I. Present tense of andare, dare, fare, stare

Of the verbs with infinitives ending in –are (first conjugation), all but four are regular. Memorize the present indicative of the four exceptions

andare– “to go”                      fare– “to do,” “to make”

vado        andiamo                      faccio (or: fo)         facciamo

vai           andate                          fai                        fate

va            vanno                           fa                        fanno

dare– “to give”                     stare– “to stay,” “to stand,” “to be” (referring to health)

do          diamo                         sto               stiamo

dai         date                            stai              state

dà         danno                         sta               stanno

NOTE:

  1. When andare is used reflexively, along with the particle ne, it has the meaning of “to leave” or “to go away.” In the infinitive form, the reflexive pronoun and ne are attached to the end of the verb: andarsene.(Si becomes se before ne; similarly, mi, ti, ci, and vi become me, te, ce, and ve before ne.) Thus, me ne vado = “I am leaving” or “I am going away,” te ne vai = “you are leaving/going away,” etc.
  2. Stare is frequently used with the present participle2 of another verb to form a present progressive tense, and to insist that an action is (or was) in progress. Thus sto lavorando may mean “I am in the process of working” or “I am in the act of working”; this is more forceful than the simple present lavoro (“I work,” “I am working,” “I do work”).

2 The present participles of all regular –are verbs, and those of andare, dare, and stare, and in –ando (parlando, andando, etc); those of fare and of –ere and –ire verbs end in –endo (facendo, vendendo, sentendo, etc.) For uses of the present participle, see Unit 9.


VOCABULARY

a che ora

at what time (when)

*chiamare
to call
*felice
happy
*pane (m.)
bread
paragonare

to compare
*può
can, may, is able (3rd sing. potere)
*qui
here
rassomigliare
to resemble
ricchezza
wealth, riches
*se
if
*sempre
always
sette
seven
specchio
mirror
tenero
tender
vestirsi
to get dressed, to dress

 

Last revised on October 1, 2018.

II. Position of adjectives

Most adjectives in Italian follow the noun they modify, particularly adjectives of color, nationality, and religion.

un vino rosso – “a red wine”

un ragazzo italiano – “an Italian boy”

una chiesa cattolica – “a Catholic church”  

REMEMBER: Adjectives of nationality and religion (and any other adjectives derived from proper names, such as machiavellico– “Machiavellian”) are not capitalized in Italian.

The following adjectives always precede the noun.

  1. Altro: l’altro signore – “the other gentleman”
  2. Demonstrative adjectives: questa (quella) stanza-“this (that) room”
  3. Interrogative adjectives: Quanti (qualli) ragazzi?-“How many (which) children?
  4. Quantitative adjectives (molto, qualche, parecchi, etc.): molte ragazze– “many girls,” qualche amico4-“a few friends,” parecchi libri-“several books.
  5. Cardinal numbers: quattro fratelli-“four brothers”
  6. The following adjectives usually precede the noun.
  7. Possessive adjectives: il mio libro-“my book”
  8. Ordinal numbers: il secondo giorno-“the second day”
  9. The following are very common descriptive adjectives:
bello
beautiful
brutto
ugly
buono
good
cattivo
bad
nuovo
new
antico
ancient
giovane
young
vecchio
old
grande
big, large
piccolo
little, small
lungo
long
breve
short
Last revised on January 30, 2017.

III. Regular comparison of adjectives and adverbs

Comparative of inequality (more, less..than): “More” and “less” are expressed by più and meno, respectively; “than” is expressed by di before noun, a pronoun, or a numeral

di quell che before a clause

che in most other cases

Carlo è più ricco di Giuseppe. –“Charles is richer than Joseph.”

Maria è meno bella di essa. –“Mary is less beautiful than she (is not as beautiful as she).”

Egli fa più di quell che dice. –“He does more than he says.”

Ci sono più alunni che libri. –“There are more pupils than (there are) books.”


Relative superlative (the largest, the smallest, the least rapidly, etc.): The relative superlative is formed by placing the definite article before più or meno.

Essa è la più ricca. –“She is the richest.”

Essa parla il più rapidamente di tutti. –“She speaks the most rapidly of all.”

Giovanni è il meno intelligente della classe. –“John is the least intelligent in (of) the class.”

