Potere Conjugation – A very common verb

The Potere Conjugation is one of the most important in Italian language. We generally use potere to express capacity to do something. But you can also use it to ask for permission to do something. In some cases, especially in the negative, it is used to indicate an impediment or a forbiddance.



Al momento non può lavorare perché è a letto con l’influenza.
He can’t work at the moment because he is in bed with the flu.

Non ho potuto fare niente per aiutarlo. Mi dispiace davvero tanto!
I wasn’t able to do anything to help him. I’m really sorry!


As you can see, potere translates both the modal verb can and the expression to be able to. Seen as can has only two forms, can (for the present tense) and could (for the past and conditional tenses), the expression be able to is required to conjugate the verb in the “lacking” tenses (e.g. future tense, present perfect, etc.).



Spero che potrete rivedere presto vostra madre. Vi cerca da giorni!
I hope you will be able to see your mother again. She’s been looking for you for days!

Non avevo potuto dirgli la verità perché non voleva ascoltarmi in quel momento.
I hadn’t been able to tell him the truth because he didn’t want to listen to me in that moment.


Potere conjugation – Presente

First of all, you should know that potere follows an irregular conjugation. This means that you need to learn its conjugation in all tenses by heart.

Let’s see how to conjugate it in Presente:

Io posso

Tu puoi

Lui/Lei può

Noi possiamo

Voi potete

Loro possono


Possono venire al cinema con noi anche Giancarlo e Anna questa sera?
Can Giancarlo and Anna come with us to the cinema this evening, too?

Se serve, posso aiutarti io questo weekend con gli esercizi di matematica.
If you need, I can help you with math exercises this weekend.


Potere conjugation – Passato Prossimo

Io ho potuto

Io sono potuto/a

Tu hai potuto

Tu sei potuto/a

Lui/Lei ha potuto

Lui/Lei è potuto/a

Noi abbiamo potuto

Noi siamo potuti/e

Voi avete potuto

Voi siete potuti/e

Loro hanno potuto

Loro sono potuti/e

In the Passato Prossimo, the verb potere usually requires the auxiliary have.



Non ha potuto fare i compiti perché ha dimenticato il libro a scuola.
He wasn’t able to / couldn’t do her homework because she forgot her book at school.

Hai potuto dire tutta la verità soltanto perché in quel momento c’era tuo padre lì con te.
You were able to / could tell the truth only because your father was there with you in that moment.


Sometimes, you are compelled to employ the auxiliary be.  This happen with the so called “verbs of motion”. They are andare (to go), venire (to come) and reflexive verbs like lavarsi (to shower), vestirsi (to get dressed). In this case, the past participle of potere always agrees with the subject of the sentence.

Don’t forget that these rules must be applied to all compound tenses (Trapassato Prossimo, Trapassato Remoto, Futuro Anteriore, etc.)



Non è potuta venire al cinema con noi ieri pomeriggio perché aveva molte cose da fare.
She wasn’t able to / couldn’t come to the cinema with us yesterday afternoon because she had a lot of things to do.

Le ragazze non si sono potute lavare stamattina perché la caldaia era rotta.
The girls weren’t able to / couldn’t shower this morning because the boiler was broken.


Potere Conjugation – Imperfetto

Io potevo

Tu potevi

Lui/Lei poteva

Noi potevamo

Voi potevate

Loro potevano

As you can see, the past form could has been employed for the conjugation of the Italian Imperfetto. Probably, you already know that in this tense the consonant “v ” always occurs in all persons of the verb. This is usually the only way to recognize it easily.


Mi ha detto che non poteva fidarsi di nessuno… nemmeno del suo migliore amico!
She told me she couldn’t trust anyone… even her best friend!

Potevate aspettarci prima di andare a parlare con il preside!
You could wait for us before going to talk to the principal!


Potere Conjugation – Trapassato Prossimo

Io avevo potuto

Io ero potuto/a

Tu avevi potuto

Tu eri potuto/a

Lui/Lei aveva potuto

Lui/Lei era potuto/a

Noi avevamo potuto

Noi eravamo potuti/e

Voi avevate potuto

Voi eravate potuti/e

Loro avevano potuto

Loro erano potuti/e

You can easily form the Trapassato Prossimo by using the simple past of auxiliary verbs essere and avere and the past participle of the verb potere. In English you need to look at the expression be able to in order to make a proper translation.  



Aveva potuto riflettere molto su quello che era successo.
He had been able to think a lot about what had happened.

Non eravate potuti uscire perché stava piovendo.
You hadn’t been able to go out because it was raining.


Potere Conjugation – Passato Remoto

Io potei

Tu potesti

Lui/Lei poté

Noi potemmo

Voi poteste

Loro poterono

Probably, you will never use the Passato Remoto because it mainly occurs in literature, history books or novels. However, you could hear it from some people living in South Italy, especially in Sicily and Campania. In English its equivalent form is could



Non poté tornare a casa perché aveva perso l’autobus.
He couldn’t come back home because he had missed the bus.

Dopo l’arresto pagarono la cauzione e poterono uscire di prigione.
After being arrested, they paid the bail and they could get out of prison.


Potere Conjugation – Trapassato Remoto

Io ebbi potuto

Io fui portato/a

Tu avesti potuto

Tu fosti potuto/a

Lui/Lei ebbe potuto

Lui/Lei fu potuto/a

Noi avemmo potuto

Noi fummo potuti/e

Voi aveste potuto

Voi foste potuti/e

Loro ebbero potuto

Loro furono potuti/e

As for the Trapassato Prossimo, you are able to create sentences with Trapassato Remoto by using the past tense of auxiliary verbs and the past participle of potere. Also in this case, you are asked to use the expression be able to.  



Dopo che non ebbe potuto dormire per tanto tempo, finalmente si addormentò.
After he hadn’t been able to sleep for so long, he fell asleep at last.

Dopo che si furono potute sedere, si sentirono molto meglio.
After they had been able to sit, they felt much better.


Potere Conjugation – Futuro semplice

Io potrò

Tu potrai

Lui/Lei potrà

Noi potremo

Voi potrete

Loro potranno

For a proper construction of sentences with Futuro semplice in English, you are suggested to apply the expression be able to with will in the present tense.



La mamma ha detto che potrai andare al parco dopo aver lavato tutti quei piatti.
Mum said you will be able to go to the park after washing all those dishes.

Non potremo mangiare fino a quando non sarà pronto a tavola.
We won’t be able to eat until it’s dinner time.


Potere Conjugation – Futuro Anteriore

Io avrò potuto

Io sarò potuto/a

Tu avrai potuto

Tu sarai potuto/a

Lui/Lei avrà potuto

Lui/Lei sarà potuto/a

Noi avremo potuto

Noi saremo potuti/e

Voi avrete potuto

Voi sarete potuti/e

Loro avranno potuto

Loro saranno potuti/e

Futuro Anteriore is also very simply to form. Use auxiliary verbs in the future tense, followed by the past participle of potere. Also in this case, you must employ be able to with will in the past tense.



Quando avranno potuto leggere i loro romanzi preferiti, saranno sicuramente più felici.
When they will have been able to read their favorite novels, they will surely be happier.

Sarà potuta uscire?
Could she have gone out?


Potere Conjugation – Condizionale Presente

Io potrei

Tu potresti

Lui/Lei potrebbe

Noi potremmo

Voi potreste

Loro potrebbero

As for the Imperfetto and Passato Remoto, the equivalent form of Condizionale Presente is could in English.



Potrebbero tardare perché oggi c’è lo sciopero dei mezzi pubblici.
They could be late because today there’s a public transport strike.

Potresti darmi dello zucchero, per piacere?
Could you please give me some sugar?


Potere Conjugation – Condizionale Passato

Io avrei potuto

Io sarei potuto/a

Tu avresti potuto

Tu saresti potuto/a

Lui/Lei avrebbe potuto

Lui/Lei sarebbe potuto/a

Noi avremmo potuto

Noi saremmo potuti/e

Voi avreste potuto

Voi sareste potuti/e

Loro avrebbero potuto

Loro sarebbero potuti/e

As regards the Condizionale Passato, you build it by resorting to the future tense of auxiliaries, combined with the past participle potuto, properly agreed with the subject of the sentence.



Se me lo avessi chiesto, avrei potuto aiutarti.
If you had asked me that, I could have helped you.

Si sarebbero potuti mascherare per Carnevale ma alla fine hanno deciso di non farlo.
They could have dressed up for Carnival but they decided not to do that at last.


Potere Conjugation – Congiuntivo Presente

Che io possa

Che tu possa

Che lui/lei possa

Che noi possiamo

Che voi possiate

Che essi possano

Italian Congiuntivo is not very used in English. Its main feature is the presence of the conjunction che preceding the conjugated verb.

The Congiuntivo Presente, Congiuntivo Passato, Congiuntivo Imperfetto and Congiuntivo Trapassato can be translated with the tenses of present and past simple.



Spero che tu possa essere felice con la tua nuova famiglia.
I hope you can be happy with your new family.

Credo che possiamo farcela anche da soli senza il vostro aiuto.
I think we can do it ourselves, even without your help.


Potere Conjugation – Congiuntivo Passato

Che io abbia potuto

Che io sia potuto/a

Che tu abbia potuto

Che tu sia potuto/a

Che lui/lei abbia potuto

Che lui/lei sia potuto/a

Che noi abbiamo potuto

Che noi siamo potuti/e

Che voi abbiate potuto

Che voi siate potuti/e

Che loro abbiano potuto

Che loro siano potuti/e


Sono felice che abbiano potuto salutarlo prima della sua partenza.
I’m glad they were able to / could greet him before he left.

È dispiaciuta del fatto che non siate potuti venire al suo matrimonio.
She is sorry you weren’t able to / couldn’t come to her wedding.


