Italian language the last part of the sentence usually carries more "stress": By now, simply memorize their meaning.
Remember that when a is followed by a vowel especially another a , it changes to ad. This preposition translates English to, when introduced by from same case as above: Therefore, the above-mentioned sentence would often be: This is the only tricky bit in translating these forms into Italian, so be sure to focus it well.
So, as a practical rule, preposition per gives a sense of duration in time as any similar English form, while da always has a meaning of "time elapsed from that moment", either referring to the future translating English from, as of, etc. Also notice that when preposition da is used for English since, the Italian tense always refers to the latest moment of the action, as if looking at the action back in time, while the English tense refers to the starting moment of the action, or anyway to an earlier time than its end: In Italian it is always followed by preposition di when introducing a noun or a date; instead, it is followed by conjunction che that when introducing a subordinate clause, requiring subjunctive tenses.
This page only focuses the first case prima di In Italian it is usually not followed by any preposition although di is needed in a very limited number of situations, which will be explained in a future paragraph. When these pronouns are used in other cases, they work in a different way according to which verbal tense is used. At first sight they will probably appear complicated, but if you follow the page step by step they will turn out to be easier to learn than you might think.
The standard personal pronouns used as direct object are: There is a curious coincidence between the Italian and English form for the 1st singular person me , although be sure to pronounce it "meh", with a "narrow" e sound i. But for each of these pronouns, Italian also has a parallel form, somewhat shorter than the previous one, which is used either as an individual word not bound to the following word or as a suffix bound at the end of the word.
I will therefore refer to these ones respectively as "short" forms or as suffixes, according to how they behave, while "full" forms will be the ones already mentioned me, te, lui, etc. As said in earlier paragraphs, Italian language is affected by this difference very little.
This gives the pronoun a somewhat stronger emphasis: To summarize direct object pronouns used with the infinitive tense: In these cases, even more stress may be obtained by specifying the subject's own pronoun: Reflexive forms will be dealt with in paragraph 8.
All patterns shown in the examples above in present tense may be used with any other indicative tense: So, to summarize direct object pronouns for any indicative tense: When using personal pronouns as a direct object, though, also participles supported by verb avere require a match with gender and number of the pronoun.
In the second group of sentences, the same participle becomes gender- and number-sensitive, because personal pronouns are used as objects. Obviously, this rule applies to every other person: Also when verbal inflections start with ha As a general rule: Therefore, some of the sentences given in the previous example see above need a slight "retouch": Although it might appear complicated, as a final note to this page I would like to show a comparison between a transitive verb supported by auxiliary verb avere, and an intransitive verb supported by essere.
The sample verbs will be vedere to see, to watch , and tornare to return, to come back. As usual, focus the examples before the discussion: You can easily notice how the past participle visto is gender- and number-insensitive, because supported by verb avere which is transitive. Past participle tornato, instead, supported by verb essere, needs to match the gender and number of the sentence's subject.
Now let's see what happens to visto by using a personal pronoun as direct object obviously we cannot give tornato a direct object, being this verb intransitive. Can you notice the big difference? Now visto is no longer insensitive, though what it will match is the gender and number of the object i. This is a very important concept, which should be focused and understood before going any further, to avoid getting mixed up with the two situations. Summarizing once again, past participles supported by avere only become gender- and number-sensitive when the object is a personal pronoun: In any other case they use the "standard" form masculine singular.
The part participle of intransitive verbs requiring essere, instead, always has to match the subject's own gender and number. Since these verbs are intransitive, they will never have personal pronouns as direct object nor any other direct object at all.
As for direct objects, Italian has two possible ways of translating dative: The "full" pronouns are the same as direct object's ones, but to show dative case they must be introduced by simple preposition a or ad if followed by a vowel , meaning to: These forms do no longer require preposition a: Anyway, this will be explained in detail. Since many of the pronouns used for dative case are in common with the ones used as direct object, according to the action described by the verb they will either mean me or to me, you or to you, him or to him, etc.
The same forms shown above can be used with any other verb: So, according to the verb, you can use the same pronoun suffixes as dative or as direct object: So in most cases loro acts as a dative. Some verbs which in English do not require a dative in Italian do so, since they are followed by preposition a, although they do not express a "giving" action.
However, in the case a verb is followed by preposition a it requires the same pronouns as in the "real" dative case. This form gives much more emphasis to the pronoun: Without the preposition a, these pronouns would indicate a direct object.
In this emphasized form, direct object has to be used before the pronoun: Also indicative tenses may use the other form, i. The second form, instead, uses again the same "full" dative pronoun, but this time at the beginning of the sentence, with a meaning of "I give a book to her while I give others something else ".
Here is another example: In such sentences, the dative pronoun always comes before the object one. When this happens, all dative pronouns whose final vowel is i mi, ti, ci, vi turn it into e me, te, ce, ve , while gli, le and loro all turn into glie-.
