I. Possessives (continued from Unit 3)

The complete list of possessives is as follows:

Masculine

Singular

Masculine

Plural

Feminine

Singular

Feminine

Plural

Meanings
il mio i miei la mia le mie my, mine
il tuo i tuoi la tua le tue your, yours (familiar)
il suo i suoi la sua le sue his, her, hers, its
il Suo i Suoi la Sua le Sue your, yours (polite)
il nostro i nostri la nostra le nostre our, ours
il Vostro i vostri la vostra le vostre your, yours (familiar)
il loro i loro la loro le loro their, theirs
il Loro i Loro la Loro le Loro your, yours (polite)

 

  1. The possessives listed above may be used either as adjectives or as pronouns.

Roberto cerca il suo cappello e il mio. –“Robert is looking for his hat and mine.”

  1. The definite article is part of the possessive, but it is sometimes omitted with certain singular, unmodified nouns denoting close relationship.

il mio cappello or il cappello mio –“my hat”

le sue opere or le opere sue –“his works”

mio padre, mia sorella –“my father, my sister”

  1. The definite article of the possessive contracts with prepositions in the same way as has already been discussed. (See section on contractions, Unit 3).

nei miei libri –“in my books”


VOCABULARY

*debolezza
weakness
*essere (m.)
being
età
age; ages
fanciullo
child
genitori (m. pl.)
parents
indirizzato
directed
*noia
boredom
*piacere (m.)
pleasure
*saper [=sapere]
to know, to know how to
*senza
without
*vizio
vice

 

Last revised on October 9, 2018.

II. Past participle

The past participles of the three conjugations of regular verbs end in —ato (parlato), —uto (venduto), and —ito (sentito), respectively.

The past participle of avere is regular: avuto

The past participle of essere is irregular: stato.

The past participle of an Italian verb has literally the same meaning as the English past participle equivalent. Thus, parlato means “spoken”; finito, “finished,” etc.

In Italian as in English, the past participle has two uses: as an adjective (in which case it agrees with the noun or pronoun it modifies: una donna preoccupata – a worried woman) and as a part of the verb, to make the perfect (compound) tenses.

Last revised on February 6, 2018.

III. Present perfect (also called the simple past)

In Italian, the present perfect tense (il passato prossimo) consists of the present of one of two auxiliary verbs (avere or essere) plus the past participle. When auxiliary essere is used, it is translated by the appropriate form of the verb “to have.”

parlare                                 essere

ho parlato                          sono stato (-a)

hai parlato                         sei stato (-a)

ha parlato                          è stato (-a)

abbiamo parlato                siamo stati (-e)

avete parlato                     siete stati (-e)

hanno parlato                    sono stati (-e)


The present perfect has three possible translations. Thus, ho parlato may mean “I have spoken,” “I spoke,” or “I did speak,” depending on the context.

When essere is used as the auxiliary verb, the past participle must agree in gender and number (ex. Maria è stata in Italia. – Maria has been to Italy.). When avere is used as the auxiliary verb, it generally does not change, unless there is a preceding direct object pronoun, in which case the past participle agrees with the pronoun in gender and number (ex. Ho visto Stefania. – I saw Stefania. |vs| L’ho vista. – I saw her.)

Venire (to come) and rimanere (to remain) are sometimes used as auxiliaries in the simple tenses of the passive, instead of essere. Andare (to go) is similarly used but often implies duty or obligation.

I ladri vennero arrestati. – The thieves were arrested.

Rimase sorpresa. – She was surprised.

Il fucile non va toccato. – The gun must not (is not to) be touched.

The majority of verbs (all transitive verbs) use avere as the auxiliary verb.

The auxiliary verb essere is used when conjugating:

  1. the verb essere;
  2. all reflexive verbs;
  3. almost all intransitive verbs denoting motion or change of condition (andare, stareentrare, arrivarepartire, diventaredivenire, nascere, morire, etc.); and
  4. a few impersonal verbs such as piovere (to rain) and nevicare (to snow). (Note: these two verbs may also be conjugated with avere.)

VOCABULARY

*anche se
even if, even though
appartenesse
he belonged (3d.sing. impf. subj., appartenere)
*attraverso
through
*benché
although, though
biglietto
ticket
cuore (m.)
heart
*essendo
being (pres. part., essere)
le ha dato
s/he gave to her… (le=to her)
le quali
which
*lontano
far, distant
*pensiero
thought
*riconoscere
to recognize
scandagliare
to sound, to fathom
scelleratezza
wickedness
*scrittore
writer
sostanzioso
rich, meaty
specchiarsi
to look at oneself (cf. specchio, mirror)
stamane
this morning

 

Last revised on February 6, 2018.

IV. Relative pronouns

  1. The most common relative pronouns are che, cui, and il quale. They all mean “who,” “whom,” “which,” or “that,” and are used in different ways according to context.

NOTE: Il quale has four forms (il quale, la quale, i quali, le quali). Since il quale and the three other forms agree in gender and number with the antecedent to which they refer, they are used in place of che when needing to avoid ambiguity.

Ex. Il fratello di Maria, il quale è artista, se ne va con Luigi. (Maria’s brother, who is an artist, is leaving with Luigi.) If we were to use che here — Il fratello di Maria, che è artista…– we cannot tell if the artist is Maria or her brother. “Il quale” is more specific, and tells us that is the brother who is the artist.

  1. The relative pronoun “what” meaning “that which” is expressed by quel chequello che or ciò che.
    1. Avete quel che cerco? – Do you have what I am looking for? (Do you have that which I am looking for?)
  2. The relative pronoun chi means “he who,” “him who,” “the one who,” “whoever,” or “anyone who.” This is often used in proverbs, as in “Chi cerca trova.” – “Seek and you shall find.” (Literally, “He who seeks finds.”)
  3. The relative pronoun “whose” is usually expressed by il cui (la cui, i cui, le cui).
    1. È il signore la cui figlia ama Franco. – He is the gentleman whose daughter loves Franco.

VOCABULARY

accoppiare
to couple, unite
*conoscere
to know
cugino
cousin
divenuto
become (past part. of the verb divenire)
sperimentare
to experience
fratellanza
brotherhood, fraternity
furberia
cunning
*insieme
together
paura
fear
piacere
(v.) to please; (noun, m.sing.) pleasure
*piano (adv.)
slowly
*quello (adj.)
that
sano
healthy
squisito
exquisite
*stesso
very (adj.); same; (one’s self)

 

Last revised on February 6, 2018.