Potere Conjugation – Congiuntivo Imperfetto

Che io potessi

Che tu potessi

Che lui/lei potesse

Che noi potessimo

Che voi poteste

Che loro potessero


Se potessi smetterla di preoccuparti, te ne sarei grato.
If you could stop worrying, I would really appreciate it.

Vorrei che poteste partecipare anche voi alla serata di beneficenza.
I wish you could take part in the charity evening, too.


Potere Conjugation – Congiuntivo Trapassato

Che io avessi potuto

Che io fossi potuto/a

Che tu avessi potuto

Che tu fossi potuto/a

Che lui/lei avesse potuto

Che lui/lei fosse potuto/a

Che noi avessimo potuto

Che noi fossimo potuti/e

Che voi aveste potuto

Che voi foste potuti/e

Che loro avessero potuto

Che loro fossero potuti/e


Se fossimo potuti rimanere di più, avremmo giocato ancora un po’.
If we had been able to stay / could have stayed longer, we could have played still for a while.

Non riuscivo a capire come avessero potuto ingannare mia sorella per tutti questi anni.
 I couldn’t understand how they had been able to cheat / could have cheated on my sister all these years.


Potere Conjugation – Infinito

Present tense

Past tense

Past tense


avere potuto

essere potuto/potuta/potuti/potute


È una gioia poterti vedere di nuovo sorridere dopo tanto tempo.
It’s a joy to be able to see you smiling again after all this time.

Aver potuto incontrare il mio cantante preferito mi ha rallegrato la giornata.
Having been able to meet my favorite singer made my day.


A thing to remember is that the present tense of Italian Infinito is mainly used as a noun, il potere, which translates the word power in English.



Quella ragazza riesce sempre ad ottenere ciò che vuole. Sembra avere uno strano potere sulle persone!
That girl is always able to get what she wants. She seems to have this strange power over people.


Potere Conjugation – Participio

Present tense

Past tense




È uno degli uomini più ricchi e potenti di San Francisco.
He’s one of the richest and most powerful men in San Francisco.

Non hanno potuto visitare il museo perché era chiuso.
They weren’t able to / couldn’t visit the museum because it was closed.


As you may have noticed, the present tense of Participio is mostly used as an adjective or a noun, while the past tense has only an auxiliary function.


Potere Conjugation – Gerundio

Present tense

Past tense

Past tense


avendo potuto

essendo potuto/potuta/potuti/potute


Potendo uscire prima da lavoro, sono andato al supermercato.
Being able to leave work early, I went to the supermarket.

Essendo potuti arrivare prima del previsto, hanno fatto colazione.
Having been able to arrive ahead of schedule, they had breakfast.


Even if Italian Gerundio is widely common, we generally find it in the written language and in a few cases when people talk to each other, for example in case of present progressive.

Now you are ready to communicate your abilities and capacities to everyone you are talking to.

So, it’s time to say what you can or cannot do using potere in the right conjugation!

If you want to practice Italian Grammar and tenses here is a list of useful books for you:

By: Alfonso Di Somma

Born and raised in Italy, he is an Italian professional translator and a tireless traveler. His main passion? Foreign languages!

Essere conjugation – Extremely useful

One of the very first steps when learning Italian is to learn the conjugation of Essere.

Essere is the most common verb in Italian. It literally means to be, to exist and you will basically need it to say everything in Italian, like:

  • sono americano – I’m American
  • sono felice – I’m happy
  • sono stato in Italia – I’ve been in Italy

So, what are you waiting for? You need to learn this verb right now! Here below you will find tables with all Essere Conjugations with examples. And in the last paragraph you will also learn more ways to use it.

Let’s start with the tenses of the Indicative mood.

Essere Conjugation – Presente 

First thing to know is that Essere follows an irregular conjugation, meaning that you can’t apply the rules of regular verbs when conjugating it, but you need to learn it by heart:

Io sono I am
Tu sei You are
Lui / Lei è He / She is
Noi siamo We are
Voi siete You are
Essi sono They are

Sono molto stanca. – I am very tired. Same as in English, Italians use the present tense to express habits, general rules, or actions that are happening right now.

Lui è a Parigi? –  Is he in Paris?
Siete a casa. – You are at home.

Usually it’s not necessary to use the pronouns (io, tu, lui, lei, noi, voi, loro) before the verb in Italian. You can just use the verb without pronouns and your sentence will make sense because, as you can see from the table above, each person has its own form. 

Even with sono the context always shows whether it means “I am” or “They are”:

Sono americano – I am American.
Sono americani – They are American.


Essere Conjugation – Imperfetto

Io ero I was
Tu eri You were
Lui / Lei era He / She was
Noi eravamo We were
Voi eravate You were
Essi erano They were

This tense is used to describe events that happened continuously in the past on a regular basis, to make descriptions in the past and to talk about feelings in the past.

Quando ero bambina andavo in Italia ogni estate. – When I was a kid, I used to go to Italy every Summer.
Eravamo molto felici quando Marco è arrivato. – We were very happy when Marco came.
Era una bella giornata, c’era il sole e non pioveva. – It was a beautiful day, it was sunny and it wasn’t raining.

Essere Conjugation – Passato Prossimo 

Io sono stato I have been
Tu sei stato You have been
Lui / Lei è stato/a He / She has been
Noi siamo stati We have been
Voi siete stati You have been
Essi sono stati They have been

Passato Prossimo is the main past tense in Italian , you need to use it when talking about events happened in the past, when talking about what have you done this morning, yesterday, one year ago and so on.

Siamo stati benissimo insieme. – We had a great time together.
Lui è stato molto fortunato. – He was very lucky.
Sono stato in Italia l’anno scorso. – I’ve been in Italy last year. 

Essere Conjugation –  Futuro Semplice 

Io sarò I will be
Tu sarai You will be
Lui / Lei sarà He / She will be
Noi saremo We will be
Voi sarete You will be
Essi saranno They will be

The future tense in Italian is used to express an action that has yet to happen. If you want to know more about it, check it out here.

Some examples:
Sarò in ritardo, potete cominciare senza di me? –   I will be late, can you start without me?
Andiamo a Salerno domani? Sarà una bella giornata. – Are we going to Salerno tomorrow? It will be a beautiful day.
Un giorno saranno famosi. – One day, they will be famous.


Essere Conjugation – Passato Remoto 

Io fui I was
Tu fosti You were
Lui / Lei fu He / She was
Noi fummo We were
Voi foste You were
Essi furono They were

Passato remoto is very often found in literature and history books. It’s used to express actions that happened a long time ago. It can be very useful to recognize it, even though you don’t need to use it, you can use passato prossimo instead.

Molti libri furono perduti durante l’incendio – Many books were lost in the fire.
Dante Alighieri fu il più importante scrittore italiano. – Dante Alighieri was the most important Italian writer.

Essere Conjugation – Trapassato Prossimo 

Io ero stato I had been
Tu eri stato You had been
Lui / Lei era stato/a He / She had been
Noi eravamo stati We had been
Voi eravate stati You had been
Essi erano stati They had been

This tense is used to say that something happened before another event in the past. For example: 

Non eravamo mai stati a Roma prima. – We had never been to Rome before.
Sono andata al supermercato anche se ci ero già stata stamattina – I went to the supermarket even though I had already been there this morning.

Essere Conjugation – Trapassato Remoto

Io fui stato
Tu fosti stato
Lui / Lei fu stato/a
Noi fummo stati
Voi foste stati
Essi furono stati

To be honest, you won’t need to use this tense, you may see it in literature or story books. It is used to talk about an event in the past that has happened before another event in the passato remoto.

Essere Conjugation – Futuro anteriore

Io sarò stato I will have been
Tu sarai stato You will have been
Lui / Lei sarà stato/a He / She will have been
Noi saremo stati We will have been
Voi sarete stati You will have been
Essi saranno stati They will have been

Same as futuro semplice, futuro anteriore is used to express a future action. But in this case the action happened before the futuro semplice. See the example:

Quando sarò stato in Italia almeno una volta, allora dirò di conoscerla.
When I will have been to Italy at least once, then I will say that I know it.

You could also use the futuro semplice instead.


Essere Conjugation – Condizionale Presente

Io sarei
Tu saresti
Lui / Lei sarebbe
Noi saremmo
Voi sareste
Essi sarebbero

The conditional is used to express an intention, will, or polite request. It’s used to express an action that would happen but depends on certain conditions. If you want to know more about this tense, click here

Sarebbe bello. – It would be nice.
Se fossi un uomo ricco, sarei molto felice. – If I were a rich man, I would be very happy.

Essere Conjugation – Condizionale Passato 

Io sarei stato
Tu saresti stato
Lui / Lei sarebbe stato / a
Noi saremmo stati
Voi sareste stati
Essi sarebbero stati

Sarei stato contento di vederti – I would have been happy to see you 


Essere Conjugation – Congiuntivo Presente

The Subjunctive mood, or Congiuntivo in Italian, is not very used in English. It’s a mood of possibility and it is used to express uncertainty, hopes, and fears. It usually come after che.

Che io sia I am
Che tu sia You are
Che lui / lei sia He / She is
Che noi siamo We are
Che voi siate You are
Che essi siano They are


Farò il mio meglio affinché tu sia contenta. – I will do my best so that you are happy.
È meglio che loro siano soddisfatti. – It’s better if they are pleased.
Penso che lui sia molto stanco. – I think he is very tired.

Essere Conjugation – Congiuntivo Imperfetto

Che io fossi (that) I were
Che tu fossi (that) you were
Che lui / lei fosse (that) he / she were
Che noi fossimo (that) we were
Che voi foste (that) you were
Che essi fossero (that) they were

Vorrei che tu fossi più sincera. – I wish you were more honest.We use Congiuntivo Imperfetto when the main clause has past tense, conditional tense or imperfect tense.

Speravo che questa volta non fossimo in ritardo. – I hoped that this time we wouldn’t be late.
Sarebbe meglio se lui fosse più interessante. – It would be better if he was more interesting.

Essere Conjugation – Congiuntivo Passato 

Che io sia stato I have been
Che tu sia stato You have been
Che lui / lei sia stato/a He / She has been
Che noi siamo stati We have been
Che voi siate stati You have been
Che essi siano stati They have been

Penso che sia stato facile – I think it has been easy

Essere Conjugation – Congiuntivo Trapassato

Che io fossi stato
Che tu fossi stato
Che lui / lei fosse stato/a
Che noi fossimo stati
Che voi foste stati
Che essi fossero stati

Se tu fossi stato più attento, non saresti caduto
If you had been more careful, you would not have fallen

Essere Conjugation –  Imperativo

Using this mode in Italian we can give an order or instructions. Essere has its own forms even here. More about the imperative you can learn here.

Tu sii
Lui / Lei sia
Noi siamo
Voi siate
Essi siano

Non ti preoccupare, sii felice – Don’t worry, be happy.
Siate prudenti! – Be careful!

Essere Conjugation –  Infinito

Present Past
Essere Essere stato

Essere o non essere? – to be or not to be?
Ho capito di essere stato uno sciocco  – I realized I have been a fool 

Essere Conjugation – Participio

Present Past
Essente Stato

While essente is almost obsolete, stato is used in the compound tenses of Essere, as you may have noticed from the conjugations.

Essere Conjugation – Gerundio

Present Past
Essendo Essendo stato

You can learn more about the gerund here

essere conjugation

How do you use essere in Italian?

As we already mentioned, essere means to be, to exist. We use it to express who we are, to describe our mood and how we feel.

Same as in English, we use ESSERE to:

  • say our name
  • describe how we feel
  • talk about our profession
  • describe someone or something
  • describe where something is located
  • ask about the time

Let’s take a look at these examples:

  • Io sono Marco. – I am Marco.
  • Lui è molto triste perché ha perso le chiavi. – He is very sad because he lost the keys.
  • I miei genitori sono italiani, invece io sono nata negli Stati Uniti – My parents are Italian, but I was born in the US
  • Mia sorella è insegnante. – My sister is a teacher.
  • La ragazza di Luigi è veramente simpatica. – Luigi’s girlfriend is very nice.
  • Questi libri sono nuovi e sono molto utili. – These books are new and very useful.
  • Noi siamo a casa, e voi dove siete? – We are at home, and where are you?
  • Il Colosseo è a Roma. – The colosseum is in Rome.
  • Che ore sono? Sono le otto. – What time is it? It’s eight o’clock.

Other uses of essere

Esserci: there is – there are

With pronoun CI we use essere to indicate the presence. Same as in English “there is” or “there are”.

C’è un libro sul tavolo. – There is a book on the table.
Fammi sapere se ci sono problemi. – Let me know if there are problems.

Essere di: to be from

Di dove sei? Sono di New York.
Di dov’è tuo cugino? Lui è di Roma.

Essere as auxiliary verb

The verb essere is also an auxiliary verb. That means that, together with the verb avere, it is used to form the compound tenses (composed of the auxiliary verb + the past participle), such as passato prossimo, congiuntivo passato or futuro anteriore.

Sono arrivata ieri a Milano. – I arrived yesterday in Milano,
Quando sarà entrata nella camera, vedrà la sorpresa. – When she enters in the room, she will see the surprise.

Comparisons with English

Essere, o non essere, questo è il dilemma! – To be, or not to be, this is the problem!

A part of the essere conjugation that should be learned by heart, the use of the verb Essere seems pretty easy and almost the same as in English. However, there are exceptions to which you should pay attention to.

Do NOT use essere to say :

  • the age
  • how you are
  • what you are doing in the moment

Let’s see what verbs to use in these situations instead.

Italians won’t say: “I am 25 years old.” They would say: “I have 25 years.” Instead of the verb essere they use the verb avere (to have). 

Quanti anni hai? Ho 25 anni. – How many years do you have? I have 25 years.

If you want to ask an Italian “How are you?” you won’t use the verb essere but the verb stare. Please check out here the difference between essere and stare.

Come stai? Sto bene, grazie. – How are you? I’m good, thank you.

If you want to talk about an action that is happening right now, you won’t use the verb to be as the English expression “to be doing something“. Instead, to make the continuous form in Italian is used the verb stare.

Sto parlando al telefono. – I’m talking on the phone.
Cosa stai facendo? – What are you doing?


To conclude, if you want to practice Italian Grammar and tenses here is a list of useful books for you:


By: Lucia Aiello

Lucia Aiello is one of the co-founders of LearnItalianGo. Born and raised in Italy, she is a passionate Italian teacher and language enthusiast.

Beautiful in Italian – How do I say it?

Being Italy a country rich in beauty and culture, many things can be described as beautiful… But how do I say Beautiful in Italian?

In this article, we’ll see how you can say it in various way… Let’s see them!

The most common word to say beautiful in Italian is “bello”.

Bello is one of the most used adjectives to say beautiful in Italian. 

It describes people, animals and things that you consider pleasant to the eye, more than pretty or nice, very enjoyable and it translates directly with beautiful.

Here you will not only learn how to use the adjective bello, but  also many ways to say beautiful in Italian, that will bring your vocabulary to the next level and step up your game!

Ways to say beautiful in Italian

  • bello (bellissimo, molto bello)
  • attraente 
  • affascinante
  • delizioso
  • incantevole 
  • stupendo
  • fantastico
  • magnifico
  • splendido
  • straordinario
  • favoloso
  • incredibile
  • carino
  • un capolavoro
  • uno spettacolo
  • spettacolare 

Now that you have a list of the most common adjectives to say beautiful in Italian, let’s see how to use them correctly.


First of all, bello is is the most common way to say beautiful in Italian. It is an adjective: this means that it changes depending on the number(singular or plural) and gender(masculine or feminine) of the noun it refers to.

Take a look at this table:

  Singular Plural
Masculine Bello/ bel /bell’ Bei/ begli/belli
Feminine Bella/bell’ Belle

Contrary to English, in Italian adjectives usually come after the noun.

  • un ragazzo bello
  • una donna bella
  • i bambini belli
  • le persone belle

Starting with the basis, we have bello, which is singular and masculine.

For example:
Un ragazzo belloa beautiful boy
Sei proprio bello! – you are very handsome!

It may be used as a greeting between friends or family:

Ciao bello! – Hi handsome! or Hi bro!

Bello after a noun

Usually, in Italian, the adjective comes after the noun it refers to.

However, In the case of bello, it can come before or after a noun.

If placed before, depending on the noun, it slightly changes, to best accommodate the pronunciation and the sound of the phrase. It follows the same rule we use with definite articles, like so:


You use bello in front of a noun that starts with s + consonant, z, y, ps, pn, x or gn.
For example:
bello scenario – beautiful scenery


Bello becomes bel (singular masculine)
For example:
bel ragazzo, bel cane – a beautiful boy, a beautiful dog


Bell’ is used in front of a singular noun starting with a vowel, whether it is masculine or feminine.
For example:
bell’artista – a beautiful artist


Bella is used with feminine singular nouns or as an informal way of greeting between female friends:

For example:
Una ragazza bella – a beautiful girl
Ciao bella! – Hi beautiful!


When placed in front of a noun, it stays the same, except in front of words starting with a vowel, where it drops the final “a”:

For example:
Che bella giornata – what a beautiful day
Una bell’isola – a beautiful island


It generally accompanies masculine plural nouns. It can be heard amongst youngsters as a form of greeting, similar to “bros”:

For example:
dei ragazzi belli – some beautiful boys
Ehi belli! – Hi there bros!


Before a noun it changes, following the definite articles rule, becoming:

Begli in front of a noun that starts with s + consonant, z, y, ps, pn, x or gn.
For example:
begli scenari – beautiful sceneries


Bei (plural masculine) in all the other cases.
For example:
bei ragazzi, bei cani – some beautiful boys, some beautiful dogs


This is the feminine plural form of “bello”, it doesn’t change when placed in front of the noun it refers to:

For example:
Delle ragazze belle – some beautiful girls
Delle belle amiche – some beautiful friends

Più bello

Moving on, bello can be modified according to the degree of intensity: we saw its basic form, now we will deal with the comparative and superlative.

When comparing two things, situations or persons, and, in particular with the adjective, in Italian we use the formula:

X è più bello di Y”, which literally translates into “X is more beautiful than Y”.

So, just by adding the particle “più”, you can build a comparative phrase. As you can see, this process works with all the normal adjectives, so keep it in mind, it could come in handy in other occasions!

Bellissimo and Molto bello

  Singular Plural
Masculine Bellissimo Bellissimi
Feminine Bellissima Bellissime

Next, we can say very beautiful in Italian with the the superlative form of bello which is bellissimo: to construct the absolute superlative, you just need to add the suffix –issimo and you’re done! It translated into “very/extremely beautiful” in English. Of course, don’t forget that, being an adjective, it still needs to be adjusted to the noun that it accompanies:

È una canzone bellissima!
It’s a beautiful song 

However, similar to bellissimo, we have molto bello, which expresses the same meaning by adding the adverb molto (very) in front of the adjective. Bear in mind that this formula must always follow the noun it refers to, contrary to what we said before about the use of bello and bellissimo.

For example:
Oggi è una giornata molto bella.
Oggi è una bella giornata.

These phrases both translate as “Today it is a beautiful day”, but, please, take note of the position of the adjective: can you see the difference? While bello can go either before or after the noun, molto bello can only follow it!

More ways to say Beautiful in Italian

As anticipated before, now we will see more ways to say beautiful in Italian. Remember that all these synonyms might have slightly different meanings and nuances between them, but they are generally used as substitutes of bello in different contexts.


This usually refers to a person, meaning that he or she is not only aesthetically pleasing, but has to them a sensual allure. As a matter of fact, often you could hear the phrase:

è molto bello, ma non è per niente attraente” – he/she is beautiful but not at all attractive

meaning that their beauty is somehow cold and distant.