No change occurs to the object pronoun, which comes immediately after. An example: As already explained in the previous paragraph 8. In fact, the elision with plural pronouns might sometimes reduce the quantity of information expressed with the sentence: Only trying again and again you will become confident with these pronoun combinations, but to do so you ought to know well all individual ones, both the object and the dative ones.
So the first step is to learn well the tables shown in paragraph 8. Subjunctive does not exist in English, with the only exception of the past tense used for the 1st singular person if I were you. Italian subjunctive has four tenses: In Italian, the conjunction that is translated che. When a subordinate clause expressing any of the above mentioned meanings is introduced by che, a subjunctive tense is needed. This conjunction has also a number of compounds, which end with Each of them introduces a subordinate sentence, for which subjunctive is required: Do you think subjunctive is complicated?
Don't worry, it's not only your impression: Some people don't even use these tenses at all. But for the same reason, who is able to use subjunctive properly is considered a good speaker. To use an indicative tense or any other tense when subjunctive is required, would not cause a misunderstanding of the sentence, but it would surely sound wrong. It is finally time to face the first subjunctive inflections.
The following tables show three regular verbs, each one belonging to a different conjugation: Although the use of subjunctive is difficult, compared to indicative tenses a simplification is that all three singular persons are identical in the present tense, and two of them are the same in the past imperfect tense.
A first case is when the verb of the primary sentence is to want, used in the following pattern: These are a few more examples, in which the verb in red colour shows where subjunctive should be used: I asked you to stay; they helped us to carry the luggage; we put him to sleep; etc. Another difference in structure occurs when the primary sentence is impersonal e. Therefore, this structure is: This does not exist in Italian, which uses a different structure: To understand how this is obtained, we must split the example into its two parts.
Obviously, not all sentences that start with it is adjective for However, the presence of the conjunction that is still not enough for requiring a subjunctive tense, which has to be used only when the verb has one of aforesaid shades of meaning uncertainty, opinions, wishes, demand, personal feelings and denying. In the following sentences the verbs in red are the ones that require subjunctive. All the others are translated with indicative tenses: Only practice and experience will avoid having to think every time whether subjunctive is needed or not.
But when the subject is clearly understood from the context, there is no real need to use them: This is also the case of conditional sentences, dealt with in chapter 13, in which the subjunctive tense is followed by the conditional one: These are the same examples shown before, with both present and future tenses: In these cases, subjunctive will be used for the present tense. Since conditional sentences will be discussed in paragraph Past subjunctive is only required when the other part of the sentence uses a conditional tense.
The difference will be easy to understand focusing these examples by now, disregard the conditional inflection: Take your time to learn them, since they will be required for the two compound tenses which will be discussed in the following paragraph. Besides being auxiliary verbs, though, they may be also used alone, according to the same rules explained in paragraphs 9. So, a few examples are: Since past subjunctive is also used for subordinate clauses in conditional sentences see paragraph 9.
They are all gender- and number-sensitive, so they have to match the noun's own gender and number. This page will discuss diminutive. Some inflections indicate that the noun is generically small, in most cases referring to its actual size, but sometimes having a more metaphoric sense i. Other nouns, though, usually follow only one of the two.
The other form would either sound very unusual, or even wrong, because it may have a bad sound, or sometimes it may have a different meaning. When the noun's singular inflection is For this reason, in forming diminutives the original noun's gender should always remain unchanged: Some nouns are actual diminutives, although they are considered as individual words because of their meaning, in which a different idea than that of "small size" may be expressed.
In this case, their gender does not necessarily match. For many of these "false diminutive nouns", other words phonetically corresponding to their non-diminutive form may exist, but they often have a different gender, and their meaning is usually completely different: However, these words too may take a real diminutive suffix, thus appearing as "double diminutives": There is only one augmentative inflection: Notice how the masculine singular and the feminine plural are the same -one.
For instance, nasone and casone sound similar, although the former is singular from naso, nose , and the latter is plural from case, houses. Obviously, when augmentative is used within a sentence, the article and often the verb too will help to tell both gender and number: The beginner student might think of this as: However, feminine plural augmentative does exist.
For this reason, some nouns may have both forms, although the feminine one is less used than the masculine. There are also several words which were born as augmentatives, but achieved their own individual meaning, such as: Finally, there are several words which only resemble augmentatives, not having any relation with the noun they seem to derive from, or not having such form at all: There is only one pejorative inflection: Also in this case, beware of "false pejorative" words: It is important to notice how in Italian all adjectives referring to countries do not use a capital uppercase letter, as they do in English.
