What Is The Periodo Ipotetico In Italian?

The periodo ipotetico in Italian is the conditional sentence used to make hypothesis about the past, present, future or to predict the consequences of an action.
There are three types of conditional clauses, which are used to express certain hypothesis, possible hypothesis or impossible hypothesis. Let’s see some examples:

1. Real, certain hypothesis
Se costa troppo non lo compro. 

If it’s too expensive, I will not buy it.

2. Possible hypothesis
Se avessi i soldi, viaggerei più spesso.
If I had the money, I would travel more.

3. Impossibile hypothesis
Se avessi studiato, avresti passato l’esame.

If you had studied, you would have passed the test.

The difference among these sentences is the tense used, which defines the condition of reality (certainty), possibility or impossibility.

The periodo ipotetico Italian is a structure which is always formed by a main clause and a subordinate clause and is the equivalent of the English “If sentences”.

A conditional sentence contains both a hypothesis, introduced by the preposition se (if), and a statement of consequence.

Now let’s have a look at how to construct the three of them and which tense to use in each situation.

Periodo Ipotetico Italian – Certain Hypothesis

Before seeing how to construct the conditional clause for certain hypothesis, let’s see how to distinguish the subordinate from the main clause. The sentence introduced by “se” (if) is the subordinate clause, while the other is the main clause.


Se non piove (Subordinate), uscirò (Main).
If it doesn’t rain (Subordinate), I will go out (Main).

This type of conditional clause is called in Italian: “periodo ipotetico della realtà” (conditional clause of reality) and is used when we are certain (or quite certain) of the consequences of an action or fact.

  • Se vieni con me, ti divertirai
    If you come with me, you’ll have fun
  • Se non capisci, te lo spiego di nuovo
    If you don’t understand, I will explain it again

The basic rule for conditional clauses is that the tenses in the two sentences must be conjugated according to the type of conditional used (reality, possibility or unreality). The conditional clause for reality expresses a situation that can happen for sure in the present or in the future.





Present time Indicative mood –
Present Simple
Se hai bisogno,
If you need help,
Indicative mood –
Present Simple
call me
Future time Present Simple
Se non ti sbrighi,
If you don’t hurry
Future Simple
faremo tardi
we’ll be late
Future time Future Simple
Se non pioverà,
If it will not rain
Future Simple
we will go out

This 1st Conditional is used to discuss something which is happening in the present or will take place very soon in the future. As you can see, there are three possibilities:

  1. Present Simple (Indicative mood) + Present Simple (Indicative mood)
  2. Present Simple (Indicative mood) + Future Simple (Indicative mood)
  3. Future Simple (Indicative mood) + Future Simple (Indicative mood)

The important thing to remember is that this 1st Conditional is always used to talk about something that will surely happen, or that has a high chance of happening. There is also a fourth case, where Imperative mood is used in the main clause:

  • Se vuoi avere successo, fa’ come ti dico
    If you want to be successful, do as I say
  • Se ti senti solo, chiamami!
    If you feel lonely, call me!

Periodo Ipotetico Italian – Possible Hypothesis

The second conditional is the one used to express a possible hypothesis, something that could happen in the future, but might as well not happen.

In the case of a possible hypothesis, we use the imperfect subjunctive in the clause expressing the condition (subordinate clause), and the present conditional in the clause expressing the consequence (main clause):

  • Se fossi ricco, comprerei una casa a New York
    If I was rich, I’d buy a house in New York
  • Se ci fosse il sole, andrei al parco
    If it was sunny, I would go to the park

This type of conditional is called periodo ipotetico della possibilità (conditional clause of possibility), because it presents situations which are unreal at present, but could possibly happen, even if it’s unlikely. For this reason, the mood used is the subjunctive + conditional tenses.

If you studied the subjunctive and conditional mood you already know that these are the ones used to talk about possibilities and uncertain situations. The imperfect subjunctive is used to formulate a hypothesis, while the conditional present expresses the possible outcome.

  • Se facessi sport, non ti ammaleresti così spesso
    If you did some sport, you wouldn’t be sick so often
  • Se avessi delle uova, farei una torta
    If I had some eggs, I would bake a cake

In few cases, however, you can find that this 2nd conditional may use the imperfect subjunctive + indicative future simple. This happens when you want to talk about a possible, but future hypothesis. The indicative Future is used in the main clause:

  • Se domani il tempo dovesse essere brutto, resteremo a casa
    If tomorrow the weather is bad, we will stay at home
    If the weather has to be bad, we will stay at home (literally)
  • Se dovesse venire, lo accoglieremo calorosamente
    If he has to come (if he happens to come), we will welcome him warmly

In the subordinate clause, the possibility of the hypothesis is signaled by the modal verb dovere (to have to), conjugated in the Imperfect Subjunctive. Here, dovere has a different use than in English, so don’t worry too much if you think it sounds weird, as this form is not very common in spoken language.





Present time Imperfect Subjunctive
Se potessi,
If I could
Conditional Present
verrei a trovarti
I would come visit you
Future time Imperfect Subjunctive
Se dovessi ammalarmi

If I’ll get sick (If I have to get sick)
Future Simple (Indicative)
andrò dal medico
I’ll go see a doctor

Periodo Ipotetico Italian – Impossible Hypothesis

When there is the impossibility for a certain condition to happen, the third type of hypothetical sentence must be used. This is called the periodo ipotetico dell’irrealtà, (unreal conditional clause). It is used to express the impossibility of something, because we already know it didn’t happen (and there’s no chance to go back in time and change it) or because the circumstances are impossible. For instance:

  • Se fossi nato in Italia, parlerei italiano
    If I was born in Italy, I would speak Italian
  • Se fossi uscito in tempo, non avresti fatto tardi
    If you had left on time, you wouldn’t have been late

The impossible hypothesis in the past is created by using the pluperfect or imperfect subjunctive in the subordinate clause and with the conditional present or past in the main clause. When forming this conditional always remember that the action that you’re talking about is impossible, and there’s no way that it can happen.

The 3rd type conditional can also be used to express regret:

  • Se solo avessi studiato di più, ora sarei un avvocato famoso
    If only I had studied more, I would now be a famous lawyer

It’s important to remember that the assumption that we make with the 3rd conditional will never have a chance to happen. The subordinate clause introduced by “se” can indicate both a present or past situation:

  • Se fossi un animale, quale vorresti essere?
    If you were an animal, which one would you be?

In this case we are referring to a present situation, because we are asking something to someone in the present. Therefore, in this particular case, we use the imperfect subjunctive in the subordinate clause, and the conditional present in the main sentence.

  • Se avessi avuto i soldi, sarei andato in vacanza
    If I have had the money, I would have gone on holidays

This second situation, however, is set in the past, so we use the pluperfect subjunctive in the subordinate and the conditional past in the main clause.





Present time Imperfect Subjunctive
Se fossi un astronauta,
If I was an astronaut
Conditional Present
andrei sulla Luna
I would go to the Moon
Past time Pluperfect Subjunctive
Se avessi corso,

If I had run,
Conditional Past
avrei raggiunto l’autobus

I would have caught the bus

Common Mistakes

The periodo ipotetico in Italian is a sentence used to express a condition and a consequence. It’s not easy to immediately understand and use it, so you might want to be aware of two common mistakes people often make (even natives!) The first mistake is to use the conditional present tense both in the subordinate clause and in the main clause:

  • Se potrei, verrei
    If I could, I woud come

You should instead use the subjunctive present in the subordinate clause:

  • Se potessi, verrei

This sentence expresses a possibility, so it’s classified as second type conditional. Another common mistake, which often occurs in spoken language, is the use of the imperfect indicative in both clauses:

  • Se potevo, venivo

This sentence means “If I could, I would have come”, and it refers to a past event which didn’t happen and is therefore an impossible hypothesis. So, we need to form the 3rd type conditional by using the pluperfect subjunctive + conditional past:

  • Se avessi potuto, sarei venuto
    If I could, I would have come

To avoid mistakes, remember the general rule: “se” is always set before indicative and subjunctive tenses, never before conditional ones.

Italian Periodo Ipotetico: A Quick Overview

We have seen the three types of Conditional tenses that are used in Italian to talk about real, possible and unreal hypothesis. Now let’s put everything together, so you have a clear overview of the Italian periodo ipotetico.

Hypothesis Type of hypothesis Subordinate clause Main clause
In the present REAL

(something is very

likely to happen)

Present Indicative

Se hai bisogno,
If you need me,

Present Indicative
call me
(something can happen, but not for sure)
Imperfect Subjunctive

Se ti sposassi,

If you’ll get married

Conditional Present

sarei felice
I’d be happy


(cannot happen,
unreal situations)

Imperfect Subjunctive
Se fossi un uccello,

If I were a bird

Conditional Present
I would fly
In the past IMPOSSIBLE-
Pluperfect Subjunctive

Se avessi studiato,

If I had studied

Conditional Past
mi sarei laureato
I would have graduated
In the future REAL – POSSIBLE Indicative Future Simple

Se sarò libero,

If I’ll be free,

Indicative Future Simple
verrò in spiaggia con te
I will come to the beach with you

If you’ve studied the Italian conditional clauses and think they’re too difficult, well… they are, even for Italian native speakers (who also get them wrong!). It’s an advanced Italian grammar topic, but you can master it with practice and time.

Our advice is to first determine whether the hypothesis is set in the present, past or future. Then, you can choose whether the assumption is real, possible or impossible, and finally pick the appropriate tense.

Sometimes, you can also find mixed conditional clauses, where past and present can be combined together:

  • Se ieri avessi lavorato, oggi potrei riposarmi
    If I had worked yesterday, I could rest today

Another thing to remember, is that main clause and subordinate can change their order, which means you don’t necessarily have to start a conditional clause with “se”:

  • Se hai tempo, telefonami = Telefonami, se hai tempo
    If you have time, call me = Call me, if you have time

Finally, remember that sometimes the subordinate clause with “se” is used as an independent sentence with exclamatory or interrogative intonation, to express desire, regret or blame.

  • Se tu mi avessi ascoltato!
    If you had listened to me!
  • Se riuscissi a capirci qualcosa!
    If only I could understand anything!
  • Se solo fossi ricco!
    If I were rich!


The Italian periodo ipotetico is a complicated and very elegant use of the congiuntivo and condizionale. If you want to speak Italian to an advanced level, you must learn how to use the Italian period ipotetico! Once you master it, you’ll be able to make hypothesis about any situation, be it real, possible or impossible.

If clauses are widely used in everyday language, so this gives you a great opportunity to practice and show off your skills with your Italian friends! What are you waiting for? Go out and try!

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.

How Do I Say I Like In Italian?

If you want to say I like you, I like dancing, I like food, I like going out with my friends, or whatever it is that you like, in Italian you should use the verb piacere.

The Italian verb piacere is one of the most common verbs in Italian, one that you will use a lot.

However, sometimes it can be a bit confusing, because piacere  is not used the same way as to like in English.

In English is “I like something”, while in Italian piacere translates as “something is likable to me”, “something is pleasing to me”.

Let’s first take a look at some examples:



Mi piace il cioccolato.

I like chocolate.

(literally: Chocolate is pleasing me.

To me chocolate is pleasing.)

Mi piacciono gli spaghetti.

I like spaghetti.

(literally: Spaghetti are pleasing me.

To me spaghetti are pleasing).

Mi piace viaggiare.

I like traveling.

(literally: Traveling is pleasing me.

To me traveling is pleasing.)

While in English the subject is “I” because it is me that likes chocolate, in Italian the real subject is the chocolate, because the chocolate is the one that is pleasing to me, the one that is likable to me.

In order to use this verb correctly, let’s first take a look at the structure of the sentence with piacere.

How Do I Use Piacere In Italian?

In English, we follow this formula:



Direct Object




In Italian, we follow a different formula:

Indirect Object





la cioccolata

Let’s see more sentences with piacere in Italian:

Indirect object




Mi (a me)


la musica jazz.

I like jazz

Ti (a te)


la musica jazz

You like jazz

Gli (a lui)


la musica jazz.

He likes jazz.

Le (a lei)


la musica jazz.

She like jazz.

Ci (a noi)


la musica jazz.

We like jazz.

Vi (a voi)


la musica jazz.

You like jazz.

Gli (a loro)


la musica jazz.

They like jazz.

The verb is piacere (to like).

The subject of the sentence is the person/the object that we like. (la musica jazz).

The person who likes something is denoted by an indirect object pronoun (mi, ti, gli, le, ci, vi, gli).
Now it’s the right time to introduce the indirect object pronouns, if you aren’t familiar with them.

Italian Indirect Object Pronouns With Piacere

While direct object pronouns answer the questions: “Whom?” and “What”?, the Indirect Object Pronouns answer the questions: “To whom?” and “For whom?”.

The best way to understand this is through examples, but let’s first see what these pronouns look like.

Indirect Object Pronouns

(long form → short form)

A ME → MI (to me)

A TE → TI (to you)

A LUI → GLI (to him)

A LEI → LE (to her)

A NOI → CI (to us)

A VOI → VI (to you all)

A LORO → GLI (to them)


Puoi scrivere qualcosa a Marco? – Can you write something to Marco?
Sì, scrivo qualcosa a lui. – Yes, I’ll write something to him. (if we use long form)
Sì, gli scrivo qualcosa. – Yes, to him I’ll write something. (if we use short form)

Let’s take a look at another example, now with the verb piacere:

Ti piace la musica classica? – Is classical music likable to you?
Sì, la musica classica piace a me.- Yes, classical music is likable to me. (If we use long form)
Sì, mi piace la musica classica. – Yes, to me classical music is likable. (if we use short form)

NOTE: You cannot use both forms in a sentence. You either use the long form of the indirect object or the short form. Be careful, this is the commonest mistake among all Italian learners.

CORRECT: A lei piace la pasta. or Le piace la pasta. (she likes pasta)
INCORRECT: A lei le piace la pasta. (To her pasta is pleasing to her).