It is similar to attraente, so it used to describe a good-looking person that also possesses quite the charm, a charismatic character.

For example:
Trovava il mago alquanto affascinante. – She thought the magician quite charming.

However,  other adjectives that are frequently used to describe people (but also situations, things and places) are: delizioso, incantevole, meraviglioso and stupendo.

Delizioso and incantevole

They both denote a certain elegance and awe towards the addressee; they are usually referred to girls or women, their attire and appearance. Even an event or a situation can be described using these adjectives. Delizioso is often used referring to food.

For example:
Wow, quel vestito è delizioso su di te! – Wow, that dress looks stunning on you!
Che serata incantevole! – What a lovely night!
Questo dolce è delizioso! – This dessert is delicious!


I can’t help but sing this song in my head when I hear the word stupendo:

It is translated as gorgeous, wonderful, stupendous, marvelous, splendid.

For example:
Grazie per lo stupendo regalo! – Thank you so much for the wonderful gift!

Fantastico, magnifico, splendido and straordinario

These are often used in advertisement and TV language, to emphasize the products or concepts advertised even more. However, employed with the same hyperbolic function we have fantastico, magnifico, splendido and straordinario.
Here you will find some examples, to better understand how to use these adjectives:

In uscita il fantastico nuovo film di Gabriele Muccino. – Coming soon the new breathtaking movie by Gabriele Muccino.
La vista da quassù è meravigliosa. – The view from here is wonderful.
Visitate la magnifica Costiera Amalfitana! – Come visit the beautiful Amalfi Coast!
Non lasciatevi sfuggire questa offerta straordinaria! – Don’t miss out on this extraordinary offer!


This adjective comes from the word “favola”, which directly translates into “fairy-tale”, so when you refer to someone or something as favoloso, you’re actually saying that they are fabulous!

For example:
Adoro il tuo nuovo taglio di capelli, è favoloso! – I love your new haircut, it’s fabulous!


Similar to favoloso, there’s incredibile, which literally means “unbelievable”. In the context of beauty, it is used to say that something or someone it’s unbelievably, incredibly beautiful, gorgeous or amazing.

For example:
Lo spettacolo è stato incredibile! – The show was awesome!
Laura è incredibile! – Laura is amazing!


Carino is another term frequently used to indicate that something or someone is cute or nice, with a lesser degree of beauty compared to bello. However,  it can also signify that someone is being kind to you or displaying some polite and gentle manners, which in Italian can be called “carinerie”.

For example:
A: Ti piace Marco? – Do you fancy Marco?
B: È carino, ma non è il mio tipo. – He is cute, but he’s not my type.

A: Che  cane carino! – What a cute dog!
B: Si chiama Dug ed è un carlino. – It’s Dug and it’s a pug

Un capolavoro

You may find this expression referred to a piece of art, in general. It directly translates with “a masterpiece” and it is used with the same meaning, so when something, or someone, is just perfect and outstanding, it is a capolavoro!

For example:
Quel dipinto è un capolavoro! – That painting is a masterpiece!
Sei un capolavoro! – You are beautiful/handsome!

Uno spettacolo or spettacolare

If someone or something is very beautiful you can refer to it as uno spettacolo (”a show”), or describe it as spettacolare (spectacular).  

For example:
Roma è spettacolare! – Rome is spectacular!
Con quel vestito sei uno spettacolo! – You look spectacular with that dress on!


As you can see, I used different variations of the word beautiful, according to the context. With time and practice, you will learn which adjective works best with which nouns, paying attention to the nuances that each one of them beholds.

You just leaned all valid alternatives to the word beautiful in Italian. I know, there is a lot to memorize, but little by little it will come natural and easier to use them. Practice makes perfect, so go out there and start making nice compliments to Italians!

By: Lucia Aiello

Lucia Aiello is one of the co-founders of LearnItalianGo. Born and raised in Italy, she is a passionate Italian teacher and language enthusiast.

Andare Conjugation

Andare Conjugation is one of the most important things to learn in Italian, since andare translates to go (or to travel) and it’s used when you want to talk about movement from one point to another by any means of transport – on foot or else.

For example:

Vado a Roma in aereo, poi vado alla stazione in treno e vado a piedi all’hotel. 
I go to Rome by plane, then I go to the station by train and I go to the hotel by foot.

Because andare is irregular in many tenses, it is very important to learn how to conjugate andare, so you’ll feel more comfortable using it.

So… Andiamo! Let’s go!

Andare Conjugation – Modo Indicativo

First of all, let’s start by conjugating andare in the finite mood, indicative (indicativo) which is used to express certainty of an action. It has four simple tenses (made of one word) and four compound tenses (i.e. it’s made of two components: an auxiliary verb – essere or avere depending on the verb – and the past participle of the verb – participio passato). Each of these tenses indicate the time when the action, or event, takes place.

Andare in Presente

io vado I go
tu vai you go
lui/lei va he/she/it goes
noi andiamo we go
voi andate you go
loro vanno they go

For example:

Vado a scuola in autobus.
I go to school by bus.

Carla va dal dottore tutti i mesi.
Carla goes to the doctor every month.

Domani i tuoi amici vanno in pizzeria, vuoi andare anche tu?
Tomorrow your friends will go to a pizza place, do you also want to go?

As you can see from the last example, Italian uses the present tense to describe current actions, or events, but also to express future ones. However, you understand you are talking about something that will happen in the future thanks to the presence of time adverbs, in this case tomorrow (domani).

Andare in Passato Prossimo 

Furthermore, andare is an intransitive verb, as most movement verbs, meaning it cannot take a direct object and is used with essere in compound tenses (i.e. tenses with auxiliary essere or avere + past participle of the verb) such as passato prossimo (past tense). Its past participle is andato.

When you encounter a verb which requires essere as auxiliary verb, the past participle agrees with the subject of the sentence in number – singular or plural – and in gender – masculine or feminine – therefore you have four forms: andato (masculine singular), andata (feminine singular), andati (masculine plural), andate (feminine plural).

io sono andato/a I went/have gone
tu sei andato/a you went/have gone
lui/lei è andato/a he/she/it went/has gone
noi siamo andati/e we went/have gone
voi siete andati/e you went/have gone
loro sono andati/e they went/have gone

Use the conjugation of andare in passato prossimo to talk about something you have started and completed in the past. That’s usually an action, or event, which happened only once. For example:

Giulia, sei mai andata al mare in Italia?
Julia, have you ever gone to the beach in Italy?

Stamattina Marco è andato al bar a comprare le brioche.
This morning Marco went to the coffee shop to buy croissants.

Dove siete andate in vacanza tu e tua figlia quest’estate?
Where did you and your daughter go on vacation this summer?

Andare in Imperfetto 

io andavo I went/used to go
tu andavi you went/used to go
lui/lei andava he/she/it went/used to go
noi andavamo we went/used to go
voi andavate you went/used to go
loro andavano they went/used to go

Unlike passato prossimo, the imperfetto is used to talk about recurring or habitual actions of the past, or to describe something or someone of the past. You can even use this tense to describe what happened while another action was in progress.

For example:

Da bambina andavo sempre a giocare al parco.
As a child I always went to play at the park.

Bruno andava a casa di mia nonna dopo scuola.
Bruno used to go to my grandmother’s house after school.

Mentre andavo al supermercato, ho incontrato i miei colleghi.
While I was going to the supermarket, I met my colleagues.

Andare in Trapassato Prossimo

io ero andato / andata I had gone
tu eri andato / andata you had gone
lui/lei era andato / andata he/she/it had gone
noi eravamo andati / andate we had gone
voi eravate andati / andate you had gone
loro erano andati / andate they had gone

Trapassato prossimo is a compound tense used to describe an action which happened before another action happened in the past. Because of this, it’s rarely used by itself.

For example:

Erano già andati a casa, quando li hanno chiamati per tornare in ufficio.
They had already gone home when they called them to return to the office.

Non ero mai andata a teatro, prima di conoscerti.
I had never gone to the theatre, before I met you.

Andare in Passato Remoto 

io andai
tu andasti
lui/lei andò
noi andammo
voi andaste
loro andarono

Passato remoto is mostly used in formal written language, like school books or novels, when referring to an event happened in a distant past. Consequently, it’s barely used in spoken language (usually substituted by passato prossimo), so you just learn it in order to recognize it.

For example:

Nel 1777 LaFayette andò negli Stati Uniti.
In 1777 LaFayette went to the United States.

Andare in Trapassato Remoto

io fui andato/ andata
tu fosti andato/ andata
lui/lei fu andato/ andata
noi fummo andati/ andate
voi foste andati/ andate
loro furono andati/ andate

Trapassato remoto is used to talk about an action happened before another one in the past. Actually, you use it only if the other verb is conjugated in the passato remoto. For this reason, this is the less common tense in Italian.

Andare in Futuro Semplice

io andrò I will go
tu andrai you will go
lui/lei andrà he/she/it will go
noi andremo we will go
voi andrete you will go
loro andranno they will go

As you may notice, Italians tend to avoid using the future in favor of the present tense – if the context makes clear that you are talking about a future action. Nonetheless, you can use this tense also to talk about expectations, assumptions or uncertainty.

For example:

A settembre andremo/andiamo in vacanza in Sicilia.
In September we will go on vacation in Sicily.

Forse Lucia andrà a festeggiare dopo il suo diploma.
Maybe Lucia is going to celebrate after her diploma.

Andare in Futuro Anteriore

io  sarò andato / andata I will have gone
tu  sarai andato / andata you will have gone
lui/lei  sarà andato / lei sarà andata he/she/it will have gone
noi  saremo andati / andate we will have gone
voi  sarete andati / andate you will have gone
loro  saranno andati / andate they will have gone

The futuro anteriore is an uncommon tense, but you need it when you talk about a future action which will only occur after something else has happened. To clarify, the action that will take place first is in futuro anteriore, the one that follows in futuro semplice.

For example:

Ti inviterò a cena, appena i miei saranno andati in campagna.
I’ll invite you for dinner, as soon as my parents go to the countryside.

Andare Conjugation: Modo Congiuntivo

Secondly, there is the subjunctive mood, modo congiuntivo, of andare conjugation. This mood is used when you want to express doubts, opinions, wishes, hopes and hypotheses. It follows verbs that express these meanings (ex. volere, credere, sperare, pensare, etc.) or after certain conjunctions (ex. nonostante, benché, sebbene, a condizione che, etc.), and it rarely stands by itself. The congiuntivo has two simple and two compound tenses.

Here it is the modo congiuntivo of andare conjugation, ready?! Andiamo!

Andare in Congiuntivo Presente

(che) io  vada
(che) tu  vada
(che) lui/lei  vada
(che) noi  andiamo
(che) voi  andiate
(che) loro  vadano

For example:

Voglio che almeno oggi tu vada a casa presto.
I want that at least today you go home early.

Nonostante andiate sempre fuori a giocare, non siete mai stanchi.
Even if you always go out to play, you are never tired.

Andare in Congiuntivo Passato

(che) io  sia andato/andata
(che) tu  sia andato/andata
(che) lui/lei  sia andato/andata
(che) noi  siamo andati/andate
(che) voi  siate andati/andate
(che) loro  siano andati/andate

For example:

Tutti pensano che ieri siate andati a ballare.
Everyone thinks that you went dancing yesterday.

Andare in Congiuntivo Imperfetto 

(che) io  andassi
(che) tu  andassi
(che) lui/lei  andasse
(che) noi  andassimo
(che) voi  andaste
(che) loro  andassero

For example:

Temevo i tuoi amici non andassero più via.
I was afraid your friend would never leave.

Andare in Congiuntivo Trapassato

(che) io  fossi andato/andata
(che) tu  fossi andato/andata
(che) lui/lei   fosse andato/andata
(che) noi  fossimo andati/andate
(che) voi  foste andati/andate
(che) loro  fossero andati/andate

For example:

Non sapevate che fossimo andati a Cannes?
Didn’t you know that we went to Cannes?

Andare Conjugation – Modo Condizionale

Furthermore, another mood of andare conjugation is the condizionale . It is mostly used to form hypotheses in combination with the congiuntivo.

Andare in Condizionale Presente 

io  andrei 
tu  andresti
lui/lei  andrebbe
noi  andremmo
voi  andreste
loro  andrebbero

For example:

Andrei al mare tutti i giorni, se potessi.
I would go to the beach every day, if I could.

Andare in Condizionale Passato

io  sarei andato/andata
tu  saresti andato/andata
lui  sarebbe andato/andata
noi  saremmo andati/andate
voi  sareste andati/andate
loro  sarebbero andati/andate

For example:

Se avessi avuto più tempo, sarei andato anche al museo.
If I had had more time, I would have gone to the museum too.

Andare Conjugation – Imperativo

In this paragraph, you’ll learn the last finite mood of andare conjugation, the imperativo mood, which is mainly used to give orders. That’s why the first-person singular form doesn’t exist. 

va’/vai (tu)
vada (lui/lei)
andiamo (noi)
andate (voi)
vadano (loro)

For example:

Vai subito dentro casa!
Go inside the house right away!

Andare Conjugation –  Modi Indefiniti

Last but not least, here are the indefinite mood forms of the verb andare conjugation. They are impersonal and they only have two forms: present and past.

Andare in Infinito

Presente (Present tense) Passato (Past tense)
andare essere andato/andata/andati/andate

For example:

Dobbiamo andare a trovare i nonni.
We have to go visit the grandparents.

Andare in Participio

Presente (Present tense) Passato (Past tense)
andante andato/andata/andati /andate

As we mentioned in the passato prossimo paragraph, the past participle is used in compound tenses.

For example:

Sono andato in Italia l’anno scorso.
I went to Italy last year.

Andare in Gerundio

Presente (Present tense) Passato (Past tense)
andando essendo andato/andata/andati/andate

For example:

Andando in macchina, puoi fermarti quando vuoi.
Driving you can stop whenever you want.

And you are ready to go!

Vai a parlare in italiano! And tell everyone where you go, where you have gone and will go in Italy!


And, to conclude, if you want to practice Italian Grammar and tenses here is a list of useful books for you:


By: Lucia Aiello

Lucia Aiello is one of the co-founders of LearnItalianGo. Born and raised in Italy, she is a passionate Italian teacher and language enthusiast.

What is the Italian gerund?

Italian gerund is the Italian equivalent of English verbs that end in –ing. Some uses are similar to the English gerund, some are not. In this article we’ll learn how to conjugate it and everything you need to know to use the Italian gerund like a native speaker.

The Italian gerundio is a mood which is easy to recognize: it ends either with –ando or –endo

Before learning how to conjugate both regular and irregular verbs, let’s see some examples. The Italian Gerund is mostly used to express the idea of contemporaneity between two actions, or to form the present progressive:

Andando a lavoro, ho avuto un incidente con la macchina
While I was going to work, I had a car accident

Rientrando a casa, ho sentito puzza di fumo
While I was entering home, I smelled smoke

Che stai facendo? Sto studiando per l’esame
What are you doing? I’m studying for my exam

The Italian gerundio is an indefinite mode, meaning that it does not provide any indications on the subject (io, tu, loro…) of the action.

Italian Gerund

How to make the Italian gerund

There are two forms of gerundio: simple gerund and compound gerund. Sometimes they are also called present and past gerund. However, these two definitions can be tricky, as sometimes the so-called present gerund is used to talk about past sentences. For instance:

Andando all’aeroporto, mi accorsi che non avevo il passaporto
While going to the airport, I realized I didn’t have my passport

Let’s now see how simple and compound gerundio are formed in Italian.

Italian Gerund – Gerundio Presente

Forming the simple gerundio of regular Italian verbs is really easy: you just add the suffix –ando to the stem of -are verbs and the suffix –endo to the stem of –ere and –ire verbs:


  • andare (to go): andando
  • guardare (to look): guardando
  • cercare (to look for): cercando


  • vedere (to see): vedendo
  • avere (to have): avendo
  • leggere (to read): leggendo


  • dormire (to sleep): dormendo
  • partire (to leave): partendo
  • capire (to understand): capendo

For instance:

Ascoltando, forse capiresti i suoi bisogni
By listening, perhaps you’ll understand his needs

È dimagrita mangiando solo frutta e verdure
She lost weight by just eating fruit and vegetables

Crescendo, capirai cosa intendo
Growing up, you’ll understand what I mean


Italian Gerund – Irregular Verbs

Some irregular verbs do not follow this rule. You still have to add –ando or –endo, but the root of the verb will change.

Normally you add the conjugation suffix to the infinitive root of the verb, after removing –are, -ere or –ire, but with the verbs bere (to drink), fare (to do) and dire (to say) you will add the suffix to the first person singular in the Present indicative. For instance:

Verb (infinitive form) Present Indicative Simple Gerund
Bere Bevo Bevendo
Fare Faccio Facendo
Dire Dico Dicendo

Note that all the verbs related to fare, for instance disfare (to undo) and rifare (to do again) follow the same pattern as the source verb, so you’ll get rifacendo and disfacendo.

Rifacendo i conti, ho capito che avevo sbagliato
When doing the math again, I realized I did it wrong

Disfacendo la valigia, mi sono accorta di aver dimenticato lo spazzolino
While unpacking, I realized I forgot my toothbrush

Similarly, all the verbs related to dire will follow the same rule. For instance, disdire (to cancel) and contraddire (to contradict) will become disdicendo and contraddicendo.

Disdicendo all’ultimo minuto, non avrete indietro i soldi della prenotazione
By canceling at the last moment, you won’t have the reservation deposit returned

Cosa speri di ottenere, contraddicendo sempre l’insegnante?
What do you hope to obtain, by always contradicting the teacher?

Italian Gerund – Gerundio Passato

The compound tense is formed by the auxiliary verbs essere or avere conjugated in the Present Gerund + the past participle of the verb. For instance:

  • andare (to go): essendo andato
  • guardare (to look): avendo guardato
  • cercare (to look for): avendo cercato
  • vedere (to see): avendo visto
  • leggere (to read): avendo letto
  • dormire (to sleep): avendo dormito
  • partire (to leave): essendo partito
  • capire (to understand): avendo capito

Note that, with the auxiliary essere, the past participle must agree in gender and number with the subject of the verb, exactly like it happens for passato prossimo or any other compound verb.

Avendo visto quel film, conosceva già la trama
Having seen that movie, she already knew the plot

Essendo partiti all’improvviso, non hanno avuto tempo di salutare nessuno
Having left suddenly, they didn’t have the time to say goodbye to anyone

Avendo dormito fino a mezzogiorno, non ho sentito il telefono squillare
Having slept until noon, I didn’t hear the phone ringing

Italian Gerund - Gerundio

When to use the Italian gerund – 8 cases

Now that you know how to conjugate the gerundio, let’s see all the cases where it is used.

1. To indicate the way or method used to let something happened

È dimagrito facendo molto sport
He lost weight by doing a lot of sport

Lavorando sodo, ha ottenuto una promozione
Working hard (having worked hard), he got a promotion

2. To indicate the cause or reason why something happened

Non avendo contanti, ho pagato con la carta di credito
Not having cash (because I didn’t have cash), I paid by credit card

Essendo stata malata, non è andata a lavoro per una settimana
Being sick (since she was sick) she didn’t go to work for a week.