Also notice that when names are made of two separate words i. New Zealand, South Korea, etc. A common standard suffix is -ano, corresponding to the English suffix -an, used in many cases though not so frequently as in English: In some cases, the suffix becomes -tano a "t" is added , and the root of the word might slightly change too: In a few cases, an "n" is added to the suffix: A few changes may occur to the root of the noun when the adjective keeps the old form from Latin: Finally, for some countries adjectives are specific, since they use a non-standard suffix: Adjectives with non-standard prefixes do not follow a given rule; in most cases the stressed syllable is the penultimate: Summarizing suffixes and accents in a table, for easier learning: Obviously, as any other adjective, also these ones need to match both gender and number of the noun to which they are referred see paragraphs 2.
Adjectives whose singular form ends with -e, are both masculine and feminine; this is also true for the very few ones whose last vowel is -a in both genders. Simple prepositions di of, from and da from are used in these cases: In this case, though, a compound preposition is needed see paragraph 5. Some are masculine, while some others are feminine, which of the two depending on the last vowel of the name.
Names ending with States, Emirates , not the adjective's, which simply matches the noun both for gender and number Names ending with For regions and countries whose names end with a consonant, because they keep their foreign name, a masculine gender is usually adopted, except for names referring to groups of islands see note above: In the same way, if a name refers to a natural feature, such as a desert, a river, an ocean, etc.
The word referring to the feature itself, instead, in many cases may be omitted. In compound names, mare is often used in full. The article is affected by the name's gender and number, according to the same rules followed by any other noun see paragraph 2.
Continents, countries, states, regions, etc. Only preposition in, as an exception, causes the article to be dropped. In both cases the simple form of the preposition is used. BUT hai dormito a Firenze, a Londra, a Los Angeles you slept in Florence, in London, in Los Angeles To memorize easily the correct use of these prepositions, try to think of them as "used for wide places" continents, countries, in and "for smaller places" cities, a , both for movement and position.
To show this, English either adds suffix It should be noticed that when nouns are involved in a comparison, they very often require an article. According to the rules concerning compound prepositions, explained in paragraph 5. In particular, the article is rejected by: It always uses adverb meno less , as in English. Articles and prepositions work in the same way as majority comparative.
Italian uses the following form: There is also a further comparative form expressing similarity, which may be used in a limited number of cases: In this case come acts exactly as quanto in previous expressions. This form gives the sentence a more emphatic meaning, as in sayings and idiomatic expressions, in which a person or an object are compared to something which traditionally represents the maximum grade of a given quality either an actual quality, or only one believed to be so by common beliefs.
This is a selection of such expressions: For instance, a woman may tell a friend: In a smaller number of cases, comparatives can also be used to express the level of two different qualities which refer to one same subject. They either compare an individual subject to the group or category he belongs to relative superlative , or they express a high quality level without making a comparison absolute superlative.
Relative superlative corresponds to the English forms the adjective Also the opposite, i. In this case, probably the eldest would be preferred to the least young. Both the adjective and the article have to match the subject's number i. However, the article's and adjective's gender points to the group or category the subject belongs to which is not always the same gender of the subject itself.
The following sample sentences analyze in detail the choice of the article. Therefore, the article and adjective required are singular as Marco and masculine as amici. Among singular masculine articles, il, lo, l' see paragraph 2.
The article and the adjective required are singular as balena and masculine as mammiferi, despite the subject is feminine. Try yourself this analysis with the following examples: Here are further examples: As an alternative to preposition di, the group or category may be also introduced by the prepositions tra or fra, both meaning among. They are easier to use for who is not yet familiar with compound prepositions see paragraph 5. In this case, the use of fra or tra is preferred to di; alternatively, tutti or tutte all is added after fra tra or di.
In English too the sentence can be turned the other way round, but one has to be added, whereas in Italian no addition is required. When the sentence starts with among A slightly different way of expressing the same sentences without changing the meaning is: More often, sentences in which the adjective is part of a relative superlative follow a "noun - relative superlative" ordering.
Compared to the form previously discussed, the main change which takes place is the article: Gender and number, instead, remain unchanged. Here are more samples of previous sentences turned into this form, plus a few new ones always focus the article! Although the "noun - relative superlative" is the most common case, there are sentences in which the "relative superlative - noun" is preferred.
There is no specific rule for them, but they sound somewhat more emphatic, and often occurs in popular sayings, titles of books or films, etc. These are a few examples: English does not have an absolute superlative, so it is difficult to express its meaning exactly: But in Italian absolute superlatives express the quality in an even higher grade than by using adverb very or extremely.
Absolute superlatives are not really "emphatic" expressions, and their use in common speech, as well as in literature, is very common. Absolute superlative is obtained by attaching to adjectives the suffix -issimo, which behaves as an ordinary adjective i.
It should only be noticed that if an adjective has the -e inflection for both masculine and feminine singular and -i for masculine and feminine plural facile, facili; breve, brevi; utile, utili; importante, importanti; etc. Among the ones more commonly used are misero poor, miserable, wretched , integro whole, integer, or upright, honest , aspro sour, or harsh, rough, difficult.
In linking this suffix to the adjective, not only the last vowel, but two or three letters of the root are dropped: