Enhanced Comprehensive Italian Level 2 - Lesson #12
The trapassato prossimo and more irregular past participlesAfter this class you should;
to understand the difference between the passato and trapassato prossimo tenses.
to be able to determine when to use the trapassato prossimo.
to be able to conjugate Italian verbs in the trapassato prossimo.
Conjugating regular Italian verbs in the Trapassato ProssimoThe Trapassato Prossimo is used for an action that happened before another one in the past. The other past tenses may be used for the other action meaning, passato prossimo, passato remoto, imperfect, etc. The Trapassato Prossimo ("Past Perfect" or "Pluperfect") is formed by using either the verb essere or avere in the imperfect tense followed by the past participle of the verb you want to use. For Example if you wanted to say "I ate after he arrived" you would first identify which action happened first. In this case it is "he arrived" thus this is the verb that needs to be conjugated in the trapassato prossimo (the other or "I ate" in the passato prossimo). You would first conjugate essere in the imperfect tense and then follow it with arrivato, the past participle for arrivare. With the subject pronouns included it would look like this;
Io ho mangiato dopo lui era arrivato.
Regular past participles are easy to form. You simple remove the infinitive ending and apply the past participle ending as shown below;
Verbs ending in ARE use ATO, for example; mangiare - are = mangi + ato = mangiato
Verbs ending in ERE use UTO, for example; credere - ere = cred + uto = creduto
Verbs ending in IRE use ITO, for example; finire - ire = fin + ito = finito
There are many verbs that use an irregular past participle. These you will need to commit to memory and many of these can be found on pages 54 & 55 of Italian Verb Drills by Paola Nanni-Tate I like to use math equations as an example of conjugating verbs in various tenses but first here are the past participle endings for all regular verbs;
To conjugate the regular ARE verbs in the trapassato prossimo = conjugated auxiliary verb + (infinitive verb – infinitive ending = verb stem + past participle ending) = conjugated verb. Example;
Avevamo (to have for we in the imperfect) + [Parlare (To Speak) - are = Parl + ato (past pariciple ending)] = Avevamo Parlato (we had spoken)
Parlare conjugated in the trapassato prossimo
To conjugate the regular ERE verbs in the trapassato prossimo = conjugated auxiliary verb + (infinitive verb – infinitive ending = verb stem + past participle ending) = conjugated verb. Example;
Avevamo (to have for we in the imperfect) + [Credere (To Believe) - ere = Cred + uto (past pariciple ending)] = Avevamo Creduto (we had believed)
Credere conjugated in the trapassato prossimo
To conjugate the regular IRE verbs in the trapassato prossimo = conjugated auxiliary verb + (infinitive verb – infinitive ending = verb stem + past participle ending) = conjugated verb. Example;
Avevamo (to have for we in the imperfect) + [Sentire (To Hear) - ire = Sent + ito (past pariciple ending)] = Avevamo Sentito (we have heard)
Sentire conjugated in the trapassato prossimo
Choosing the correct auxiliary verb when using the Trapassato Prossimo
The selection of which auxiliary verb to use with the Trapassato Prossimo is the same as the Passato Prossimo:
"1. All transitive verbs (the verbs which can take a direct object...) use the auxiliary avere.