3. To express a condition

Studiando, si arriva lontano
By studying (If you study), you’ll go a long way

Ascoltando i miei consigli, otterrai quello che vuoi
By listening (If you listen) to my advices, you’ll get what you want

4. To express contemporaneity between two actions

Andando al supermercato, ho incontrato Marco
While going to the supermarket, I met Marco

Dicendo quelle parole, si rese conto che suonavano false
While saying those words, he realized they sounded fake

5. To express a concession

Pur non avendo fame, accettai di cenare con lei
Although I was not hungry, I accepted to have dinner with her

Pur avendo sbagliato, non vuole riconoscere l’errore
Despite having made a mistake, he doesn’t want to admit it

Pur essendo stanco, devo finire di studiare
Despite being tired, I need to finish studying

In this case, you need to add “pur” (despite, although) in front of the gerund.

As you may have noticed, in all the sentences above the subject in the main clause and in the subordinate clause is always the same person.  In fact, when there are different subjects, Italian speakers do not use gerundio. For instance:

Mentre andavo al supermercato, Luca mi ha chiamata sul cellulare
While I was going to the supermarket, Luca gave me a phone call

6. Italian Gerund – Present Progressive

Like the English Present Continuous, the Present Progressive is used to talk about an action happening at the same time we are speaking.

In combination with the verb stare (to stay), that works as an auxiliary, the simple gerund can express the progression of an action in the same moment it is happening.

Here’s how to form the present progressive with stare:

Subject STARE
(to stay)
Indicative Present
Io sto

andando (to go) -ARE

leggendo (to read) -ERE

dormendo (to sleep) -IRE

Tu stai
Lui/lei sta
Noi stiamo
Voi state
Loro stanno

Che stai facendo? Sto cenando
What are you doing? I’m having dinner

Maria sta dormendo
Maria is sleeping

Il treno sta partendo, se non corriamo lo perderemo
The train is leaving, if we don’t run, we’ll miss it

Che stai leggendo ultimamente?
What are you reading, lately?

Non sento cosa stai dicendo, la musica è troppo alta
I can’t hear what you’re saying, the music is too loud


7. Italian Gerund – Past Progressive

You can use the verb stare in the Indicative present tense, to express that something is happening in the moment when you are speaking.

However, you can also use stare in the Indicative Imperfect tense, to form the Past Progressive and talk about an action that was going on in the past.

(to stay)
Indicative Imperfect

Io stavo andando (to go) -ARE


leggendo (to read) -ERE

dormendo (to sleep) -IRE

Tu stavi
Lui/lei stava
Noi stavamo
Voi stavate
Loro stavano

Che stavi facendo ieri pomeriggio? Ti ho chiamato ma non mi hai risposto
What were you doing yesterday afternoon? I called you but you didn’t answer

Stavo dormendo, quando ha squillato il telefono
I was sleeping when the phone rang

Il cane stava passeggiando nel parco
The dog was strolling around the park

Stavate vedendo un film?
Were you watching a movie?

Quando sono tornata a casa ieri, i bambini stavano litigando di nuovo
When I came back home yesterday, the children were fighting again


The Past Progressive is used to express an action in progress in the past. In this case, you can use both the Imperfect Indicative or the construction stare + Gerund:

Mentre stavo studiando, Luca stava dormendo
Mentre studiavo, Luca dormiva
While I was studying, Luca was sleeping

Note that when you use stare + Simple Gerund (both in the present or imperfect progressive) the subjects in the main and subordinate clause can be different. For instance:

Io stavo uscendo e tu stavi entrando
I was going out and you were coming in

Stavo andando a lavoro quando Francesca mi ha telefonato
I was going to work when Francesca called me

Mio fratello sta studiando e io sto guardando la tv
My brother is studying and I am watching TV

8. The verb Andare + Gerund

There is another use of the gerund: together with the verb andare(to go), it is used to express a progressive action, which develops during a period of time. Let’s make some examples to clarify it:

Il rumore andava crescendo mentre mi avvicinavo all’appartamento dei vicini
The noise became louder and louder as I was approaching my neighbors’ apartment

Luca va raccontando a tutti storie inventate
Luca is (going around) telling invented stories to everybody

Andare + gerundio is used to express an action happening in an indefinite time: it started sometime in the past, it’s still going on and will probably continue in the future.

What is the difference between andare + gerund and stare + gerund?

With andare, the action is incremental during time. Also, stare can be used as an auxiliary for all action verbs, while andare can only accompany few of them, for instance: dire (to say), raccontare (to tell), crescere (to grow), diffondere (to spread).

  • Durante l’incendio, il fumo si andava diffondendo ovunque
    During the fire, the smoke was spreading everywhere 
  • Ma che vai dicendo!
    What the heck are you saying (going around and saying)!
(to stay)
Indicative present
Io vado

raccontando (to read) -ARE

crescendo (to grow) -ERE

dicendo (to say) -IRE

Tu vai
Lui/lei va
Noi andiamo
Voi andate
Loro vanno
(to stay)
Indicative present
Io andavo

raccontando (to read) -ARE

crescendo (to grow) -ERE

dicendo (to say) -IRE

Tu andavi
Lui/lei andava
Noi andavamo
Voi andavate
Loro andavano

When not to use the Italian gerund: differences with English

In Italian, gerundio is used differently from English. For instance, in English the -ing form can follow other verbs other than stare or andare as we saw; however, the Italian gerundio has no such use.

  • He started shouting – Ha iniziato a gridare
  • She quit smoking – Ha smesso di fumare
  • I love eating pizza – Amo mangiare la pizza

When English uses the -ing form, Italian replaces it with a construction made with the verb + preposition (if needed) + the infinitive verb.

Future Actions

Do not use the Italian gerund to express a future planned action like in English. For instance:

Andrò in Italia l’anno prossimo!
I’m going to Italy next year

Faccio una passeggiata questo pomeriggio
I’m taking a walk this afternoon

As you can see in Italian you will have to use the future tense or the present tense if it’s made clear that the action is referring to the future.

To be + verb in the -ing

Another example is the English construction to be + verb in the -ing form. For instance: to be sitting, to be lying. In these cases, The Italian uses the infinitive of the auxiliary + the past participle of the verb:

  • To be sitting – Essere seduto
  • To be lying – Essere disteso

Habitual actions in the past

Please note that the Imperfect Progressive cannot be used to express habitual actions in the past, like you would do with the Imperfect Indicative. If you want to talk about something that happened in the past on a regular basis or talk about a habit, you must use the Indicative Imperfect tense.

Da piccolo andavo a scuola in bicicletta
When I was young, I used to go to school by bike

Quando vivevo a Parigi, vedevo la Tour Eiffel ogni giorno
When I was living in Paris, I used to see the Tour Eiffel every day

Italian gerund and pronouns: where to put them

When there is a pronoun, for instance in case of reflexive or pronominal verbs, or if there are direct objects or indirect objects pronouns, you simply put them at the end of the gerund verb, like this:

Pettinandomi i capelli, ne ho trovato uno grigio
While combing my hair, I found a grey one

Avendoli visti cantare, posso dire che sono davvero bravi
Having seen them singing, I can say they’re really good.

Portandogli il caffè, sono caduta
While bringing him coffee, I fell down

When stare is used as an auxiliary, the pronouns precede the auxiliary. For instance:

  • Gli sto portando il caffè  – I’m bringing him coffee
  • Li sto vedendo cantare – I’m watching them singing
  • Mi sto pettinando i capelli – I’m combing my hair


Congratulations! You’ve come at the end of this long guide and so far you have everything you need to start using the Italian gerundio confidently.

Happy studying!


By: Lucia Aiello

Lucia Aiello is one of the co-founders of LearnItalianGo. Born and raised in Italy, she is a passionate Italian teacher and language enthusiast.

Italian Indefinite articles – When to use them

Italian indefinite articles are un, uno, una, un’ and they translate the English indefinite articles a/an. They find their position before the noun to specify an uncountable noun.

Generally, they are used before names of professions, common names or surnames referring to a work of art.

See the examples below:

L’anno scorso ho comprato una macchina nuova.
Last year I bought a new car.

Il Signor Martini è un insegnante di tedesco.
Mr Martini is a German teacher.

Riconoscerei un Van Gogh ad un miglio di distanza!
I would be able to recognise a Van Gogh (painting) from a mile away!


Italian Indefinite articles: Un, uno, una or un’?

The use of Italian indefinite articles  depends on the gender of the noun that follows. The only difference is that Italian indefinite articles does not present a plural form, although you could make it in different ways. One of the possible options is using partitive articles we are going to see later in this page.

Unlike the English forms a and an, in Italian there are 4 indefinite articles: un, uno (for masculine nouns), una, un’ (for feminine nouns).

Do you have problems understanding which noun is masculine or feminine?

Here is a little trick for you. If a word ends with –o, very probably it is a masculine noun. On the contrary, if a word ends with –a, you will be quite sure it is a feminine noun.

However, there are some words ending with the vowel -e that could be masculine or feminine. For example the word fiore (flower) is a masculine noun in Italian, while decisione (decision) is feminine.

If you want to be extremely sure, you could check out any Italian dictionary (for example the Italian online dictionary, Treccani) where the gender is always indicated next to the noun in the form of “s.f.” for feminine singular nouns and “s.m.” for masculine singular nouns.



It is used with masculine singular nouns starting with a vowel or a consonant.

Ho sentito alla radio che stamattina è precipitato un aereo sulle Ande.
I heard on the radio that this morning a plane crashed in the Andes.

L’altro giorno ho dato da mangiare ad uno scoiattolo che gironzolava a Central Park.
The other day I fed a squirrel wandering around Central Park.


It is used with masculine singular nouns beginning with s + another consonant, gn, z, ps, pn, y and x.
See the examples below:

Se credi davvero di essere uno studente modello, allora sei completamente fuori strada!
If you really think you are a straight-A student, then you are sorely mislead!

Non pensi che dovremmo regalarle per il suo compleanno uno gnomo da giardino?
Don’t you think we should give her a garden gnome for her birthday?

Dicono di aver trovato questa mattina uno zaino in aula magna.
They say they found a bag in the auditorium.

Nel caso ti sentissi depresso, ti consiglio di prendere un appuntamento con uno psicologo.
In case you are feeling depressed, I suggest you to make an appointment with a psychologist.