CORRECT: Mi piace la tua casa or A me piace la tua casa. (I like your house)
INCORRECT: A me mi piace la tua casa. (To me your house is likable to me).

Is there any difference if I use the short or the long form?

Actually, yes there is. There is a slight difference between these two types of forms.

Most of the time you should use the short forms. It’s the normal usage of the verb, it seems natural. For example:

Mi piace la tua amica. – I like your friend.

Here the focus is on the subject, on the thing that you like – amica.

The long forms of the indirect objects are rarely used. They are used when we want to emphasize the person that likes something. For example:

A me piace la tua amica. – I like your friend.

Here the focus is on ME, the indirect object, the person that likes the friend.

The Verb Piacere In The Present Tense

The verb piacere is an irregular verb. Let’s take a look at the conjugation:


(the person who is liked)


(conjugated in present)




(someone) likes me



(someone) likes you



(someone) likes him/her



(someone) likes us



(someone) likes you all



(someone) likes them

The verb is conjugated agreeing with the thing/person that we like.

Mi piaci!
I like you! (literally ‘to me you are pleasing’)

However most of the time, you only need to remember two persons, the third person singular (lui/lei) and plural (loro).


Because the verb piacere in Italian is usually used only in two forms:



→ when what we like is a singular noun

Mi piace l’estate.

(I like summer.)

→ when what we like is an infinitive verb

Mi piace leggere.

(I like reading.)



→ when what we like is a plural noun

Mi piacciono i dolci.

(I like sweets.)

Here are some examples:

PIACERE with singular nouns

Mi (to me)


il calcio.

I like football.

Ti (to you)


la trama.

You like the plot.

Gli / Le

(to him/her)


la chimica.

He/She likes chemistry.

Ci (to us)



We like Marco.

Vi (to you)


la Germania?

Do you like Germany?

Gli (to them)


il centro storico.

They like the old town.

PIACERE with the infinitive

Mi (to me)



I like running.

Ti (to you)


andare a scuola?

Do you like going to school?

Gli / Le

(to him/her)


leggere libri?

Does he/she like reading books?

Ci (to us)


fare foto.

We like taking photos.

Vi (to you)


guardare la TV.

You like watching TV.

Gli (to them)


scrivere poesia?

Do they like writing poetry?

PIACERE with plural nouns

Mi (to me)


le mele.

I like apples.

Ti (to you)


i romanzi gialli?

Do you like crime novels?

Gli / Le

(to him/her)


i libri di Victor Hugo?

Does he/she like reading Victor Hugo’s books?

Ci (to us)


la frutta e la verdura.

We like fruit and vegetables.

Vi (to you)


Anna e Paolo?

Do you like Anna and Paolo?

Gli (to them)


le ragazze?

Do they like the girls?

The Verb Piacere In Past Tense


sono piaciuto/a

(someone) liked me


sei piaciuto/a

(someone) liked you


è piaciuto/a

(someone) liked him/her


siamo piaciuti/e

(someone) liked us


siete piaciuti/e

(someone) liked you all


sono piaciuti/e

(someone) liked them


In passato prossimo, the verb piacere is used with essere, not avere.

For this reason the verb agrees with the thing we like.

For example:

Mi è piaciuto il film. – I liked the movie.

Mi è piaciuta la pasta. – I liked the pasta.

Mi sono piaciute le canzoni. – I liked the songs.

Mi sono piaciuti i libri. – I liked the books.

How To Use Piacere In A Negative Sentence




Non mi piace la festa.

I don’t like the party.

Non ti piace correre.

You don’t like running.

Non gli piacciono gli animali.

He doesn’t like animals.

Non le piace questo.

She doesn’t like this.

Non ci piacciono gli adulti.

We don’t like adults.

Non vi piace andare a scuola.

You don’t like going to school.

Non gli piace la musica rock.

They don’t like rock.

Other Meanings Of Piacere

Aside from being used as a verb, piacere can also be used as a noun assuming other meanings.

Let’s see some of them:

Piacere as pleasure, enjoyment

Ti ho ascoltato con vivo piacere.

I listened to you with great pleasure.

Fa sempre piacere ricevere fiori.

It’s always a pleasure to get flowers.

Fa sempre piacere vederti!

It’s always a pleasure to see you!

I semplici piaceri portano felicità.

The simple pleasures make us happy.

Piacere for greetings

Piacere can be used when meeting someone for the first time.

Mi chiamo Mauro.

Io sono Antonio.


or piacere di conoscerti!

– My name is Mauro.

– I am Antonio.

– It’s a pleasure to meet you!


Piacere for courtesy

You can use piacere when asking favors or to be polite.

Mi faresti un piacere?

Would you do me a favor?

Mi passi il sale, per piacere?

Could you please pass me the salt?

In this case, it means “please”. You can make a polite request by adding per piacere, same as per favore.

Fammi il piacere!

Give me a break!

Literally: do me the favor


Ti piace l’italiano?

Ti piace la musica italiana?

Ti piacciono la pasta e la pizza?

Now not only you will be able to enjoy the Italian language, culture, food and people, but you will also be able to express that in Italian.

All you have to say is mi piace… and every Italian will be happy to hear about all the things that you like.

Don’t be shy, you could say anything!

Mi piace la Ferrari. Mi piace la pasta. Mi piacciono gli spaghetti. Mi piace mangiare.

Explore everything that you like and don’t be afraid to say it out loud.

Because now you know how to do it!

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 indirect object pronouns and Italian Direct Object Pronouns can be difficult to understand if you are learning Italian. Before starting, let’s make clear what a pronoun is: a pronoun is a variable part of speech that can be used to replace a part of the previous text; replace part of the subsequent text; refer to an element of the context in which the discourse takes place, which is implied.

What Is An Indirect Object in Italian?

Italian Indirect Object Pronouns are the receiver of the verb’s action. An Indirect Object tells whom the action described by the verb is directed to, performed for or intended to benefit or harm. The Indirect Object also indicates the person or thing that receives the direct object. The basic construction of Italian Indirect Object Pronouns works with Subject + verb + direct object + indirect object.

Here is an example of the formula in action:

Ho regalato una sciarpa di cashmere a Federico.
I gave Federico a cashmere scarf.

In the above example the cashmere scarf is the direct object, and the indirect object is Federico, because he is the person I gave the scarf to. When someone or something receives what is being given, that word is the indirect object.

While direct objects answer the questions what? or whom?, indirect objects answer the questions to whom? or to what?.

Not so bad, right?

See some other examples below:

Dovresti chiedere scusa alla tua compagna di banco. 
You should apologize to your classmate.

Uno spasimante segreto ha fatto recapitare un mazzo di fiori a Paola.
A secret admirer sent Paola a bouquet of flowers.

Hanno consegnato alle autorità una zanna d’avorio importata illegalmente.
They handed over an illegally-imported ivory tusk to the authorities.

Quell’associazione offre rifugio ai cani randagi.
That association gives shelter to stray dogs.

As you can see, an indirect object can be one or several words. It can be:

A Noun

L’appartamento è stato intestato ai figli per evitare la tassa di successione
The apartment was assigned to their children to avoid estate tax

A Proper Noun

Ho confidato tutti i miei segreti a Caterina
I confided all my secrets to Caterina

A Noun Phrase 

Giovanni ha dato una mano di bianco a tutte le pareti di casa
Giovanni gave every wall in the house a new coat of paint

A Pronoun

Sara mi ha offerto un caffè
Sara offered me a cup of coffee

Before proceeding, yuo can find interesting the following grammar books:

Difference Between Direct And Indirect Objects

Italian Indirect Object Pronouns

Before we go into further detail, it is crucial to understand the difference between direct and indirect objects. To identify whether an object is direct or indirect, look at what the different elements do in a sentence.

To find a direct object, ask yourself what? or who? is being affected by the action described by the verb. The direct object gets acted upon by the verb.

For example:

Daniele vuole scrivere una lettera a Babbo Natale.
Daniele wants to write a letter to Santa Claus.

What is it that Daniele wants to write? He wants to write a letter. That’s the direct object. To find an indirect object, ask yourself to whom the verb’s action is done. The indirect object receives the direct object. To whom does Daniele want to write a letter? Who is going to receive the letter? Santa Claus.

If you ask yourself these simple questions, identifying direct and indirect objects will be a breeze.

When Do I Use An Indirect Object Pronoun In Italian?

Indirect object pronouns, called pronomi indiretti in Italian, are used instead of nouns or noun phrases to show the person or thing the action described by the verb is done to. In other words, they replace indirect object nouns, to avoid repetition.

Let’s look at the following examples:

Mio cugino Marco si laurea giovedì prossimo. Regalerò a mio cugino Marco uno smartwatch.
My cousin Marco is graduating next Thursday. I’ll give my cousin Marco a smartwatch.

Mio cugino Marco si laurea giovedì prossimo. Gli regalerò uno smartwatch.
My cousin Marco is graduating next Thursday. I’ll give him a smartwatch.

In the above examples, the indirect object is my cousin Marco, because he is the person to whom the smartwatch is intended. Gli (to him, him) is an indirect object pronoun, and we use it to avoid repeating my cousin Marco again. Using an indirect object pronoun instead of repeating the noun over and over again makes the sentence much more readable and fluid.

Remember that only transitive verbs can have indirect objects. What’s a transitive verb, you ask? A transitive verb is one that describes an action that carries over from the subject to an object. It needs to exerts its action on an object, otherwise it can’t function.

How do I use an indirect object pronoun in Italian?

There are two types of indirect object pronouns in Italian: unstressed and stressed ones. We’ll start by looking at what they are, and then at how to use them.

Unstressed Indirect Object Pronouns

Italian Indirect Object Pronouns

Here is what unstressed indirect object pronouns look like:

MI – to me, me


Pietro mi deve venti dollari.
Pietro owes me twenty dollars.

TI– to you, you


Ti piace sciare?
Do you like skiing?

GLI – to him, him


Elena non gli ha più telefonato.
Elena didn’t call him again.

LE – to her, her


Le ho dato il mio numero di telefono.
I gave her my phone number.

LE – to you, you (formal)


Le dispiace chiudere la finestra, signor Brunetti?
Do you mind closing the window, Mr. Brunetti?

CI – to us, us


Ci stanno nascondendo qualcosa.
They are hiding something from us.

VI – to you all, you all


Vi porgiamo i nostri più cordiali saluti.
We would like to extend our kindest regards.

GLI, LORO – to them, them

You can use either gli or loro to say to them/ them:


L’allenatore gli ha fatto i complimenti.
The coach congratulated them.

L’allenatore ha fatto loro i complimenti.
The coach congratulated them.

Note that:

  • Unlike English, unstressed indirect object pronouns precede the conjugated verb, with the exception of loro (to them), which follows the verb.
  • Unlike direct object pronouns, unstressed indirect object pronouns can’t drop their vowels and shorten before an “h” or a vowel.

Stressed Indirect Object Pronouns

Italian Indirect Object Pronouns

Here is what stressed indirect object pronouns look like:

  • a me – (to) me
  • a te – (to) you
  • a lui – (to) him
  • a lei – (to) her
  • a Lei – (to) you (formal)
  • a noi – (to) us
  • a voi– (to) you all
  • a loro – (to) them

Stressed indirect object pronouns are used to emphasize that you mean a specific person and not somebody else and they are usually located after the conjugated verb, but can also be placed before.

Let’s look at some examples:

A me onestamente non piace.
I don’t like it, to be honest.

L’ho chiesto a te, non a Rossella!
I asked you, not Rossella!


There is one main difference between Italian and English: while in English “to” can be omitted, the preposition a (to) is always to be used before a stressed indirect object pronoun in Italian.

Indirect Object Pronouns In The Imperative

With the imperative (imperativo), the unstressed indirect object pronoun gets tacked to the end of the verb to make a single word. For example:

Ti manca Arianna? Telefonale!
Do you miss Arianna? Call her!

Sono al verde! Prestami dieci dollari, per favore.
I’m broke! Lend me ten dollars, please.

Restituiscigli subito le chiavi del furgone.
Give him back the van keys immediately.

With short verbs, like dare (to give) and dire (to tell, to say), you have to double the consonant the pronoun starts with. Mi (to me, me) becomes -mmi, ti (to you, you) becomes -tti and so on. For example:

Dimmi l’ora, per favore.
Tell me the time, please.

Vai dalla nonna e dalle un bacio!

Go to grandma and give her a kiss!

Note that indirect object pronouns always come before the Lei form and don’t join onto the verbs. For example:

Mi dica, signora.
Tell me, ma’am.

Mi dia sei kiwi, per favore.
Give me six kiwis, please

Indirect Object Pronouns In The Infinitive Verbs

With the infinitive (infinito), the unstressed indirect object pronoun joins with it to make a single word, and the final -e of the verb is dropped. Some examples will make it clearer:

Come fai a telefonargli se non hai il suo numero?
How can you call him if you don’t have his number?

Se hai bisogno di parlarmi, chiamami dopo le otto.
If you need to talk to me, call me after eight.

Indirect Object Pronouns With The Modal Verbs

With modal verbs, the unstressed indirect object pronouns can either precede the conjugated verb or be attached to the end of the infinitive. See some examples below:

Vi devo parlare urgentemente / Devo parlarvi urgentemente
I need to talk to you urgently.

Ti posso fare una domanda? / Posso farti una domanda?
May I ask you a question?

Io e Andrea dobbiamo andare all’aeroporto, ci puoi dare un passaggio? / Io e Andrea dobbiamo andare all’aeroporto, puoi darci un passaggio?
Andrea and I have to go to the airport, can you give us a lift?

Common Verbs With Indirect Object In Italian

As you may have already guessed from the above examples, indirect object pronouns are usually paired with Italian verbs that have to do with giving. Here is a list of the most common ones:

  • Dare (to give)
  • Offrire (to offer)
  • Consegnare (to deliver)
  • Regalare (to give as a gift)
  • Restituire (to give back)
  • Prestare (to lend)
  • Mandare (to send)
  • Portare (to bring)

Indirect object pronouns are also paired with verbs that have to do with communicating. Here they are:

  • Parlare (to talk, to speak)
  • Dire (to say, to tell)
  • Spiegare (to explain)
  • Chiedere (to ask)
  • Rispondere (to answer)
  • Scrivere (to write)
  • Insegnare (to teach)
  • Consigliare (to suggest)
  • Telefonare (to call)

How To Use Indirect And Direct Object Pronouns Together

Italian Indirect Object Pronouns

Italian unstressed indirect and direct object pronouns can be used together. The indirect object pronoun goes before the direct object one.

Note that the following indirect object pronouns have a change in spelling when used with a direct object pronoun:

mi (to me, me) → me


Non me lo aspettavo.
I didn’t expect it.

ti (to you, you) → te


Te la farò pagare!
I’ll make you pay for that!

ci (to us, us) → ce


La nonna ha preparato le polpette e ce le ha fatte assaggiare.
Grandma made meatballs and made us taste them.

vi (to you, you) → ve


Ve lo siete meritato!
You deserved it!

What about the other ones? When using the indirect object pronouns le (to her) and gli (to him, to them) with la (her), lo (him), li (them) and le (them), just follow this simple rule:

  • gli/le + la → gliela
  • gli/le + lo → glielo
  • gli/le + le→ gliele
  • gli/le + li → glieli

Some examples will make it clearer:

Se fossi in te, gliela avrei fatta pagare cara.
If I were you, I would have made him pay dearly for it.

Sono anni che glielo ripeto, ma non mi dà ascolto.
I have been repeating it to her for years, but she doesn’t listen to me.

I bambini avevano raccolto da terra delle cartacce. Gliele ho tolte subito di mano.
The children had collected litter from the ground. I immediately took them from their hands.

Se me li avessero chiesti, glieli avrei prestati.
If they had asked me, I would have lent them to them.

Note that:

When a sentence contains a modal verb and an infinitive, indirect and direct object pronouns can either precede the conjugated verb or join together and get tacked to the end of the infinitive to make a single word. As mentioned previously, you have to take off the final -e of the infinitive. For example:

Non me li vuole comprare / Non vuole comprarmeli.
She doesn’t want to buy them to me.


Feeling overwhelmed by all these pronouns? Don’t worry if you don’t fully get it at first. Find a good balance of study through exercise and real-life practice, and, trust me, the Italian indirect object pronouns will begin to come naturally.

Practice makes perfect!

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 Condizionale?

The Italian conditional tense, or condizionale, is a mood used to describe all the situations related to uncertainty, doubt, wishes, assumptions, hypotheses or polite requests. The Italian Present Conditional Tense is the equivalent of the English constructions with “would” + verb.

  • Vorrei un caffè
    I would like a coffee

  • Apriresti la porta, per favore?
    Would you please open the door?

There are two tenses in the Italian condizionale: present and past. In this article we’ll see how to form them and all the different way you can use the conditional tense.

When To Use The Condizionale In Italian

The Italian Condizionale is quite easy to form. If you studied the subjunctive tense before, you will find that it’s much easier. However, because these two moods are sometimes used together in main and subordinate clauses some people tend to confuse them, even Italian people! Let’s now see all the different cases which require the Conditional tense in Italian.

Hypothetical Clause

The Conditional mood is often used in Italian to talk about something that might happen or to talk about very improbable situations. A hypothetical clause is basically a sentence that uses ‘if’ or an equivalent, to create a situation where one thing will happen dependent on another.

  • Se avessi i soldi, viaggerei più spesso
    If I had the money, I would travel more

This sentence uses first the imperfect subjunctive and then the present conditional mood and is formed by two parts: “se avessi i soldi” (If I had the money), which expresses a condition, and “viaggerei più spesso” (I would travel more), which indicates the consequence. In the sentence expressing the condition you need to use the subjunctive, while in the consequence sentence you use the Conditional tense.

  • Se potessi aiutarti lo farei
    If I could help you, I would do so

  • Se avessi meno impegni, verrei a trovarti
    If I were less busy, I would come to visit you

Polite Requests And Advices

You can use the Italian Conditional tense to express a polite request the same way you do it in English with would, or to give an advice or an opinion in order not to sound too authoritative. This second case is often translated in English with the construction “should + verb”:

  • Chiuderesti la finestra per favore?
    Would you please close the window?
  • Secondo me, dovresti studiare un po’ di più
    In my opinion, you should study a little bit more

  • Penso che dovresti andare in Italia
    I think you should go to Italy


Another use of the Conditional tense is to express a wish or an intention, even one which is hardly going to happen. This is one of the easiest case to understand and put in use:

  • Vorrei essere ricco
    I would like to be rich

  • Vorrei comprare quell’auto, ma è troppo costosa
    I would like to buy that car, but it’s too expensive

  • Mi piacerebbe andare a Parigi quest’estate
    I would like to go to Paris this summer

  • Vorrei un caffè, per favore
    I would like a coffee, please


The Italian condizionale is sometimes used to express regret. This use of conditional tense translates in English with the structure “shouldn’t have + past participle”, to point out you shouldn’t have done something that you now regret:

  • Non sarei dovuto venire
    I shouldn’t have come

  • Non avrei dovuto ascoltarlo
    I shouldn’t have listened to him


The Italian Condizionale can also be used to express a doubt:

  • Come potrei fare meglio di lui?
    How could I do better than him?

  • Non capisco come sarei d’aiuto
    I don’t understand how I would be helpful

A Future Action…In The Past

Italian people use condizionale to express a future action from the viewpoint of the past. Let’s see an example:

  • Marco ha detto che sarebbe venuto
    Marco said he would come 

In this sentence, Marco said (in the past) that he would come. Here we use conditional past tense to express uncertainty, because (despite what Marco said) we’re not sure whether he will actually come or not in a future moment.

  • Anna mi ha detto che avrebbe studiato con me oggi
    Anna told me she would study with me today

  • Pensavo che sarebbe stato più freddo, oggi
    I thought the weather would be colder today

When referring to an event that must take place in the future compared to a moment in the past, we are talking about Future in the Past. In Italian, this future event is expressed with Conditional perfect tense.

How To Make The Italian Conditional In The Present

You can form the condizionale presente of regular verbs by adding the following endings to the root of the verb, according to the three conjugations. The conditional present tense is similar to the conjugation of the Italian future simple. The good news is, the Conditional tense suffix are the same for all three groups of verbs:

  1. -are conjugation: -ei, -esti, -ebbe, -emmo, -este, -ebbero
  2. -ere conjugation: -ei, -esti, -ebbe, -emmo, -este, -ebbero
  3. -ire conjugation: -ei, -esti, -ebbe, -emmo, -este, -ebbero

However, you need to remember that when forming the present conditional of regular verbs you just need to remove the final -e of the infinitive form and not all the suffixes -are, -ere, – ire. You just remove the final -e and add an appropriate ending. For instance:

  • Credere (to believe): creder-ei, creder-esti, creder-ebbe, creder-emmo, creder-este, creder-ebbero

The exception is all the verbs in -are. These verbs change the “a” in the infinitive suffix –are with an “e”. After you replace it, you simply add the conditional endings:

  • Ascoltare (to listen): ascolter-ei, ascolter-esti, ascolter-ebbe, ascolter-emmo, ascolter-este, ascolter-ebbero

Now let’s see how the regular verbs of the three groups look like when conjugated in the Conditional present tense:

Ascoltare (to listen)

Credere (to believe)

Partire (to depart, leave)

io ascolterei

io crederei

io partirei

tu ascolteresti

tu crederesti

tu partiresti

lui/lei ascolterebbe

lui/lei crederebbe

lui/lei partirebbe

noi ascolteremmo

noi crederemmo

noi partiremmo

voi ascoltereste

voi credereste

voi partireste

loro ascolterebbero

loro crederebbero

loro partirebbero

  • Non partirei mai senza salutarti
    I would never leave without saying goodbye to you

  • Non crederei mai alle sue parole
    I would never trust his words

Please pay attention when you pronounce the third person plural noi (we). There is a double M in the suffix, and if you don’t put it, it can be confused with the third person plural of the future simple:

  • Noi ascolteremo – we will listen
  • Noi ascolteremmo – we would listen

The Italian Conditional Of Avere And Essere

Now let’s see how to conjugate the conditional tenses of the auxiliary verbs essere and avere, which are necessary to form the Conditional past of the acting verbs. The conditional present tense looks like this:

Essere (to be)

Avere (to have)

io sarei

io avrei

tu saresti

tu avresti

lui/lei sarebbe

lui/lei avrebbe

noi saremmo

noi avremmo

voi sareste

voi avreste

loro sarebbero

loro avrebbero

  • Sarei un giocatore di tennis migliore, se mi allenassi più spesso
    I’d be a better tennis player, If I trained more often

  • Avrei una domanda da farti
    I have (would have) a question to ask you

As usual in compound tenses, you need to add the past participle of the verb to form the conditional perfect tense. You will use the conditional present of essere or avere and add the past participle. The conditional perfect of auxiliary verbs looks like this:

Essere (to be)

Avere (to have)

io sarei stato/a

io avrei avuto

tu saresti stato/a

tu avresti avuto

lui/lei sarebbe stato/a

lui/lei avrebbe avuto

noi saremmo stati/e

noi avremmo avuto

voi sareste stati/e

voi avreste avuto

loro sarebbero stati/e

loro avrebbero avuto

Remember that verbs conjugated with essere must change their endings to agree in number and gender with the subject.

  • Se non avessimo studiato, non saremmo stati in grado di passare l’esame
    If we didn’t study, we wouldn’t be able to pass the test

  • Se non fosse stato per lui, non avrei avuto questa possibilità
    If it wasn’t for him, I would never have that chance

  • Sarebbe stato meglio partire ieri
    It would have been better to leave yesterday

Now let’s see in detail how to conjugate and use the conditional perfect, or condizionale passato.

How To Make The Italian Conditional In The Past

The Italian conditional perfect, or condizionale passato is formed with the conditional present of the auxiliary verb avere or essere and the past participle of the acting verb. It can be translated with the construction would have + verb

Ascoltare (to listen)

Credere (to believe)

Partire (to depart, leave)

io avrei ascoltato

io avrei creduto

io sarei partito/a

tu avresti ascoltato

tu avresti creduto

tu saresti partito/a

lui/lei avrebbe ascoltato

lui/lei avrebbe creduto

lui/lei sarebbe partito/a

noi avremmo ascoltato

noi avremmo creduto

noi saremmo partiti/e

voi avreste ascoltato

voi avreste creduto

voi sareste partiti/e

loro avrebbero ascoltato

loro avrebbero creduto

loro sarebbero partiti/e

When combined with the auxiliary essere, the past participle of the acting verb must always agree with the subject. The conditional perfect is also used to express doubts, uncertainty, or to say what we would have done if the conditions had been different.

  • Se non l’avessi visto, non avrei creduto alle sue parole
    If I had not seen it, I wouldn’t believe his words

  • Se ieri non avesse piovuto, saremmo partiti per la nostra gita
    If it didn’t rain yesterday, we would have left for our trip

The Italian conditional perfect is often used in combination with the pluperfect subjunctive – congiuntivo trapassato – to express the future in the past. This is the case when both the actions are already finished, because they already happened in the past, one after another.

  • Se avessi avuto tempo, ti avrei telefonato
    If I had the time, I would have called you

The sentence indicating the condition (if I had time) uses the pluperfect subjunctive and always happens before the consequence, while the sentence indicating the consequence (I would have called you) has the conditional perfect and indicates a possibility that didn’t happen because of the past circumstances.

  • Se avessi studiato di più, avrei passato l’esame
    If I had studied more, I would have passed the test

  • Se non avessi dovuto lavorare, sarei andata in palestra
    If I didn’t have to work, I would have gone to the gym

Here, conditional perfect is used when you want to talk about impossible events that didn’t happen because of the past circumstances.

Irregular Verbs

When forming the condizionale, irregular verbs typically fall into two groups:

Those who lose the “e” in the infinitive suffix (or verbs in -are that do not get the “e” and lose the “a” either):

  • andare: andr-ei, andr-esti, andr-ebbe, andr-emmo, andr-este, andr-ebbero
  • vivere: vivr-ei, vivr-esti, vivr-ebbe, vivr-emmo, vivr-este, vivr-ebbero
  • dovere: dovr-ei, dovr-esti, dovr-ebbe, dovr-emmo, dovr-este, dovr-ebbero
  • potere: potr-ei, potr-esti, potr-ebbe, potr-emmo, potr-este, potr-ebbero

Verbs who lose not only their infinitive suffix, but also the consonant before it and get a “rr” instead:

  • volere: vorr-ei, vorr-esti, vorr-ebbe, vorr-emmo, vorr-este, vorr-ebbero
  • rimanere: rimarr-ei, rimarr-esti, rimarr-ebbe, rimarr-emmo, rimarr-este, rimarr-ebbero

Other irregular verbs do not follow any rule and need to be studied by heart:

  • dare: dar-ei, dar-esti, dar-ebbe, dar-emmo, dar-este, dar-ebbero
  • fare: far-ei, far-esti, far-ebbe, far-emmo, far-este, far-ebbero
  • stare: star-ei, star-esti, star-ebbe, star-emmo, star-este, star-ebbero

Other Uses Of Condizionale

There are also some cases where the Italian use of condizionale has no equivalent in English. This is the case when Italian people want to express disappointment or anger towards a situation.

  • E lui, chi sarebbe?
    Who is he? (or, literally: who would he be?)

  • Io non mi sarei mai permesso di agire così!
    I would have never done such a thing!

The second case where condizionale is used in Italian but not in English is when you want to make a hypothesis or tell some news that you’re not certain about. The news are unconfirmed, so the subject cautiously guesses what happened:

  • Secondo la polizia, il ladro sarebbe scappato
    According to the police, the thief ran away
    (literally: according to the police, the thief would have run away)

  • Secondo i giornali il presidente si sarebbe dimesso
    According to the newspaper, the president resigned
    (literally: according to the newspaper, the president would have resigned)

Finally, I want to mention that the Italian conditional tense is not always translated with would. As you probably noticed, sometimes the condizionale is translated with the constructions should + verb or could + verb. This usually happens with the Italian verbs dovere (to have to) and potere (to be able to).

  • Dovremmo imparare una lingua straniera
    We should learn a foreign language

  • Non potrei mai fargli una cosa del genere
    I could never do this to him

It’s easier to understand these cases if you think that by using should and could in these examples you’re saying something like “would have to learn” or “would be able to do”.


The Italian condizionale is not as challenging as the subjunctive, but it does, just like all the other tenses, take some practice to get used to. If you would like to speak Italian like a native you definitely need to know how to use it!

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 Passato Remoto In Italian?

Passato remoto is  one of the past tenses in Italian.

As we know the most used past tense in Italian is the passato prossimo but Italian past tenses are way more than one. Here we will learn how the passato remoto is used in Italian.

In English the passato remoto refers to the simple past tense.

Parlai con Vito – I talked to Vito
Il nonno giocai con i bambini – I played with the kids

When Do I Use The Passato Remoto In Italian?

Passato Remoto in Italian is generally used in the following situations:

To express the historical past

Albert Einstein vinse il Premio Nobel nel 1921
Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize in 1921

Dante Alighieri, autore de La Divina Commedia, nacque a Firenze nel 1265
Dante Alighieri, author of La Divina Commedia, was born in Florence in 1265

Roma distrusse Cartagine dopo un lungo assedio
Rome destroyed Carthage after a long siege

To talk about an action that happened and ended in the past

Quando iniziò la Seconda Guerra Mondiale i miei nonni erano molto piccoli
When the Second World War began, my grandparents were very young

In literature such as novels, books or fairy tales

La principessa Aurora si svegliò dopo essere stata baciata dal principe Filippo
Princess Aurora woke up after being kissed by Prince Philip

Regional Use Of The Passato Remoto In Italian

In the written language it is a stylistic choice to use the passato remoto instead of the passato prossimo.
While in the spoken language the passato remoto can be employed to express emotional distance from what we say or can simply be a regional use.

The passato remoto is more commonly used in Southern Italy, especially in Sicily where it could be even used to talk about recents events, and some central regions, like Tuscany, then in Northern Italy (here replaced by the passato prossimo).

In Southern Italy
Quando andai a trovare mia nonna mi disse che era malata.
When I visited my grandmother, she told me she was sick.

In Northern Italy
Quando sono andato a trovare mia nonna mi ha detto che era malata.
When I visited my grandmother, she told me she was sick.

How Do I Conjugate The Passato Remoto In Italian?

There are three types of passato remoto verbs: regular verbs, irregular verbs and partially irregular verbs.

Regular Verbs

This type of verb has specific endings that can vary among the three main verb classes (- are, – ere and –ire). To form regular verbs, remove the infinitive ending (- are, – ere or –ire) and add endings of the remote past to the root word. Here are some common regular verbs in the passato remoto:

  amare – to love temere – to be afraid mentire – to lie
Io ama-i tem-ei/ tem-etti ment-ii
Tu ama-sti tem-esti ment-isti
Lui/Lei am-ò tem-ette/ tem-é ment-ì
Noi ama-mmo tem-emmo ment-immo
Voi ama-ste teme-este ment-iste
Loro ama-rono tem-erono/ tem-ettero ment-irono


  • In literature or old grammar books, instead of lui/lei (he/she) or loro (they) you can also find alternative pronouns like egli/ella or essi/esse. They are not used anymore, except in formal or literary contexts
  • As you can see, for –ere verbs there are two choices for the first person singular (temei or temetti), the third person singular (temette or temé) and the third person plural (temerono or temettero). You can find either of these two options in writing.


Egli amò solo una donna nella sua vita: sua moglie! – He just loved a woman in his life: his wife!

Temei/ temetti di non superare il test perchè avevo studiato poco il giorno precedente – I was afraid of failing the test because I had studied very little the day before

Mia sorella mentì e costrinse anche me a mentire – My sister lied and she made me lie too.

Irregular Verbs

Unfortunately, there are no rules to form the passato remoto of irregular verbs. The only things you can do are: learning them by heart or writing down the conjugation of those most used (such as essere, bere, dare, dire, fare, stare).

  essere – to be bere – to drink dare – to give dire – to say fare – to do stare – to stay
Io fui bevvi diedi dissi feci stetti
Tu fosti bevesti desti dicesti facesti stesti
Lui/ Lei fu bevve diede disse fece stette
Noi fummo bevemmo demmo dicemmo facemmo stemmo
Voi foste beveste deste diceste faceste steste
Loro furono bevvero diedero dissero fecero stettero


Alessandro Manzoni fu il più importante scrittore italiano dell’Ottocento –Alessandro Manzoni was the most important Italian novelist of the 19th century

Bevve un bicchiere di vino e poi andò a letto – She drank a glass of wine and then went to bed

Quando lo vide gli diede un bacio – When she saw him, she gave him a kiss

Mi dissero che sarebbero partiti per le vacanze estive il 5 agosto – They told me they would leave for summer holidays on 5th August

I dottori fecero del loro meglio per salvarlo – Doctors did their best to save him

Stette a Cordoba più a lungo del previsto – He stayed in Cordoba longer than planned

Partially Irregular Verbs

This category of verbs presents a combination of regular and irregular forms. In these verbs the first and third person singular and third plural are irregular, while the second person singular and the first and second plural are regular.

Also in this case there are no formation rules. Anyway, you may consider the ending of the root in the infinitive:

1. If the root ends with M, R, V, GG, RR, T, you will use two SS to form the first and second person singular and third plural (such as scriv-ere – to write) →

  scrivere – to write
Io scrissi
Tu scrivesti
Lui/Lei scrisse
Noi scrivemmo
Voi scriveste
Loro scrissero

2. If the root ends with double RR, you use only one S or RS to form the first and second person singular and third plural (such as corr-ere – to run) →

  correre – to run
Io corsi
Tu corresti
Lui/Lei corse
Noi corremmo
Voi correste
Loro corsero

3. If the root ends with N, V or ND, you will use an S to form the first and second person singular and third plural (such as prend-ere – to take) →

  prendere – to take
Io presi
Tu prendesti
Lui/Lei prese
Noi prendemmo
Voi prendeste
Loro presero

4. If the root ends with D, you can have use only an S at in the first and second person singular and third plural (such as chied-ere – to ask) →

  chiedere – to ask
Io chiesi
Tu chiedesti
Lui/Lei chiese
Noi chiedemmo
Voi chiedeste
Loro chiesero

5. if the root ends with C or SC, you will have use CQU at in the first and second person singular and third plural (such as tac-ere – to keep quiet) →

  tacere – to keep quiet
Io tacqui
Tu tacesti
Lui/Lei tacque
Noi tacemmo
Voi taceste
Loro tacquero

6. if the root ends with NG, you will find use NS at in the first and second person singular and third plural (such as piang-ere – to cry) →

  piangere – to cry
Io piansi
Tu piangesti
Lui/Lei pianse
Noi piangemmo
Voi piangeste
Loro piansero

7. If the root ends with GL, you can have use only LS at in the first and second person singular and third plural (such as cogl-iere – to pick) →

  cogliere – to pick
Io colsi
Tu cogliesti
Lui/Lei colse
Noi cogliemmo
Voi coglieste
Loro colsero

8. If the root ends with RG, you will have use RS at in the first and second person singular and third plural (such as porg-ere – to hand out) →

  porgere – to hand out
Io porsi
Tu porgesti
Lui/Lei porse
Noi porgemmo
Voi porgeste
Loro porsero

More Verbs In the Passato Remoto


The verb conosc-ere (to know): although the root ends with SC, you will find OBB at in the first and second person singular and third plural →

  conoscere – to know
Io conobbi
Tu conoscesti
Lui/Lei conobbe
Noi conoscemmo
Voi conosceste
Loro conobbero


Some verbs double the consonant of the root at in the first and second person singular and third plural (such as cad-ere – to fall) →

  cadere – to fall
Io caddi
Tu cadesti
Lui/Lei cadde
Noi cademmo
Voi cadeste
Loro caddero


Other verbs change their root completely at in the first and second person singular and third plural (such as sapere – to know) →

  sapere – to know
Io seppi
Tu sapesti
Lui/Lei seppe
Noi sapemmo
Voi sapeste
Loro seppero

The Verb Avere In The Passato Remoto

Also avere (to have) is considered a partially irregular verb and has its own forms form at in the first and second person singular and third plural →

  avere – to have
Io ebbi
Tu avesti
Lui/Lei ebbe
Noi avemmo
Voi aveste
Loro ebbero


Now you are finally able to recognize the passato remoto in literary works, documentaries or when listening to a conversation in South Italy!

As we saw, the use of this particular verbal time is not so too difficult… the real problem is its formation! Well, you should know the same Italian people often have some problems forming it. This could be comforting in a certain way for you! So, don’t worry if you sometimes make mistakes!

You will probably never use this tense when speaking to an Italian. In any case, it is useful to learn it because you could find it in Italian literature or novels, as we already said.

Even if it is gradually disappearing, there are often some exercises where the knowledge of passato remoto is required in exams to acquire Italian linguistic certification.

To gain some confidence with this tense, I suggest you to read Italian classic novels or tales.

If you want to check the correct formation of the verbs in the remote past, please consult one of the verb conjugators online, such as Il Coniugatore. With Il Coniugatore, you can insert the infinitive form of the verb and then look for the conjugation of passato remoto along with all the other Italian tenses.

By: Alfonso Di Somma

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

Italian direct object pronouns can be very tricky to learn. In linguistics, the pronoun is a variable part of speech that has the following functions: to replace a part of the previous text; replace part of the subsequent text; refer to an element of the context in which the discourse takes place, which is implied.

We have already seen the Italian Indirect Object Pronouns here, if you want to repeat them.

Now we will see Italian Direct Object Pronouns:

What Are Direct Object Pronouns?

The direct object is the element of a sentence which is directly involved in or affected by the action described by a verb. In other words, it gets acted upon by a verb, and answers the questions what? or whom?  The basic construction is Subject + verb + direct object. 

Here is an examples of the formula in action:

La ragazza mangia gli spaghetti.
the girl eats spaghetti.

Here, the subject is la ragazza (the girl) , and the verb is mangia (eat). What is the girl eating? Spaghetti. So, spaghetti is the direct object, because it receives the action of the verb in question.

Easy, right?

See some other examples below:

Alessandro suona il basso.
Alessandro plays the bass guitar.
What does Alessandro play? The bass guitar (il basso), so it will be the direct object.

Adoro viaggiare.
I love traveling.
What do I love? Traveling. The direct object is traveling, (viaggiare)

Antonella sta lavando i piatti.
Antonella is washing the dishes.
What is Antonella washing? The dishes (i piatti) are the direct object.

Gianluca legge il giornale tutti i giorni.
Gianluca reads the newspaper every day.
What does Gianluca read? The newspaper (il giornale) is the direct object.

Before proceeding, if you want to repeat grammar, here there are books useful for you.

When To Use A Direct Object Pronoun In Italian?

You might have seen little words in Italian like mitiloci, etc. These words are called direct object pronouns (pronomi diretti). Always paired with transitive verbs, direct object pronouns are used to replace the object of a sentence. This usually happens when the object is made obvious by the context, or has already been mentioned.

Here are some examples:

Mi aiuti, per favore?
Could you help me, please?

Non ti riconosco più!
(Literally: I don’t recognize you anymore!) You’re not the same person I used to know

Chi te l’ha detto?
Who told you that?

But before we go into further detail, let’s take a closer look at transitive verbs.

What Is A Transitive Verb?

Italian Direct Object Pronouns

The word transitive comes from the Latin trānsīre, meaning to pass or to cross. It describes an action that moves from the subject directly to the object, without making use of prepositions, such as di (of), da (from), per (for), a (to), etc. A transitive verb is one that only makes sense if it transfers its action to something or someone. In other words, it needs to exerts its action on an object.

Without an object to affect or act upon, transitive verbs, like dire (to say), scegliere (to choose), comprare (to buy) and scrivere (to write), can’t function and the sentence that they inhabit would seem incomplete.

Here are some examples:

Valentina ha adottato un cane del canile.
Valentina adopted a dog from the shelter

Ilaria ha scritto una lettera di reclamo.
Ilaria wrote a complaint letter.

Tommaso sta facendo i compiti.
Tommaso is doing his homework.

Ho frequentato un corso di italiano all’università.
I attended an Italian course at university.

Verbs that do not require an object to act upon, like sedere (to sit) and giacere (to lie), are called intransitive.

NOTE: some Italian verbs that take a direct object, such as cercare (to look for), ascoltare (to listen to) and guardare (to look at), correspond to English verbs that are used with prepositions.

In Italian, direct objects are not preceded by a preposition.

For example:

Stai cercando lavoro?
Are you looking for a job?

Sto ascoltando un podcast.
I’m listening to a podcast.

La guardava con circospezione.
He was looking at her cautiously.

How do I use a direct object in Italian?

Italian direct object pronouns can be split into two types:

  • unstressed direct object pronouns;
  • stressed direct object pronouns.

Let’s have a look at them.

Unstressed Direct Object Pronouns

Here are the Italian unstressed direct object pronouns:

mi – me (first person singular)
ti – you (second person singular)
lo – him (third person masculine singular)
la – her (third person feminine singular)
La – you (polite singular)
ci – us (first person plural)
vi – you (second person plural)
li – them (third person masculine plural)
le – them (third person feminine plural)

As you can see, direct object pronouns look very similar to reflexive and indirect object pronouns, so try not to get them confused.

Unlike English, you usually put unstressed direct object pronouns immediately before the conjugated verb.

Have a look at these examples to get an idea of how it works:

Quell’uomo mi detesta.
That man hates me.

Ti posso richiamare più tardi?
Can I call you back later?

Sì, lo so!
Yes, I know (it)!

La moto è pronta, la puoi venire a ritirare quando vuoi
Your motorcycle is ready, you can pick it up whenever you want

Che Dio ci aiuti!
God help us!

Vi voglio qui entro le sette.
I want you here by seven o’clock.

Mi piacciono i ravioli con ricotta e spinaci, li mangerei ogni giorno se potessi.
I like ravioli stuffed with ricotta and spinach, I would eat them every single day if I could.

Ti ricordi le nostre insegnanti delle elementari? Certo, le ricordo perfettamente.
Do you remember our elementary school teachers? Sure, I remember them all perfectly.

Italian Direct Object Pronouns – LA , LO , LE , LI

Italian Direct Object Pronouns

As you can see from the above examples above, la (her/it), lo (him/it), le (them) and li (them) can refer both to people and objects.
As you probably know, Italian grammar has gendered nouns, which means that nouns – even those referring to inanimate objects, places and abstract ideas – can be either masculine or feminine.

There’s no neuter gender in Italian. This can be a strange concept to English speakers, I know.

To translate it into Italian, you need to use lo (him/it) if the noun referred to is masculine, and la (her/it) if it is feminine.
Li (them) and le (them) are the plural equivalents of lo (him) and la (her/it).

Let’s look at some examples:

Ho un biglietto omaggio per lo spettacolo, lo vuoi?
I’ve got a free ticket for the show, do you want it?
Here un biglietto becomes lo because it’s masculine singular.

Hai visto la mia sciarpa? La cerco da mezz’ora! Have you seen my scarf? I’ve been looking for it for half an hour!
La sciarpa is feminine singular, so the direct pronoun to use would be la.

Ho preparato le polpette. Le vuoi assaggiare? I made meatballs. Do you want to taste them?
Le polpette is feminine plural so the corresponding direct object pronoun is le.

Arturo, hai comprato i francobolli? Sì, li ho comprati stamattina
Arturo, did you buy the stamps? Yes, I bought them this morning.
I francobolli is masculine plural, the direct object pronoun is li.

Direct Object Pronouns with NON

When the word non (not) is used to turn an affirmative sentence into a negative one, it goes before the direct object pronoun.

Have a look at the following examples:

Non mi interrompere quando parlo.
Don’t interrupt me when I’m talking.

Non lo sapevo!
I didn’t know!

Perché non le hai avvertite?
Why didn’t you warn them?

The pronouns mi (me), ti (you), la (her) and lo (him) can drop their vowels and be shortened to m’, t’ and l’ before an “h” or a vowel.

Here are some examples:

Chi l’avrebbe mai detto!
Who would ever have thought it!

Gli inquirenti non m’avrebbero creduto.
Investigators wouldn’t have believed me.

Giorgia non ha salutato Lorenzo perché non l’aveva riconosciuto.
Giorgia didn’t greet Lorenzo because she had not recognized him.

Non l’ho ancora letto.
I haven’t read it yet.

However, keep in mind that the plural forms li (them) and le (them) can’t drop their vowel.

Stressed Direct Object Pronouns

Here is what stressed direct object pronouns look like:

me – me (first person singular)
te – you (second person singular)
lui – him (third person masculine singular)
lei – her (third person feminine singular)
Lei – you (polite singular)
noi – us (first person plural)
voi – you (second person plural)
loro – them (third person plural)

As you might have noticed, the stressed direct object pronouns are exactly the same as the Italian subject pronouns (io, tu, lui/lei, noi, voi, loro), except that me (me) is used instead of the first person singular io (I) and te (you) is used instead of the second person singular tu (you).

Stressed direct object pronouns usually go after the verb, and are used to emphasize that you are referring to a specific person and not to somebody else.

For example:

Cercavo proprio te!
I was looking for you! (not for someone else)

Giacomo non guardava lei, guardava proprio te.
Giacomo wasn’t looking at her, he was looking at you.

Sarebbe stato meglio assumere te, non lui.
It would have been better to hire you, not him.

In Italian, stressed and unstressed direct object pronouns are not interchangeable. Using the stressed forms instead of the unstressed ones can generate examples of clumsy Italian. Use the stressed forms only when you want to give emphasis to the person you are referring to.

Direct Object Pronouns In The Passato Prossimo

Italian Direct Object Pronouns

As you may have already guessed from the above examples, when using an unstressed direct object pronoun with a compound verb, like the present perfect (passato prossimo), the past participle matches in gender and number with it.

See some examples below:

Hai visto Noemi? Sì, l’ho vista ieri a scuola.
Have you seen Noemi? Yes, I saw her yesterday at school.

Hai invitato Roberto al matrimonio? No, non l’ho invitato.
Have you invited Roberto to your wedding? No, I haven’t invited him.

Hai visto Francesca e Simona? Sì, le ho viste ieri in palestra.
Have you seen Francesca and Simona? Yes, I saw them yesterday at the gym.

Hai invitato Davide e Leonardo al pranzo di Natale? Sì, li ho invitati. Have you invited Davide and Leonardo to the Christmas Lunch? Yes, I’ve invited them.

Italian Direct Object Pronouns In All The Italian Tenses

The same goes with all the other compound tenses, like the past perfect (trapassato prossimo), future perfect tense (futuro anteriore), perfect conditional (condizionale passato), past subjunctive (congiuntivo passato) and pluperfect subjunctive (congiuntivo trapassato).

Let’s look at some examples:


Matteo aveva prenotato il volo due giorni prima di partire.Matteo lo aveva prenotato due giorni prima di partire.
Matteo had booked the flight two days before leaving. → Matteo had booked it two days before leaving.


Dopo che avrai finito i compiti, potrai andare a giocare al parco. → Dopo che li avrai finiti, potrai andare a giocare al parco.
After you will have finished your homework, you can go play in the park → After you will have finished it, you can go play in the park


Avrei voluto salutare Silvia prima che partisse. → L’avrei voluta salutare prima che partisse.
I would have liked to say goodbye to Silvia before she left → I would have liked to say goodbye to her before she left


Non credo che l’abbiano fatto apposta.
I don’t think they did it on purpose.


Se l’avessi saputo, te l’avrei detto.
If I had known it, I would have told you.

Italian Direct Object Pronouns In The Imperative

When you are using the imperative, the unstressed direct object pronoun joins with the verb to make a single word.

Some examples will make it clearer:

Help me!

Ha telefonato il commercialista, richiamalo!
The accountant called, call him back!

Lasciali stare!
Leave them alone!

Devo chiamare i soccorsi? Sì, chiamali subito.
Should I call 911? Yes, please, call it right away.

NOTE: With short verbs, like fare (to do) and dire (to tell, to say), you have to double the consonant the pronoun starts with. For example:

Dillo al medico!
Tell the doctor!

Luca, falla finita!
Stop it, Luca!

Fallo subito!
Do it now!

Italian Direct Object Pronouns In The Infinitive

Italian Direct Object Pronouns

With the infinitive (infinito), the unstressed direct object pronoun gets tacked to the end of it to make a single word. You just need to take off the final -e of the verb.

Here are some examples

Come fai a dirlo?
How can you say that?

Venite a trovarmi!
Come visit me!

Italian Direct Object Pronouns With Modal Verbs

With modal verbs, the direct object pronouns can either be attached to the end of the infinitive or precede the conjugated verb. For example:

Non vi posso accompagnare / Non posso accompagnarvi.
I can’t come with you.

Non li volevo disturbare all’ora di cena / Non volevo disturbarli all’ora di cena.
I didn’t want to disturb them at dinnertime.


There is a lot to take in here, I know, but I hope this has given you a solid foundation for using Italian stressed and unstressed direct object pronouns in all kinds of different situations. Practice a little every day and learning how to use them will be a breeze!

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.

The Subjunctive, or congiuntivo in Italian, is a mood that you can find in many situations, mostly used to connect subordinate clauses to main clauses. Unlike in Italian language, the subjunctive is rarely used in English.

Knowing how to use the subjunctive will help you sound more like a native and communicate a bit more accurately. In this lesson we will take a look at all the different subjunctive tenses and their use in Italian.

What Is Congiuntivo? 

While the indicative is the mood of reality, subjunctive is the mood of possibility. The congiuntivo in Italian is used to talk about hopes, fears, doubts and other uncertain situations.
It usually follows the marker word “che” (that). The Italian subjunctive has four tenses that can have different translations in English.

The Subjunctive Present Tense corresponds to the English subjunctive, although it is used more often in Italian than in modern English.

The Present tense of congiuntivo is the equivalent of the English subjunctive structures such as:

  • God save the Queen! – Dio salvi la regina
  • God bless you! – Che Dio ti benedica
  • Heaven help us! – Che il cielo ci aiuti

When Do I Use The Italian Congiuntivo?

The Italian indicative mood tells us about the world as it is, no matter if we’re talking about the past, the present or the future. The Italian subjunctive, however, is used to talk about situations that are unreal, uncertain or that we have feelings about.

  • Hai fatto uno sbaglio (Indicative mood)
    You made a mistake
  • Penso che tu abbia fatto uno sbaglio (Subjunctive mood)
    I think that you made a mistake

Congiuntivo in Italian is often used in a subordinate clause to talk about events that are not certain to happen, or when expressing hopes or a wish.
Depending on the situation and tense used, the subjunctive can be translated in English with present tense, past tense or sometimes even with the construction would + verb.

Our advice is to not to rely too much on the English translation to understand the use of congiuntivo in Italian, since it does not always (or even often) correspond to the English subjunctive.

Here are some examples to help you understand the circumstances when subjunctive is used:

  • Spero che domani non piova
    I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow
  • Speravo tanto che ce la facesse a venire alla festa
    I really hoped he would make it to the party
  • Dobbiamo partire prima che faccia buio
    We need to leave before it gets dark
  • Che tu venga o meno, io andrò lo stesso
    Whether you will come or not, I’ll go anyway

Marker Words With Congiuntivo

In Italian language, marker words such as che (that), nonostante, così che (so that), affinché (in order to) and similar phrases trigger the use of subjunctive.

  • Farò di tutto affinché tu sia felice
    I’ll do anything in order for you to be happy
  • Nonostante piova, Luca è uscito lo stesso
    Luca went outside despite the rain

How Do I Make Congiuntivo In Italian?

The Italian congiuntivo has four different tenses:

  • presente (present),
  • passato (perfect),
  • imperfetto (imperfect) and
  • trapassato (pluperfect).

Presente and imperfetto are simple tenses, while passato and trapassato are compound tenses.

Similar to the indicative mood, when forming the subjunctive you need to change the endings of the verb and add the congiuntivo suffixes. We will see how to conjugate each tense one by one.

Congiuntivo Presente – Present Subjunctive

When forming the congiuntivo presente (Present Subjunctive) in Italian, you will add different endings for the three different verb groups (-are, -ere, -ire).

parl-are (to talk) cred-ere (to believe) part-ire (to depart)
io parl-i io cred-a io part-a
tu parl-i tu cred-a tu part-a
lui/lei parl-i lui/lei cred-a lui/lei part-a
noi parl-iamo noi cred-iamo noi part-iamo
voi parl-iate voi cred-iate voi part-iate
loro parl-ino loro cred-ano essi part-ano

The singular persons of the present subjunctive are the same. In fact, when we use the subjunctive with first, second or third person singular, it’s better to indicate the right pronoun (I, you, he, she or it), to avoid misunderstandings.

  • È meglio che io vada – I’d better go
  • È meglio che tu vada – You’d better go
  • È meglio che lui/lei vada – He/she’d better go

The verb in the first plural person noi (we) is the same of the Indicative present tense.

  • Domani parliamo con Maria (Indicative – Present tense)
    Tomorrow we talk (we’ll talk) with Maria
  • È meglio che domani parliamo con Maria (Subjunctive – Present tense)
    It’s better that tomorrow we talk with Maria

Other than expressing beliefs or doubts, the Present subjunctive is also used in the following cases:

1. To give polite orders when using the third person form:

  • Parli più lentamente, per favore
    Speak slowly, please (referred to you, singular)
  • Mi dica pure di cosa ha bisogno
    Ask me whatever you need (referred to you, singular)

2. After impersonal verbs followed by the conjunction che, such as bisogna che (it’s necessary that), basta che (it’s enough that)

  • Bisogna che tu studi di più
    It’s necessary that you study more
  • Non portare un regalo alla festa, basta che tu venga
    Do not bring any gift to the party, it’s enough that you come

Congiuntivo Passato – Perfect Subjunctive

The perfect subjunctive, or congiuntivo passato, is a compound tense formed with the auxiliary verbs essere (to be) or avere (to have) conjugated in the Subjunctive Present and the past participle of the verb indicating the action. essere and avere are irregular verbs, so let’s see first how to form their present subjunctive.



(to be)

(to have)
io sia io abbia
tu sia tu abbia
lui/lei sia lui/lei abbia
noi siamo noi abbiamo
voi siate voi abbiate
essi siano essi abbiano

So what you need to do is just pick the right auxiliary and add the past participle. The Subjunctive Perfect will eventually look like this:

parl-are cred-ere part-ire
io abbia parlato io abbia creduto io sia partito/a
tu abbia parlato tu abbia creduto tu sia partito/a
lui/lei abbia parlato lui/lei abbia creduto lui/lei sia partito/a
noi abbiamo parlato noi abbiamo creduto noi siamo partiti/e
voi abbiate parlato voi abbiate creduto voi siate partiti/e
loro abbiano parlato loro abbiano creduto essi siano partiti/e

Remember that with the verb essere (to be), you need to change the verb endings whether it refers to a man or a woman (or a group of men or women).

The congiuntivo passato is similar to the congiuntivo presente as you use it when talking about possibilities, opinions, desires, doubts. The difference is that the perfect subjunctive is used in the subordinate clause to express something that happened before the action expressed in the main clause.