2. All reflexive verbs use the auxiliary essere ...
3. Intrasitive verbs ... can use avere or essere ..."
Due to the third point, some memory work is required to determine which verbs use essere. You can find a list of common verbs conjugated with Essere in the Passato Prossimo on page 53 of the book Verb Drills by Paola Nanni-Tate
It is important to note here than when you use a verb in the the Trapassato Prossimo as with the Passato Prossimo with the verb essere, the past participle must agree with the subject in gender and number. For example the verb andare or "to go"
Lui era andato (he had gone) or Lei era andata (she had gone)
Gli uomini sono andanti (the men went) or Le donne sono andate (the women went)
As is always the case with gender when the plural subject is a mix of masculine and feminine you use the masculine. Now lets look at the verb Andare in the trapassato prossimo = conjugated auxiliary verb + (infinitive verb – infinitive ending = verb stem + past participle ending that agrees in gender and number) = conjugated verb. Example;
eravamo (to be for we in the imperfect) + [Andare (To go) - are = And + ati (past pariciple ending for masculine plural)] = eravamo Andati (We had gone)
Andare conjugated in the trapassato prossimo
basic online exercise
Printable large flash cards (English Side)
Printable large flash cards (Italian Side)
Printable small flash cards (English Side)
Printable small flash cards (Italian Side)
Exercise (Italian to English)
Exercise (English to Italian)
|Printable Practice Sheets|
|printable comprehension crossword|
Useful Italian question;
Che gusti ha?
What flavors do you have?
Class DialogLearn how to say everything below in Italian, print out and bring the printable form of this dialog and be prepared to say the dialog below for one of the persons in clas
Person #1 – Hi _________. How are you?
Person #2 – Hi _________, So, so. And you? How are you? Would you like an appetizer?
Person #1 – Not too bad, did you go to Ann’s birthday party? Sure, I will eat an appetizer.
Person #2 –I went but I didn’t see any party!
Person #1 – What do you mean you didn’t see any party?
Person #2 – They had already left before I arrived!
Person #1 – What time did you go to the party?
Person #2 – I arrived at Peter’s at 7:00.
Person #1 – At Peters? Why did you go to Peter’s? Don’t you remember that I had told you yesterday the party was at the park!
Person #2 – Now I remember! You are right! You did tell me that the party was at the park.
Person #1 – Don’t worry, there were a lot of people there. They probably didn’t notice that you didn’t come.
Person #2 – Really? You think they didn’t even notice that I hadn’t come? Am I that boring?
Person #1 – I am sorry, I didn’t mean to say that you were boring. I didn’t want you to feel sad because I know that you had had a bad week. I heard your mouse died.
Person #2 – Yes. I didn’t know he was sick until yesterday. When I finally took him to the hospital he had already died.
Person #1 – Remember, he is in a better place now.
Person#2 – I don’t think so.
Person#1 – Why don’t you think he is in a better place? Was he a mean mouse?
Person#2 – No but I used him for the meat I needed to make the appetizers.
printable class dialog
You can learn more about INSERT TOPIC HERE on these pages of the following books.
83 - 85 of the book "English Grammar for Students of Italian" by Sergio Adorni and Karen Primorac, copyright 1995.
192 & 193 (page #'s may vary as I have an older edition) of "Ciao" by Carla Federici & Carla Larese Riga, copyright 1986.
147 - 148 of the book "Complete Italian Grammar" by Marcel Dansesi, copyright 1976.
273 - 275 of the book "Italian Grammar Drills" by Paola Nanni-Tate, copyright 2007.
61 - 64 of the book "Italian Verb Drills" (Third Edition) by Paola Nanni-Tate, copyright 2011.
If you do not own these books, don't worry, it is not mandatory that you do unless you were instructed to buy them at the beginning of the class. However, they can be very useful in a lot of ways and if you would like to know more about these books and where to buy them, simply go to our online bookstore or quicker yet, just click on the appropriate book below.
Did you know?"Corleone, the "City of One Hundred Churches", is a small town encircled by cliffs that time has modeled in shape of fortifications and towers, with a charming landscape dominated by the "Twin Rocks"."
While in Corleone, you may want to see some or all of the following; The Saracena tower, the Cathedral of San Martino Vescovo of the late 1300’s, the Santuario della Madonna del Rosario di Tagliavia, and the Bosco della Ficuzza, one of the richest and most charming forests in Sicily.
You can find this information and more at Italy World Club - Corleone, Sicily, Italy
You can see a just few pictures of Corleone here.
Have you heard?This time I did something a little different in that there are no Italian words to try to translate, no edgy sounds, no strong modern dance beat but the none the less I felt almost constrained to share this music with you. You will understand when you listen to it. I miei amici, vi presento ... Ludovico Einaudi
great songs are available on --->
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