Se non riesci a respirare bene, faresti meglio a vedere uno pneumologo.
If you can’t breathe properly, you had better see a pulmonologist.

Ho sentito che il padre di Justin ha comprato uno yacht dal valore di 700 mila euro!
I heard that Justin’s father spent 700 thousand dollars to buy a luxury yacht!

Non ho mai suonato uno xilofono in vita mia!
I have never played a xylophone in my entire life!


It is used with feminine singular nouns starting with a consonant.

Per il compito di inglese hai bisogno soltanto di una penna e di un foglio.
For the English test all you need is a pen and a sheet of paper.

Janet è una ragazza davvero intelligente. Non le si può nascondere nulla!
Janet is a really smart girl. You can’t hide anything from her!


It is used with feminine singular nouns starting with a vowel.

Ti aspetto da più di un’ora. Ma dove sei finito?
I have been waiting for you over an hour. Where did you go?

Cosa vuoi per pranzo? Un’insalata o una zuppa di cipolle?
What do you want for lunch? A salad or a onion soup?

Italian indefinite articles with adjectives

Remember that a noun can change its indefinite article if preceded by an adjective:

Un lavoro – Uno splendido lavoro
A job – A great job

Una fidanzata – Un’adorabile fidanzata
A girlfriend – A lovely girlfriend

Uno scoiattolo – un buffo scoiattolo
A squirrel – A funny squirrel

In the Italian language, adjectives are mostly placed after noun. In literature you might bump into this uncommon linguistic choice:

Un’idea – una geniale idea
An idea – a brilliant idea

When not to use Italian indefinite articles – 5 cases

There are some cases where the use of indefinite articles is required in English but not in Italian. Let’s see together when not to use Italian indefinite articles.

1. With the words cento and mille

Ti ho detto cento volte di non sbattere la porta quando esci.
I told you a hundred times not to slam the door when you leave.

Il mese scorso gli ho prestato mille euro ma ancora non me li ha restituiti.
Last month I lent him a thousand euros but he didn’t give them back to me yet.

2. With the indefinite adjectives qualche and molti

Probabilmente la sorella di Jake è andata via qualche ora fa.
Probably Jake’s sister went way a few hours ago.

Si sono conosciuti molti anni fa all’università.
They met a lot of years ago at the university.

3. With exclamations starting with che

Che gioia rivederti dopo tanto tempo!
What a joy to see you after a long time!

Che peccato non poter venire al concerto stasera con voi!
What a pity I can’t come to the concert with you tonight!

Signora Wiggins, che piacere rivederla dopo tutti questi anni!
Mrs Wiggins, what a pleasure to see you again after all these years!

4. When you talk about your job or someone else’s

Credo che il padre di Gaia sia idraulico.
I think Gaia’s father is a plumber.

Il nostro migliore amico è dottore all’ospedale psichiatrico.
Our best friend is a doctor at the mental institution.

E’ diventato ingegnere l’anno scorso quando si è laureato.
He became an engineer last year when he graduated.

5. When you talk about your job or someone else’s using the Italian verb fare

In this case you need to use the Italian definite article.

Faccio il cameriere per aiutare economicamente i miei genitori.
I’m a waiter in order to support my parents financially.

Fa lo scrittore perché il suo sogno è quello di pubblicare un giorno un libro.
He’s a writer because he dreams of publishing a book someday.

Vorrebbe fare la cantante perché dice di cantare come Madonna.
She would like to be a singer because she says she sings like Madonna.

As you can see, in this case the Italian verb fare is translated in English with the verb to be

Differences between uno as indefinite article and uno as number

A very common mistake that a foreign learner could make is confusing the Italian indefinite article uno with the number uno.

To be clear, uno as indefinite article refers to a generic and uncountable noun, while uno as number indicates the quantity of a noun in a given context. With the following examples you will be able to understand where the difference is:

Di quanti carciofi hai bisogno per la minestra? Uno o due?
How many artichokes do you need for the soup? One or two?

Ho comprato tanti meloni oggi al mercato. Ne vuoi uno?
I bought a lot of watermelons at the market today. Do you want one?

Ho dimenticato di comprare i pompelmi. Ne è rimasto solo uno, giusto?
I forgot to buy grapefruits. There is only one left, right?

Non ho mai capito cosa faccia esattamente uno speleologo.
I never understood what a speleologist exactly does.

Ma davvero sei riuscito a catturare uno scorfano? È quasi impossibile!
Have you really caught a scorpionfish? It is almost impossible!

Che ne dici di uno sformato di zucchine per pranzo? Ti piace?
What about a zucchini pie for lunch? Do you like it?



Plural forms of Italian indefinite articles 

There are different ways to make the plural form of Italian indefinite articles in order to say some or any.

The first one is the deletion of the indefinite article itself in the following situations:

In negative sentences and questions where the English quantifier any is used

Dice di non aver fatto errori nella sua vita. Naturalmente non gli crede nessuno!
He says he didn’t make any mistakes in his entire life. Obviously nobody believes him!

Non ho guanti per pulire la cucina. Come posso fare?
I haven’t got any kitchen cleaning gloves. What can I do?

Non ci sono biscotti nella credenza perché li hai mangiati tutti ieri.
There aren’t any biscuits in the cupboard because you ate them all yesterday.

Hai mai avuto problemi con la legge? Spero davvero di no!
Have you ever had any brushes with the law? I really hope not!

Ma perché ci sono elicotteri nel cielo stamattina? È successo qualcosa?
Why are there any helicopters in the sky this morning? Did anything happen?

Vendete anche vinili in questo negozio?
Do you sell any records in this shop, too?

In lists

Per la festa di Lucy devi comprare patatine, noccioline e olive.
For Lucy’s party you have to buy chips, peanuts and olives.

In questo centro commerciale puoi trovare camicie, gonne e felpe a metà prezzo.
In this shopping centre you can find shirts, skirts and sweaters at half price.

Qui si vendono giornali, riviste e fumetti.
Here we sell newspapers, magazines and comics.

When specific details are not given

In un paesino come questo ci saranno cose da vedere, non credi?
Will there be things to see in a small town like this, won’t there?

Hanno avuto davvero problemi a trovare parcheggio? Strano!
Did they really have problems to park? Weird!

A causa dell’emergenza sanitaria, è severamente vietato frequentare luoghi di cultura e aggregazione sociale.
Due to the health emergency, it is strictly forbidden to visit places of culture and social gathering.

Use of the Italian indefinite adjectives alcuni/e and certi/e

In order to say ”some” in Italian you can use the Italian indefinite adjectives:

  • alcuni  or certi for masculine nouns
  • alcune or certe for feminine nouns

Alcune persone dovrebbero tacere anziché parlare a vanvera.
Some people should be quiet instead of talking nonsense.

Purtroppo alcuni miei parenti non verranno alla festa di laurea di mia sorella.
Unfortunately some relatives of mine won’t come to my sister’s graduation party.

Si ricordi che l’offerta è disponibile sono in certi giorni!
Remember that this offer is only available on certain days!

In certe situazioni le donne sanno essere più furbe degli uomini.
In certain situations women can be smarter than men.

Use of Italian partitive articles

In order to make partitive articles, you need to combine the Italian preposition di with Italian definite articles.Followed by an indefinite noun, they are mostly translated as some and any in English.

The following table shows the combination of the preposition di with definite articles:

  Masculine Feminine
Singular Del (Di + il)


Dello (Di + Lo)

Dell’ (Di + L’)

Della (Di + La)


Dell’ (Di + L’)

Plural Dei (Di + i)


Degli (Di + Gli)

Delle (Di + Le)

Devo farti assaggiare dei buoni cioccolatini che mi hanno regalato a Pasqua.
I have to let you taste some delicious chocolates they gave me on Easter.

Degli uccelli sono riusciti ad entrare in casa mia.
Some birds managed to enter my home.

Compreresti delle pizze per tutti noi, per cortesia?
Would you buy any pizzas for all of us, please?

Remember that it is easy to mistake a partitive article with an articulated preposition!

See the difference:

Ho incontrato delle ragazze davvero simpatiche.
I met some really nice girls.

In passato la vita delle ragazze sicuramente era più difficile rispetto ad oggi.
In the past girls’ life was definitely harder than nowadays.


As we have seen until now, using Italian indefinite articles is quite simple, don’t you think? Maybe you could run into problems like recognizing if a noun is feminine or masculine, remembering the main ways of making the plural form or combining a preposition with a definite article… Not easy, nor impossible! What you might do is starting from the given examples and then getting to the grammar. This could be really useful!

A secret to learn them quickly? Listen to some Italian songs and notice how the Italian indefinite articles are used!

And if you want to learn more about Italian Grammar, here there are useful books I suggest you to read:

By: Alfonso Di Somma

Born and raised in Italy, he is an Italian professional translator and a tireless traveler. His main passion? Foreign languages!

What is the Italian Imperative?

The Italian Imperative, or Imperativo, is the grammatical mood used to give an order, instructions or advice in Italian. At the same time it scolds, suggests and implores someone to do something.

As you can see from the examples below, the Italian imperative has the same use as the English imperative .

Chiudi la porta, per piacere!
Close the door, please!

Let’s start a new game!
Incominciamo un nuovo gioco!

Faccia con calma, signore!
Take your time, sir!

How to use the Italian imperative

The Italian Imperative is easy to form and widely used in the Italian language.

For its construction, you must pay attention to three main aspects:

  • person or people you are talking to =  tu, noi, voi, lei, loro
  • the social context = formal (lei, loro) or informal (tu, voi, noi)
  • the type of statement = negative (non) or affirmative

The Italian imperativo has only the present tense. However, there are three informal persons (Tu, Voi and Noi) and two formal persons (Lei and Loro), whose use varies according to the context.  The subjects are not specified, so you need to know the final endings  for each person.

The Italian imperative at the first plural person (noi), translates the English construction “let us (or let’s) + infinitive verb”.