  • Temo che abbia parlato troppo
    I’m afraid I said too much
  • Credo che siano partiti ieri
    I believe they left yesterday
  • Nonostante abbia studiato molto, non ha superato l’esame
    Despite studying a lot, he didn’t pass the test

Congiuntivo Imperfetto – Subjunctive Imperfect

The congiuntivo imperfetto is a simple conjugation (not composed). The Subjunctive Imperfect is also used to talk about hypothetical situations or to express a wish.

parl-are (to talk) cred-ere (to believe) part-ire (to leave)
io parl-assi io cred-essi io part-issi
tu parl-assi tu cred-essi tu part-issi
lui/lei parl-asse lui/lei cred-esse lui/lei part-isse
noi parl-assimo noi cred-essimo noi part-issimo
voi parl-aste voi cred-este voi part-iste
loro parl-assero loro cred-essero essi part-issero

It is used in the subordinate clause when the main clause has past tense, conditional tense or imperfect tense. The congiuntivo imperfetto can be used to express contemporaneity in the past or in the present between main and secondary clause.

  • Speravo che Marco parlasse con me
    I hoped that Marco would talk to me
  • Sarei felice se tu partissi in viaggio con me
    I would be happy if you left for a trip with me
  • Vorrei che mi aiutassi
    I would like you to help me

Congiuntivo Trapassato – Pluperfect Subjunctive

The congiuntivo trapassato is the fourth and last subjunctive tense. In order to construct the pluperfect subjunctive you simply use the imperfect subjunctive of the auxiliary verbs essere and avere, followed by the past participle of the main verb. Here is the imperfect subjunctive of essere and avere:



(to be)

(to have)
io fossi io avessi
tu fossi tu avessi
lui/lei fosse lui/lei avesse
noi fossimo noi avessimo
voi foste voi aveste
essi fossero essi avessero

And here is how we use them to form the pluperfect subjunctive of the regular verbs belonging to the three groups:

parl-are (to talk) cred-ere (to believe) part-ire (to leave)
io avessi parlato io avessi creduto io fossi partito/a
tu avessi parlato tu avessi creduto tu fossi partito/a
lui/lei avesse parlato lui/lei avesse creduto lui/lei fosse partito/a
noi avessimo parlato noi avessimo creduto noi fossimo partiti/e
voi aveste parlato voi aveste creduto voi foste partiti/e
loro avessero parlato loro avessero creduto essi fossero partiti/e

The congiuntivo trapassato is used when talking about the past to refer to things that had happened. It is used to describe a past action that occurred before another action described in the sentence. The verb in the main clause will be used in its past tense form, or conditional.

The congiuntivo trapassato is normally used to talk about a possibility or a necessity that didn’t happen. It corresponds to the English “I had left” structure. It is used to say what you thought, wished or hoped about something in the past, to talk about the past after impersonal verbs or after impersonal constructions:

  • Ho sperato fino all’ultimo che Marco fosse partito con te
    I hoped until the last moment that Marco had left with you
  • Sembrava che ci avesse creduto
    It seemed that he had believed that
  • Sarebbe stato meglio se ne aveste parlato
    It would have been better if you had talked about that

Expressions Used With Congiuntivo

Confused? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! The Italian Congiuntivo is a mystery to many, but the good news is that there are some key phrases triggering the subjunctive that you can learn to recognize.
If the sentence starts with a verb followed by “che”, you will need to use the subjunctive after:

expression translation in English Example
Credo che I believe that Credo che oggi faccia troppo freddo


I believe that it’s too cold today

È necessario che It’s necessary that È necessario che tu studi molto per passare l’esame


It’s necessary that you study a lot to pass the test

Ho l’impressione che I have the feeling that Ho l’impressione che tu non sia felice


I have the feeling that you’re not happy

Immagino che I imagine that Immagino che sia stata una bella esperienza


I imagine that it has been a nice experience

Mi piace che I like that Mi piace che tu sia così tenace


I like that you are so tenacious

Penso che I think that Penso che ognuno abbia ciò che merita


I think that everyone has what he deserves

Spero che I hope that Spero che tu abbia più fortuna di me


I hope that you’re luckier than me

Può darsi che Perhaps Può darsi che tu abbia ragione


Perhaps you’re right

Useful Irregular Verbs

We’ve seen how to form the subjunctive of regular verbs in all tenses: presente, passato, imperfetto and trapassato. However, Italian has many irregular verbs that are widely used and you need to know if you want to form the subjunctive properly and sound more like a native.

The first two irregular verbs that we’ll see are the auxiliary essere and avere.



(to be)

Subjunctive Present Subjunctive Perfect
io sia io sia stato/a
tu sia tu sia stato/a
lui/lei sia lui/lei sia stato/a
noi siamo noi siamo stati/e
voi siate voi siate stati/e
loro siano loro siano stati/e
Subjunctive Imperfect Subjunctive Pluperfect
io fossi io fossi stato/a
tu fossi tu fossi stato/a
lui/lei fosse lui/lei fosse stato/a
noi fossimo noi fossimo stati/e
voi foste voi foste stati/e
loro fossero loro fossero stati/e


(to have)

Subjunctive Present Subjunctive Perfect
io abbia io abbia avuto
tu abbia tu abbia avuto
lui/lei abbia lui/lei abbia avuto
noi abbiamo noi abbiamo avuto
voi abbiate voi avete avuto
loro abbiano loro abbiano avuto
Subjunctive Imperfect Subjunctive Pluperfect
io avessi io avessi avuto
tu avessi tu avessi avuto
lui/lei avesse lui/lei avesse avuto
noi avessimo noi avessimo avuto
voi aveste voi aveste avuto
loro avessero loro avessero avuto

These irregular verbs also happen to be the most important and frequently used:

  • Andare (to go): io vada, tu vada, lui/lei vada, noi andiamo, voi andiate, loro vadano
  • Dare (to give): io dia, tu dia, lui/lei dia, noi diamo, voi diate, loro diano
  • Dire (to say): io dica, tu dica, lui/lei dica, noi diciamo, voi diciate, loro dicano
  • Dovere (to have to): io debba, tu debba, lui/lei debba, noi dobbiamo, voi dobbiate, loro debbano
  • Fare (to do, to make): io faccia, tu faccia, lui/lei faccia, noi facciamo, voi facciate, loro facciano
  • Potere (to be able to): io possa, tu possa, lui/lei possa, noi possiamo, voi possiate, loro possano

You can always look up for the right conjugation for the Italian congiuntivo on a conjugator online like .

Conclusions: Do I Really Need To Know Congiuntivo?

After studying congiuntivo in Italian, most learners just want to avoid it: the good news is, you can sometimes do that (but now always!). Especially in spoken language, you can use the indicative mood instead of the subjunctive:

  • I didn’t know you arrived already
    Non sapevo che fossi già arrivato (subjunctive)
    Non sapevo che eri già arrivato (indicative)

  • Do you think that dress fits me well?
    Pensi che questo vestito mi stia bene? (subjunctive)
    Pensi che questo vestito mi sta bene? (indicative)

Congiuntivo can be hard to master, even Italian people sometimes use Indicative over subjunctive, although it is grammatically wrong.

Subjunctive is so tricky even for native speakers that there’s a common joke in Italy, saying that being able to use the congiuntivo right makes you sound sexier! So now you have one good reason more to study and practice it!

This song, presented at the Sanremo Music Festival, can give you the idea on how often even Italian speakers butcher the congiuntivo:

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.

The future tense in Italian is used to express an action that has yet to happen.

What is Italian Future Tense?

The Italian Future Tense is the equivalent of the English construction with “will” and “going to” and is made by changing the final part of the verb. For instance, the simple future tense of parlo (I talk) becomes parlerò (I will talk). There are two future tenses in Italian: Futuro semplice (Simple Future Tense) and Futuro anteriore (Future Perfect) that are used in different situations.


Giorgio arriva oggi. → Giorgio arriverà tra un mese.
Giorgio arrives today → Giorgio will arrive next month.

Oggi torno a Roma. → Il mese prossimo tornerò a Roma.
I go back to Rome today → I’m going back to Rome next month.

When To Use The Italian Future Simple Tense

The Italian futuro semplice and futuro anteriore are used in different situations. The future simple is the easiest to understand. It’s used to talk about an action that hasn’t happened yet.


Pranzeremo alle 13.
We’ll have lunch at 1pm.

Sarò in vacanza tra una settimana.
I’ll be on holiday next week.

Se non vuole venire, partirò da solo.
If he doesn’t want to come, I’ll go alone.

If you want to refresh your Italian Grammar skills, I also suggest these books to you:

How Do I Make The Simple Future Tense In Italian?

How Do I Make The Simple Future Tense In Italian?

You can form the futuro semplice of regular verbs by adding the following endings to the root of the verb, according to the three conjugations:

  1.  -are conjugation: -erò, -erai, -erà, -eremo, -erete, -eranno
  2.  -ere conjugation: -erò, -erai, -erà, -eremo, -erete, -eranno
  3.  -ire conjugation: -irò, -irai, -irà, -iremo, -irete, -iranno
subjectPARLARE   (to talk) LEGGERE   (to read) PARTIRE   (to depart)

The Italian futuro semplice (future simple) is usually accompanied by marker words such as:

  • domani (tomorrow),
  • la prossima settimana (next week),
  • tra due/tre mesi (in two/three months).

Simple Future Tense Of The Verbs Essere And Avere

Let’s now see how to conjugate the irregular auxiliary verbs essere and avere in futuro semplice. The Future Simple corresponds to the English: I will be/have, you will be/have, he will be/have… and so on:

(to be)
AVERE   (to have)
io saròio avrò
tu saraitu avrai
lui/lei saràlui/lei avrà
noi saremonoi avremo
voi saretevoi avrete
loro sarannoloro avranno

Other Uses Of The Simple Future Tense In Italian

Other Uses Of The Simple Future Tense In Italian

Sometimes, in Italian language other situations require the use of the futuro semplice:


You use the future simple to express an orderand make it sound less authoritative and strong than when using the imperative mood.


Mi farai sapere com’è andata.
You will tell me how it goes.

Pulirai tu la cucina.
You will clean the kitchen.


Or to express a hypothesis, a doubt or a guess:


Hai lavorato tutto il giorno, sarai stanco.
You worked all day, you’ll be (you must be) tired

Sono sicuro che sarete dei bravi genitori.
I’m sure you will be great as parents

Che ore sono? Saranno le 16.
What time is it? It could be (it will be) 4pm.

The Italian Futuro Anteriore

The Italian futuro anteriore (future perfect tense) generally corresponds to the English construction will be/have + past participle of the verb (i.e. “will have gone”).
However, we’ll see how you can also find it in other cases where English uses different tenses.

It is formed by using the future simple of one of the auxiliary verbs essere or avere (to be or to have) and then adding the past participle of the verb (participio passato in Italian)


Quando avrò finito di fare la doccia, uscirò.
When I finish (will have finished) my shower, I’ll go out.

Quando sarai andato via, farò la doccia.
When you’re gone (will be gone), I’ll take a shower.

When Do I Use The Future Perfect Tense In Italian?

When Do I Use The Future Perfect Tense In Italian?

The Italian futuro anteriore (future perfect tense) looks similar to the future simple, but its use is different.
There are three cases where you can use the Italian futuro anteriore:


For future actions that will be finished before another action takes place.


Quando avrò finito di mangiare, lo chiamerò.
When I’ll finish eating (will have finished eating), I’ll call him.

Quando me ne sarò andato, ti mancherò.
When I’m gone (will be gone), you’ll miss me.

Dopo che avrà smesso di piovere, usciremo.
When it stops raining (will have stopped raining), we’ll go out.

As you can see from the examples, the future perfect tense is formed by two parts:

  1. the future simple of the auxiliary verb essere/avere and
  2. the past participle of the verb indicating the action, literally translating as will have finished / will be gone / will have stopped.
    However, in some cases where Italian uses future perfect, English just uses future simple (or even past tense!).


The second case where you use the futuro anteriore is to express uncertainty about whether something happened or not, or to make an assumption.


Perché Marco ha smontato la bici? Si sarà accorto che è rotta.
Why is Marco taking his bicycle apart? He probably noticed (will probably have noticed) that it’s broken.

Temo che non avrà riparato la bici per domani.
I’m afraid he will not fix (will not have fixed) his bike by tomorrow.


Unlike English, you can even use Future Perfect to make a hypothesis about something that happened in the past and is having consequences on the present moment.


Perché è in ritardo? Avrà perso il treno.
Why is he late? Maybe he missed his train.

Paolo era molto nervoso, sarà andato male il suo colloquio di lavoro.
Paolo was very nervous, maybe his interview went wrong.

The Italian futuro anteriore can be hard to understand and use correctly.
The second and third case we described are probably the trickiest for English speakers.

No need to worry if you feel confused: remember that to make a hypothesis about something that happened in the past, you can also choose to use other words instead of forming the futuro anteriore, such as “forse – maybe, perhaps”, “magari – maybe” or “probabilmente – probably” and use a simpler tense such as passato prossimo.


Perché è in ritardo? Forse ha perso il treno.
Why is he late? Maybe he missed the train.

Paolo era molto nervoso, forse è andato male il suo colloquio di lavoro.
Paolo was very nervous, perhaps his interview went wrong.

How Do I Make The Perfect Future Tense In Italian?

Here is the future anteriore (future perfect tense), which is formed by using the future simple of the auxiliary verb essere (to be) or avere (to have) + the past participle of the verb expressing the action:

 PARLARE   (to talk) LEGGERE   (to read) PARTIRE   (to depart)
Ioavrò parlatoavrò lettosarò partito/a
tuavrai parlatoavrai lettosarai partito/a
lui/leiavrà parlatoavrà lettosarà partito/a
noiavremo parlatoavremo lettosaremo partiti/e
voiavrete parlatoavrete lettosarete partiti/e
loroavranno parlatoavranno lettosaranno partiti/e

When forming the past participle to conjugate the futuro anteriore, the endings of the past participle must change whether it refers to a female, a male or a group of people. The past participle with the verb avere remains unchanged. You will say:

  • Lui sarà andato – He will be gone
  • Lei sarà andata – She will be gone
  • Noi saremo andati – We will be gone (males)
  • Noi saremo andate – We will be gone (females)
  • Loro saranno andati – They will be gone (males)
  • Loro saranno andate – They will be gone (females)

Perfect Future Tense Of The Verbs Essere And Avere

Perfect Future Tense Of The Verbs Essere And Avere

Let’s now see how to conjugate essere and avere in futuro anteriore.

The futuro anteriore (future perfect) can be literally translated as “will have been” “will have had”:

(to be)
AVERE   (to have)
io sarò stato/aio avrò avuto
tu sarai stato/atu avrai avuto
lui/lei sarà stato/alui/lei avrà avuto
noi saremo stati/enoi avremo avuto
voi sarete stati/evoi avrete avuto
loro saranno stati/eloro avranno avuto

Other Uses Of The Perfect Future Tense In Italian

Regarding the Italian futuro anteriore (future perfect tense), we’ve seen that it can have different uses.
This tense is difficult for most English-speakers since it’s not common in everyday English.

When Italian uses the futuro anteriore, English speakers can use the future, present or even past tenses:

  • Quando avrai mangiato le verdure, ti darò il dessert
    When you finish eating your vegetables, I will give you the dessert.
    When you have finished eating your vegetables, I will give you the dessert.

If you want to translate this sentence literally, it would be:

  • When you will have finished eating your vegetables, I will give you the dessert

To understand the futuro anteriore, you need to think that it’s used to talk about a “past future” event. That is to say, a future event that it’s in the past from the perspective of a later future event. So, from a present point of view it’s a future event, but from the perspective of a later future event, it’s in the past!

Most Common Irregular Verbs In The Simple Future Tense

There are many irregular verbs commonly used in Italian that you need to know if you want to conjugate them correctly. Let’s see first how to form the futuro semplice of irregular verbs. Some irregular verbs drop the vowel at the beginning of the Future Simple suffix. Therefore, when forming futuro semplice the suffixes -erò, -erai etc. become -rò, -rai, -rà, -remo -rete, -ranno. For instance:

  • andare (to go): andr-ò, and-rai, and-rà, and-remo, and-rete, and-ranno
  • avere (to have): avr-ò, av-rai, av-rà, av-remo, av-rete, av-ranno
  • dovere (to have to): dov-rò, dov-rai, dov-rà, dov-remo, dov-rete, dov-ranno
  • potere (to be able to): pot-rò, pot-rai, pot-rà, pot-remo, pot-rete, pot-ranno
  • sapere (to know): sap-rò, sap-rai, sap-rà, sap-remo, sap-rete, sap-ranno
  • vedere (to see): ved-rò, ved-rai, ved-rà, ved-remo, ved-rete, ved-ranno
  • vivere (to live): viv-rò, viv-rai, viv-rà, viv-remo, viv-rete, viv-ranno

Some irregular verbs lose not only their endings, but also part of the root, replacing it with “rr”. Therefore, the Future Simple suffix becomes -rrò, -rrai, -rrà, -rremo, -rrete, -rranno.

For example:

  • Venire (to come) – ve-rrò, ve-rrai, ve-rrà, ve-rremo, ve-rrete, ve-rranno
  • Tenere (to hold) – te-rrò, te-rrai, te-rrà, te-rremo, te-rrete, te-rranno
  • Volere (to want): – vo-rrò, vo-rrai, vo-rrà, vo-rremo, vo-rrete, vo-rranno
  • Rimanere (to remain): – rima-rrò, rima-rrai, rima-rrà, rima-rremo, rima-rrete, rima-rranno

Another group of verbs which have their infinitives ending in –care  and –gare, will add an “h” before the Future Simple suffix, so that -erò, -erai, etc. become -herò, -herai, -herà, -heremo, -herete -heranno. This is done in order to maintain the hard â€œc” and â€œg” sounds:

  • Pagare (to pay) – pag-herò, pag-herai – pag-herà, pag-heremo, pag-herete, pag-heranno
  • Giocare (to play) – gioc-herò, gioc-herai, gioc-herà, gioc-heremo, gioc-herete, gioc-heranno

Verbs with infinitives ending in -ciare and -giare will drop the -i from the root when forming the Future Simple. So, for the verb mangiare (to eat), you will not say mangierò, but mangerò.

  • Cominciare (to start) – cominc-erò, cominc-erai, cominc-erà, cominc-eremo, cominc-erete, cominc-eranno
  • Mangiare (to eat) – mang-erò, mang-erai, mang-erà, mang-eremo, mang-erete, mang-eranno
  • Lasciare (to leave) – lasc-erò, lasc-erai, lasc-erà, lasc-eremo, lasc-erete, lasc-eranno

Other irregular verbs have to be studied by heart because they do not follow any grammatical rule:

  • Dare (to give) – darò, darai, darà, daremo, darete, daranno
  • Fare (to do/make) – farò, farai, farà, faremo, farete, faranno
  • Stare (to stay) – starò, starai, starà, staremo, starete, staranno

When forming the futuro anteriore, we’ve seen that you need to use the future simple of the irregular auxiliary essere or avere + the past participle of the verb expressing the action.
Remember that some Italian verbs also have irregular past participle, and may not follow the general rule (form ending in -ato, -uto or -ito).

The advice is to always check whether a verb is irregular or not and which auxiliary it needs in a conjugator online, like .

Do I Really Need To Know The Future Tense In Italian?

Do I Really Need To Know The Future Tense In Italian?

Sometimes, in Italian you can use the present tense to refer to the future.
This happens in three cases:


When you are talking about something that will surely happen.


Luca parte domani e torna lunedì prossimo.
Luca leaves tomorrow and comes back next Monday.

Ci vediamo domani alle 9.
We’ll meet tomorrow at 9.

Sei andato in banca? No, vado martedì.
Did you go to the bank? No, I’ll go on Tuesday.


To talk about something that you are about to do.


Esco e vado a prendere il latte.
I’m going out to buy milk.

Lascia stare, pago io.
Leave it, I’ll pay.

Io prendo un cappuccino.
I’ll have a cappuccino.

”Shall we…?”


Vado io?
Shall I go?

Apro la finestra?
Shall I open the window?

La chiamo?
Shall I call her?

For the futuro anteriore keep in mind that in everyday language it’s not wrong to use the futuro semplice instead of the futuro anteriore.


Quando Francesca arriverà, pranzeremo.
When Francesca arrives (will arrive), we’ll have lunch.

Quando smetterà di piovere, uscirò.
When it’ll stop raining, I’ll go out.

You can see that for some upcoming events, especially those that will happen shortly, Italians simply use the present tense.

However, it’s very useful to know how to form the future tense in Italian.

Now that you know how to use the Italian future tense, you can talk with your friends or family about your plans or future travels, hopefully in Italy!

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 an Italian reflexive verb?

A reflexive verb, in Italian verbo riflessivo, is a verb that ends in -si in its infinitive form (the ‘’to’’ form).
The -si in the infinitive is a reflexive pronoun and can be translated as “to self” or “to oneself” and it expresses that there is a reflection of the action on the subject.

As far as we know, all the Italian verbs end in – are, – ere, – ire in infinitive.
The reflexive verbs, instead, end in -si. All we have to do is drop the last letter -e from the infinitive form (-are, -ere, -ire) and add the reflexive pronoun si.
For example:

Non-reflexive verbs
svegliare → to wake up
sedere → to sit down
vestire → to dress

Reflexive verbs
svegliarsi → to wake oneself up
sedersi → to sit oneself down
vestirsi → to dress oneself

NOTE: Keep in mind that not all verbs can be turned into reflexive verbs. Some of them can either be used as reflexive or non-reflexive, others are used only in their reflexive form and should be memorized as such.

But, don’t worry, once you figure out when and how the reflexive verbs are used, you will start using them without even noticing!

When to use a reflexive verb in Italian?

In order to understand when to use a reflexive verb, we must first understand the relationship between the crucial parts of one simple sentence:

  • the subject: the person doing the action
  • the object: the person/object on which the action is performed
  • the verb: the action

Let’s start with an example: the verbs lavare (to wash) and lavarsi (to wash oneself).


Subject Verb Object
Io lavo i piatti
I wash the dishes
The person doing the action the action person/object on which the action is performed

In this case, the verb lavare is transitive, non-reflexive verb because the action passes from one person to another person or, in this case, object. The subject is me (io). The object are the dishes (i piatti). So, the subject and the object are not the same.


Subject Verb Object
Io lavo me stessa
I wash my self
The person doing the action the action person/object on which the action is performed

In this case, the subject and the object are the same. The person doing the washing is me (io). The person receiving the washing is again me (me stessa). Therefore, we use reflexive verbs when the action that the subject does have effects on the subject itself.

This formulation se stessi means “oneself”, or “to self” (that the action is carried out by me and to me).
Unfortunately, se stessi is used extremely rarely and we find it in the form of a reflexive pronoun, as part of the verb in the infinitive form:

Lavare se stessi → lavarsi
to wash oneself → to wash oneself

And in between the subject and the verb in the conjugated form:

Io lavo me stessa → Io mi lavo
I wash myself → I wash myself

Reflexive pronouns

The reflexive pronoun -si is needed while conjugating reflexive verbs and it changes in form depending on the subject of the sentence.

Here the chart of Italian reflexive pronouns:

Personal pronoun Reflexive pronoun Meaning
Io → mi myself
Tu → ti yourself
Lui/Lei → si himself/herself
Noi → ci ourselves
Voi → vi yourselves
Loro → si theirselves

How to conjugate reflexive verbs in present

Finally we have all the information to conjugate reflexive verbs! All you have to do is follow this simple formula:

  • subject + reflexive pronoun + verb conjugated in the present tense.
SVEGLIARSI – to wake (oneself) up
Subject Reflexive pronoun Verb Translation
(Io) mi sveglio I wake (myself) up
(Tu) ti svegli You wake (yourself) up
(Lui/Lei) si sveglia He/She wakes (himself/herself) up
(Noi) ci svegliamo We wake (ourselves) up
(Voi) vi svegliate You wake (yourselves) up
(Loro) si svegliano They wake (themselves) up

As shown on this chart, it is all very simple once you follow these few steps:

1. Pick the subject of the sentence (io, tu, lui, Marco, la mamma…)
2. Use the reflexive pronoun according to the personal pronoun (mi, ti, si, ci, vi, si).
3. Conjugate the verb as you would normally do for -are, -ere, -ire verbs.

In order to understand what conjugation to follow, drop the final -si from the infinitive and see what is the vowel before the -r-. For example the verb svegliarsi follows the -are conjugation, because there is an -a– before the -r-. The base of the verb would be svegli- to which you will have to add the right final ending connected to the subject.

Svegliarsi → svegli-ar-si → mi sveglio


alzarsi – to get up (literally: to get up yourself)
Ragazze, voi quando vi alzate? – Girls, when do you get up?

perdersi – to get lost (literally: to lose oneself)
Maria si perde sempre – Maria always gets lost

divertirsi – to have fun (literally: to enjoy oneself)
Mi diverto un sacco – I have a lot of fun.

Reflexive verbs in negative form

To make a negative sentence with reflexive verbs in Italian, just add non before the reflexive pronoun:

Subject + non + reflexive pronoun + verb

(io) Non mi diverto – I don’t have fun
(io) Non mi sono alzato in tempo – I didn’t wake up in time
(io) Non mi sono vestita bene – I didn’t dress nicely

Reflexive verbs in infinitive tense

If the verb is in the infinitive form the reflexive pronoun is attached to the verb.

Rilassarsi – to relax (oneself)
In vacanza voglio rilassarmi – On vacation I want to relax (myself).

Laurearsi – to graduate
Voglio laurearmi in Lingue.
I want to graduate in languages.

Ubriacarsi – to get drunk
Se una persona beve troppo vino, può ubriacarsi.
If a person drinks too much wine, he can get drunk.

How to conjugate reflexive verbs in passato prossimo

If you have already studied the past tense in Italian, you can continue reading, if not, I recommend reading our article on the passato prossimo first.

The structure of the sentence of reflexive verbs in past tense is the same as the one for the present the present tense:

  • Subject + reflexive pronoun + verb

The verb would be conjugated in passato prossimo, using the verb auxiliary essere and the past participle of the main verb.

Remember that when using the auxiliary essere the past participle has to agree in gender and number with the subject.

Io mi sono lavato. – I washed myself (the subject is male)
Io mi sono lavata. – I washed myself (the subject is female)
Noi ci siamo lavati. – we washed ourselves – (the subject is masculine plural)
Noi ci siamo lavate. – we washed ourselves – (the subject is feminine plural)

Here’s the example of the verb lavarsi (to wash oneself) conjugated in the past tense:

LAVARSI – to wash oneself
Subject Reflexive pronoun Verb Translation
(Io) mi sono lavato/a I washed (myself)
(Tu) ti sei lavato/a You washed (yourself)
(Lui/Lei) si è lavato/a He/She/It washed (himself/herself)
(Noi) ci siamo lavati/e We washed (ourselves)
(Voi) vi siete lavati/e You washed (yourselves)
(Loro) si sono lavati/e They washed (themselves)

In case the passato prossimo and auxilIary verbs are new subject for you, please check our lesson about passato prossimo.

Most common Italian reflexive verbs

There are plenty of reflexive verbs in Italian. Let’s take a look at some of them and their practical use in a sentence:

Reflexive verb Example

to fall asleep

Marco si addormenta sempre davanti alla TV.

Marso always falls asleep in front of the TV.


to get up

Io mi alzo presto ogni giorno.
I get up early every day.

to get bored

Lucia e Paolo si annoiano al lavoro ogni giorno.

Lucia and Paolo are bored at work every day.


to get angry

Oggi mi sono arrabbiata molto.

Today I got angry a lot.


to have fun, to enjoy oneself

Noi ci divertiamo sempre insieme.

We always have fun together.

farsi male

to get hurt, hurt oneself

Paola, ti sei fatta male?
Paola, did you hurt yourself?
innamorarsi di

to fall in love with

Mi sono innamorato di te.
I fell in love with you.

to complain

Uno si lamenta sempre della vita.

Someone always complains about life.


to wash oneself, to have a wash

Tu ti lavi sempre prima di uscire?

Do you always wash (yourself) before going out?


to graduate

Congratulazioni, ti sei finalmente laureata!

Congratulations, you are finally graduated!


to put clothes on

Marco, cosa ti metti stasera?

Marco, what are you going to wear tonight?


To move

Non ti muovere!

Don’t move!


to sit down

Lei si è seduta accanto a lui.

She sat down next to him.


to feel

Ti senti meglio oggi?

Do you feel better today?


to undress

Mi sono spogliato davanti a tutti.

I undressed myself in front of everybody.


to get married

Anna e Gianluca si sono sposati quest’anno.
Anna and Gianluca got married this year.

to wake up

Questa mattina mi sono svegliata molto presto.

This morning I woke up very early.


to move

Vi transferite a Londra?

Are you moving to London?


to get dressed

Voi vi vestite adesso? Siamo in ritardo.

Are you getting dressed now? We are late.

Different kinds of reflexive verbs in Italian

There are two more groups of reflexive verbs in Italian.

I group:
Verbi Riflessivi Reciproci – Reciprocal reflexive verbs

In these verbs the reflexive pronoun doesn’t mean “oneself”, but “to each other” or “one another”.
For example:
vedersi – to see each other
(Noi) ci vediamo domani. – We’ll see each other tomorrow.

incontrarsi – to meet each other
Dove vi incontrate? – Where will you meet (each other?)

amarsi – to love each other
(Loro) si amano tanto. – They love each other a lot.

innamorarsi – to fall in love with each other
Stefania e Nicola si sono innamorati al primo sguardo
Stefania and Nicola fell in love (with each other) at first sight.

II group:
Verbi Riflessivi Apparenti – Apparent reflexive verbs
Reflexive verbs that are not connected with the subject directly, but indirectly.

lavarsi I denti – to brush the teeth?
Quante volte al giorno ti lavi i denti?
How many times a day do you brush your teeth?

farsi la barba – shave (the beard)
Io mi faccio la barba tutti i giorni.
I shave my beard every day.

asciugarsi i capelli – to dry one’s hair
Ti sei già asciugata i capelli?
Have you already dried your hair?

farsi la doccia – take a shower
Noi ci facciamo la doccia dopo la palestra.
We take a shower after the gym.


Now you are finally able to esprimerti (express yourself) using Italian reflexive verbs.

All you need to remember is:

  • Follow the structure:subject + reflexive pronoun + verb
  • Always use the auxiliary verb essere in passato prossimo

Expose yourself as much as possible to Italian songs, Italian books and Italian news and you will be surprised how frequent reflexive verbs are!

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 a possessive adjective? 

Possessive adjectives, in Italian aggettivi possessivi, are those that indicate possession or ownership.
The Italian possessive adjectives correspond to the English “my,” “your,” “his,” “her,” “its,” “our,” and “their.”
The possessive adjectives are a fundamental part of the speech that you need to know to be able to speak Italian correctly.
In this article we’ll analyze in detail their use and form.

How do I use a possessive adjective in Italian?

In Italian, there are quite a few more possessive adjectives to master than the eight of the English language, but don’t get discouraged, it’s easier than it seems! Let’s take a look at the different possessive adjectives in Italian:

English Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
My mio miei mia mie
Your tuo tuoi tua tue
His / Her / Its suo suoi sua sue
Our nostro nostri nostra nostre
Your vostro vostri vostra vostre
Their loro loro loro loro

As you can see from the chart, the possessive adjectives change according to gender (feminine or masculine) and number (singular or plural).

However, they change according with the noun possessed, and not with the possessor. The possessive adjective in Italian will be masculine or feminine whether the possessed thing is masculine or feminine.

For instance, stanza (room) is feminine singular, so if you want to say “my room” you should use the feminine singular for “my” and so the sentence would be la mia stanza. This is the case whether it’s a man or woman talking about their room.

So the first thing you need to do is to determine gender and number of the possessed object and then modify the possessive adjective accordingly.


  • Mary ha un giardino molto grande. Il suo giardino è molto bello.
    Mary has a very big garden. Her garden is very beautiful.

As you can see, suo is used in its singular and masculine form because it does not need to agree with Mary, but with giardino (“garden”), which is a singular and masculine noun in Italian.
It may sound complicated at first, but you will find it becomes easier with practice.
A few more examples:

  • La casa di Mary. La sua casa.
    Mary’s house. Her house.
  • La casa di Paul. La sua casa.
    Paul’s house. His house.

Casa is a singular, feminine noun, and therefore the possessive adjective will be used in its singular and feminine form, no matter if the possessor is a male or a female.

  • Il libro di Mary. Il suo libro.
    Mary’s book. Her book.
  • Il libro di Paul. Il suo libro.
    Paul’s book. His book.

If the possessed object is a plural noun, you will also change the possessive adjective accordingly. First you will decide whether the possessed object is masculine or feminine, and then you will form the plural:

  • Le case di Mary. Le sue case
    Mary’s houses. Her houses
  • Le case di Paul. Le sue case
    Paul’s house. His house
  • I libri di Mary. I suoi libri.
    Mary’s books. Her books.
  • I libri di Paul. I suoi libri.
    Paul’s books. His books.

Italian possessive adjectives with definite articles 

Maybe you have noticed from the past examples that, compared to English, Italian adds something more before the possessive adjectives.

We are talking about the definite articles, or articoli determinativi. This leads us to a fundamental rule to keep in mind: the Italian possessive adjectives are always preceded by a definite article (with few exceptions that we’ll see later). Unlike English, you generally can’t start a sentence with a possessive adjective or use a possessive adjective without the right definite article before it.

  • My house is big
    Mia casa è grande X
  • His book is expensive
    Suo libro è costoso X
  • Have you seen our books?
    Hai visto nostri libri? X

These sentences are wrong in Italian, because you need to add a definite article (the) before the possessive adjective:

  • La mia casa è grande – (the) My house is big
  • Il suo libro è costoso – (the) His book is expensive
  • Hai visto i nostri libri? – Have you seen (the) our books?
  • I loro figli sono in Spagna – (the) Their sons are in Spain
  • Il tuo smartphone è costoso – (the) Your smartphone is expensive
  • I nostri vestiti sono puliti – (the) Our clothes are clean

Like the possessive adjective, also the definite article has to agree in gender and number with the noun possessed. Let’s see how to put definite articles and possessive adjectives together:

English Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
My il mio i miei la mia le mie
Your il tuo i tuoi la tua le tue
His / Her / Its il suo i suoi la sua le sue
Our il nostro i nostril la nostra le nostre
Your il vostro i vostri la vostra le vostre
Their il loro i loro la loro le loro

The possessive adjective ‘suo’

English uses his, her or its, depending if something belongs to a man, woman, thing or animal. Italian never makes this distinction, because we’ve seen that the possessive adjective will agree in gender and number with the thing possessed, and never with the owner.

  • La sua casa – His house / her house / its house
  • I suoi amici – His friends / her friends / its friends

The possessive adjective suo, sua, suoi, sue is equivalent to his, her, its and is used when the owner is only one individual: the third-person singular (he, she or it).

  • Il suo computer – his computer
  • La sua sedia – his chair
  • I suoi gatti – his cats
  • Le sue riviste – his magazines

The polite form with ‘suo’

Sometimes the third person suo is also used instead of the second-person tuo in formal contexts.
This use of the third-person has no equivalent in English.
Usually, when referring to an individual person in formal situations, Italian people use the third-person pronoun (Lei) and possessive adjective instead of the second person (tu).
If you want to be polite to someone who is older than you, or you have just met, you will not use the second-person possessive adjective tuo (your) or his variations (tua, tuoi, tue). You will instead use suo, sua, suoi, or sue (his).

  • Ecco il suo conto – Here is your bill
  • Ecco la sua fattura – Here is your invoice
  • Ecco i suoi documenti – Here are your documents
  • Ecco le sue chiavi – Here are your keys

The polite use of the third person to interact with someone in formal contexts can be tricky for English speakers, since English doesn’t make this type of distinction.
But don’t worry, Italian people won’t get offended if you sound more casual, as long as you say everything with a smile!

The possessive adjectives ‘tuo’ and ‘vostro’

In English, your is both singular and plural. The correspondent possessive adjectives in Italian are tuo (tua, tuoi, tue) and vostro (vostra, vostri, vostre). You will use tuo when the possessor is one single individual, and vostro when it’s more than one person.

  • Mi piace il tuo tavolo – I like your table (one person’s table)
  • Mi piace il vostro tavolo – I like your table (two – or more – people’s table)

The possessive adjective ‘loro’

As you can see from the Italian possessive adjective chart, the only one which remains unchanged is loro. Loro is the equivalent of the English ‘their’ and is used when the possessors are two people, or more than two. When using loro, you don’t need to modify it according to the gender or number. You only need to choose the right definite article: il, i, la, le, depending whether the possessed object is feminine or masculine and singular or plural, and finally add loro.

  • Il loro zaino – their backpack
  • I loro zaini – their backpacks
  • La loro amica – their friend (female friend)
  • Le loro amiche – their friends (female friends)

The possessive adjectives ‘proprio’ e ‘altrui’

You’ve studied the Italian possessive adjective and now you think you can use them confidently? Great! Then it’s time to add two more impersonal possessive adjective, mostly used when there is no specific possessor: proprio and altrui.


Proprio can replace the third-person possessive adjectives suo/a/e/i (his, her, its) and loro (their), but ONLY when the subject of the sentence and the possessor is the same person.
You can use proprio when you want to point out that an object belongs to a person (or people) and no one else. For instance:

  • Marco porterà il proprio zaino – Marco will bring his own backpack

In this sentence you can use either proprio or suo, since Marco is both the subject of the sentence and the owner of the backpack. If you use suo is fine as well, however, proprio reinforces the idea that the owner of the backpack is Marco.

NOTE: Never use suo + proprio or loro + proprio together, you need to pick one or the other.

The possessive adjective proprio will also follow the general rule and change according to the gender and number of the possessed object, and it must be preceded by the correct definite article.

  • Ognuno mangerà il proprio pranzo
    Everyone will eat his own lunch
  • Maria parlerà della propria esperienza
    Maria will talk about her own experience
  • Ognuno ha le proprie chiavi?
    Does everyone have his own keys?
  • Marco e Lucia hanno i propri problemi da risolvere
    Marco and Lucia have their own problems to solve


The other impersonal possessive adjective is altrui, which means “other people’s” or “of others” and indicates an indefinite possessor.
Altrui is easier to use, because it doesn’t change according to number or gender and usually follows the name of the possessed object, with this structure: definite article + name of the possessed object + altrui.

  • Devi rispettare le opinioni altrui
    You have to respect other people’s opinion
  • Non si prendono le cose altrui
    You can’t take other people’s things
  • Non mi importa del giudizio altrui
    I don’t care about the opinion of others
  • Dobbiamo tutti prestare attenzione alle esigenze altrui
    We all need to pay attention to the needs of others
  • Ficcare il naso nei fatti altrui
    Stick your nose in other people’s business

When to not use the definite article with possessive adjectives

We’ve seen that Italian possessive adjectives are preceded by a definite article. However, these articles are sometimes dropped. You can’t use the definite article with singular nouns indicating a family relationship:

  • Mio padre – my father
  • Tua madre – your mother
  • Sua sorella – his sister
  • Nostro cugino – our cousin
  • Ho incontrato vostra zia in centro – I’ve met your aunt downtown
  • Suo marito è un avvocato – Her husband is a lawyer
  • Mi piace molto sua sorella – I like her sister a lot

As you can see from the examples, you don’t need to use the definite article with singular family names even if you’re talking about the family relationship of others, not only your own. The definite article comes back in case the noun indicating a family relationship is plural:

  • I miei genitori – my parents
  • Le sue sorelle – his sisters
  • I nostri cugini – our cousins
  • I vostri nonni – your grandparents
  • I suoi fratelli sono più grandi di me – Her brothers are older than me
  • Ho visto i suoi genitori ieri – I’ve seen her parents yesterday

This rule does not apply to the possessive adjective loro. Even if loro is followed by a singular family name, it always needs the definite article:

  • Conosco bene la loro madre – I know their mother very well
  • La loro cugina è una mia cara amica – Their cousin is a dear friend of mine
  • Il loro cane è davvero adorabile – Their dog is really lovely

Omission of Italian possessive adjectives

Sometimes the Italian possessive adjectives are omitted in cases where English speakers actually use them.
This happens for instance with parts of the body or clothing. Generally, possessive adjectives are not used with parts of the body or clothing of the subject when they are the object of the action taken by the subject.


  • Mi sono lavato i denti
    I brushed my teeth (You can’t say: mi sono lavato i miei denti)
  • Gianni si è tolto il cappello
    Gianni took off his hat (and not: Gianni si è tolto il suo cappello)
  • Chiudi gli occhi
    Close your eyes (and not: chiudi i tuoi occhi)
  • Ho lasciato la borsa a casa
    I left my bag at home (and not: ho lasciato la mia borsa a casa)


There’s quite a lot to memorize in this lesson. The use of the different Italian possessive adjectives isn’t obvious at first, but with time and practice it will come naturally. Forgetting the right possessive adjective or definite article is absolutely normal, so do not be afraid to speak with natives for fear of picking the wrong one. And if you’re in doubt, remember that Italian people will always be glad to help you!