But when the adjective is one which follows the noun it modifies, the definite article is not used with più or meno:

Giovanni è lo studente meno intelligente della classe. –“John is the least intelligent student in the class.”

Note that the word in after a superlative is expressed by di (del, della, etc.) in Italian.


VOCABULARY

alto
tall; high
avere..anni
to be..years old
bottiglia
bottle
guadagnare
to earn
moglie (f.)
wife
salute (f.)
health
sventura
misfortune
venticinque
twenty-five

 

Last revised on January 30, 2017.

IV. Irregular comparison of adjectives and adverbs

Certain adjectives and adverbs have irregular comparative and superlative forms. The most common of these follow:

ADJECTIVES

(positive) (comparative) (relative superlative)
buono     “good” migliore     “better” il migliore     “best”
cattivo   “bad” peggiore     “worse” il peggiore     “worst”
grande    “large” maggiore     “older”5 il maggiore     “oldest”5
piccolo   “small” minore       “younger”5 il minore     “youngest”5

ADVERBS

bene      “well” meglio       “better” il meglio       “best”
male      “badly” peggio       “worse” il peggio       “worst”
molto6    “much” più          “more” il più          “most”
poco6     “little, not

very (much)”

meno         “less” il meno         “least”

5 Compare the meanings of the regular forms: più grande = “larger,” più piccolo = “smaller,” etc. Maggiore is also used to mean “greater” or “larger,” and minore is also used to mean “smaller.”

6 molto and poco are also adjectives.


VOCABULARY

 bugia
lie
 *forse
perhaps
 giocare
to play (a game or sport)
 lettura
reading
 piacciono
please (3d. pl., piacere)
 scritto
writting
 *solo
only(adv.), alone(adj.)
 viciono
near
 *volta
time, occurrence, instance
Last revised on October 5, 2017.

V. Imperfect tense

The endings of the imperfect indicative (also called past descriptive) of all Italian verbs (except essere) are –vo, –vi, –va, –vamo, –vate, –vano. Except in a very few cases, these endings are attached to the vowel immediately preceding the last r of the infinitive. The imperfect indicative may be translated three ways. For example, parlavo may be translated “I was speaking,” “I used to speak,” or “I spoke.”

parlare-“to speak”                          avere-“to have”

parlavo          parlavamo               avevo             avevamo

parlavi           parlavate                 avevi             avevate

parlava          parlavano                aveva             avevano

divertirsi-“to amuse oneself,” “to enjoy oneself,”

“to have a good time”

mi divertivo                  ci divertivamo

ti divertivi                    vi divertivate

si divertiva                   si divertivano

The imperfect of essere is as follows.

ero                     eravamo

eri                      eravate

era                     erano

The imperfect of fare uses the stem fac-: facevo, facevi, etc.


The imperfect tense is used as follows:

  1. To express incomplete past action, that is, action that was going on at some time in the past (without reference to when it started or ended).

Ella parlava mentre io lavoravo. –“she was speaking while I was working.”

  1. To express habitual or repeated action in the past-something which regularly or repeatedly occurred during some past time.

Andavo a scuola ogni giorno quando ero ragazzo. –“I went [or “used to go”] to school every day when I was a boy.”

  1. To describe a condition which existed at some time in the past (without reference to when it started or ended).

Era molto bella; aveva lunghi capelli neri. –“She was very beautiful; she had long black hair.”


VOCABULARY A

Learn all items.

giovane
young
occuparsi
to be busy at; to attend to
ieri
yesterday
mattina
morning
passeggiata
walk, stroll
pranzo
lunch
presto
early

VOCABULARY B

 a.C. (=avanti Cristo)
B.C.
 allietare
to gladden
 *bene (m.)
good, happiness
cagione (f.)
cause
 campo
field
 colto
cultured
 conosce
know (3d. sing., conoscere)
 disgraziatamente
unfortunately
 godere
to enjoy
 magro
poor, short
 mai
ever
 non..mai
never
o..O 
either..or
*ognuno     everyone *perciò     therefore *prima      before
prodotto    produced (part part., produrre) *qualche
some, a few
scarso
poor, lacking
*secolo  century
simile (m.)
fellowman
udito
heard
*verso
around, about;toward
vicende (f.pl.)
vicissitudes

 

Last revised on October 1, 2018.