Italian imperative – how to tell someone to do something informally

We use an informal imperative when we are addressing to someone we know very well.

To make the Italian Imperative of the regular verbs, you have to add the different endings of –are, –ere, –ire verbs to the verb steam. In most cases the verb is the same as the present indicative.


The imperative forms for verbs ending on –are in the infinitive  are -a (tu), –iamo (noi with let’s) and -ate (voi).

An example is the verb parl-are to talk.

Parl-a (tu)! Talk!
Parl-ate (voi)! Talk!
Parl-iamo (noi)! Let’s talk!


The imperative forms for -ere verbs are -i (tu), -iamo (noi) and -ete (voi). An example is the verb rid-ereto laugh.

Rid-i (tu)! Laugh!
Rid-ete (voi)! Laugh!
Rid-iamo (noi)! Let’s laugh!


The imperative form for -ire verbs (sent-ireto listen, part-ire to leave, dorm-ireto sleep) has the following endings:

Sent-i (tu)! Listen!
Part-ite (voi)! Leave!
Dorm-iamo (noi)! Let’s sleep!

Some -ire verbs have the endigs -isci (tu), -iamo (noi), -ite (voi). An example is the verb pul-ireto clean.

Pul-isci (tu)! Clean!
Pul-ite (voi)! Clean!
Pul-iamo (noi)! Let’s clean!


italian imperative

Italian imperative – how to speak formally

When you are speaking to someone you don’t know well or you want to be polite to, you use the formal imperative, specifically the third feminine singular person Lei and the third person plural Loro.

The polite form with loro is extremely rare in the Italian language.
However, you can make it by using the voi form of the direct imperative and the polite words per piacere, per favore and per cortesia (translated in English as “please”) that you find also in informal contexts.

Unlike Loro, the personal pronoun Lei is much more common. Waiters, cashiers, salespersons in stores or people who don’t know you would use the polite form:

Provi questo vestito! – Try this dress on
Prenda pure un limoncello! Lo offre la casa. – Take a limoncello! It’s on us.
Mi scusi, posso aiutarla? – Excuse me, can I help you?

To make the formal imperative, you need to use the present tense of the Italian Congiuntivo and the equivalent endings of the –are, –ere, –ire verbs. Here is the conjugation of the verb sent-ireto listen:

Sent-a (Lei)! (Please) listen!
Sent-ano (Loro)! (Please) listen!

The negative imperative – how to tell someone not to do something

When you are suggesting someone NOT to do something wrong, you can use the negative imperative.

To create the negative imperative, you always put the word non before the verb which is in the infinitive at the second singular person, while in the standard forms of imperative at the other persons.

Here is the conjugation of the verb tocc-are, – to touch:

Non tocc-are (tu)! Don’t touch!
Non tocc-ate (voi) Don’t touch!
Non tocch-iamo (noi)! Don’t touch!
Non tocch-i (Lei)! Please, don’t touch!
Non tocch-ino (Loro)! Please, don’t touch!

In case of negative imperative, pronouns can be placed before or after the verb (always before the verb for Lei and Loro forms). If you decide to put them after the verb, remember that the final –e of the infinitive drops at the second singular person.

Non raccontarle niente! / Non le raccontare niente!
Don’t tell her anything!

Non bruciateli! / Non li bruciate!
Don’t burn them!

Non farglielo sapere! / Non glielo far sapere!
Don’t let her know that!

Italian imperative with reflexive verbs

You make the Italian imperative of reflexive verbs by adding the reflexive pronouns to the conjugated verb. Examples are verbs like lavar-sito wash oneself, divertir-sito enjoy oneself, servir-sito help oneself.

Lava-ti (tu)! Wash yourself!
Divertite-vi (voi)! Enjoy yourselves!
Servi-ti pure (tu)! Help yourself!

Remember that in the formal imperative of reflexive verbs the reflexive pronouns come before the conjugated verb!

Si lav-i (Lei)! wash yourself!
Si lav-ino (Loro)! wash yourselves!


With the reflexive verbs the position of grammatical elements in the sentence changes only when the formal pronouns Lei and Loro occur. In the negative imperative, the reflexive pronoun is placed between the non and the conjugated verb. Here is the conjugation of the reflexive verb preoccupar-si to worry:

Non preoccupar-ti (tu)! Don’t worry!
Non preoccupate-vi (voi)! Don’t worry!
Non preoccupiamo-ci (noi)! Let’s not worry!
Non si preoccup-i (Lei)! Please, don’t worry!
Non si preoccup-ino (Loro) Please, don’t worry!

Italian Imperative with direct and indirect object pronouns

The position of direct and indirect object pronouns can be different according to the person we are referring to. For tu and voi forms, the pronoun goes after the imperative verb, joining with it to become a single word.

Ascoltami e taci! – Listen to me and shut up!
Guardatelo! È davvero uno sciocco! – Look at him! He is really silly!

Instead, for Lei and Loro forms the pronoun comes before the verb.

Mi faccia capire, per cortesia! – Let me understand, please!
Mi diano più tempo le signore e i signori qui presenti! – Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, give me please more time!

When the imperative verb has one syllable at the second singular person, the pronouns mi, ti, lo, ci double, becoming respectively -mmi, –tti, llo and -cci.

Dammi la penna, per piacere! – Give me the pen, please!
Fatti gli affari tuoi
! –Think of your business!
Dacci una mano, pigrone! – Give us a hand, lazybones!

Fun fact: do you know there is a famous Italian song by a well-known Italian singer where you can hear sentences in the imperative? Here it is:

It is the Italian song “Fatti mandare dalla mamma” by Gianni Morandi, where you listen:

Fatti mandare dalla mamma a prendere il latte! – Get your mummy to send you to buy some milk!
Digli a quel coso che sono geloso! – Tell that dude that I’m jealous!


Italian imperative with double pronouns

Pronouns like mi, ti, ci and vi become me-, te-, ce– and ve– when followed by other pronouns. Instead, gli combined with le becomes glie

Restituiscimelo! – Give it back to me!
Fattelo da sola! – Do it by yourself!
Le chiavi! Diamogliele subito! – The keys! Let’s give them to him now!

Remember that in the Italian language the indirect object pronoun always comes first!

How to smooth the Italian imperative

As we said before, the Italian Imperative is widely used, both in the written and in the spoken language, because it allows you to make a request fast, briefly and clearly. However, it happens that it is too much authoritative and inappropriate in some social situations.

For this reason, it is useful “to smooth it” using more suitable forms, such as the present tense of the Italian Condizionale, combined with polite expressions like per cortesia, per piacere (both translated as please), se non disturbo, se non ti dispiace (in English if I am not disturbing, If you don’t mind), ti prego (i.e. please). The use of could, should and would like make you even more polite!

Chiudi la finestra!Close the window!
More polite: Potresti chiudere la finestra, per piacere?Could you please close the window?

Dammi quel libro!Give me that book!
More polite: Mi daresti quel libro, se non ti dispiace?If you don’t mind, would you please give me that book?

Cerca di rimanere concentrato!Try to stay focused!
More polite: Dovresti cercare di rimanere concentratoYou should try to stay focused.

Italian Imperative – irregular verbs

Now you can see the conjugation of the most used irregular verbs in the Italian imperative:

Essere To be
Sii (tu)! Be!
Siate (voi)! Be!
Siamo (noi)! Let’s be!
Sia (Lei)! Please, be!
Siano (Loro)! Please, be!
Avere To have
Abbi (tu)! Have!
Abbiate (voi)! Have!
Abbiamo (noi)! Let’s have!
Abbia (Lei)! Please, have!
Abbiano (Loro) Please, have!
Stare To stay
Stai or Sta’ (tu)! Stay!
State (voi)! Stay!
Stiamo (noi)! Let’s stay!
Stia (Lei)! Please, stay!
Stiano (Loro) Please, stay!
Dare To give
Dai or Da’ (tu)! Give!
Date (voi)! Give!
Diamo (noi) Let’s give!
Dia (Lei)! Please, give!
Diano (Loro)! Please, give!
Andare To go
Vai or Va’ (tu)! Go!
Andate (voi)! Go!
Andiamo (noi)! Let’s go!
Vada (Lei)! Please, go!
Vadano (Loro)! Please, go!
Fare To do
Fai or Fa’ (tu)! Do!
Fate (voi)! Do!
Facciamo (noi)! Let’s do!
Faccia (Lei)! Please, do!
Facciano (Loro)! Please, do!
Dire To say
Dì (tu)! Say!
Dite (voi)! Say!
Diciamo (noi)! Let’s say!
Dica (Lei) Please, say!
Dicano (Loro) Please, say!


Four idioms in the Italian Imperative you need to know

Here are 4 idioms in the Italian Imperative that you can use if you are angry with someone:

Italian English Meaning
Falla finita! Get it over with! Used when you want someone to stop talking or doing something which need not to be explained, because already clear
Falla corta! Make it quick! Used when you want someone to hurry up and stop talking as soon as possible because what he is saying is not interesting or useless
Fallo e basta! Just do it! Used when you want someone to stop procrastinating and wasting time in order to do what he was asked to do.
Fallo nero! Take him down! Literally “make it black”, because it refers to black bruises, occurring after a physical fight with someone. This idiom is used when you want to achieve victory or success at the cost of other people’s wellness.

Remember that these expressions can be used exclusively in an informal context and in particular situations, if strictly necessary. Pay attention when you use them!


As you saw, there are many ways to make and use the Italian Imperative.

Until now you learned how to tell someone to do or not to do something, how to speak formally using some particular expressions to be kinder and when to choose other linguistic forms to make a request in order to appear less “aggressive” and much sweeter.

However, it can happen you will not be able to guess immediately which solution is better than another. Probably some exceptions could even mislead you!  But non mollare! (don’t give up!) and keep on doing a lot of exercises until you master it!

And if you want to learn more about Italian Grammar, here there are useful books I suggest you to read: