Verb Drills 1 - Lesson 11
Italian verbs in the Passato Prossimo (irregular past participles)After this class you should;
be able to conjugate regular verbs in the passato prossimo
understand the difference between the passato prossimo and the imperfetto
Conjugating regular Italian verbs in the Passato ProssimoThe Passato Prossimo is most often used like what we would call the "Simple Past" or "Present Perfect". It is formed by using either the verb essere or avere in the present tense followed by the past participle of the verb you want to use. For Example if you wanted to say "I ate" you would first conjugate avere in the present tense and then follow it with mangiato, the past participle for mangiare. With the subject pronoun included it would look like this;
Io ho mangiato (I ate or I have eaten)
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 but first here are the past participle endings for all regular verbs;
To conjugate the regular ARE verbs in the passato prossimo = conjugated auxiliary verb + (infinitive verb – infinitive ending = verb stem + past participle ending) = conjugated verb. Example;
Abbiamo (to have for we) + [Parlare (To Speak) - are = Parl + ato (past pariciple ending)] = Abbiamo Parlato (We spoke or we have spoken)
Parlare conjugated in the passato prossimo
To conjugate the regular ERE verbs in the passato prossimo = conjugated auxiliary verb + (infinitive verb – infinitive ending = verb stem + past participle ending) = conjugated verb. Example;
Abbiamo (to have for we) + [Credere (To Believe) - ere = Cred + uto (past pariciple ending)] = Abbiamo Creduto (We believed or we have believed)
Credere conjugated in the passato prossimo
To conjugate the regular IRE verbs in thepassato prossimo = conjugated auxiliary verb + (infinitive verb – infinitive ending = verb stem + past participle ending) = conjugated verb. Example;
Abbiamo (to have for we) + [Sentire (To Hear) - ire = Sent + ito (past pariciple ending)] = Abbiamo Sentito (We heard or we have heard)
Credere conjugated in the passato prossimo
Choosing the correct auxiliary verb when using Passato Prossimo
The book "English Grammar for Students of Italian" says regarding auxiliary verb selection for 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 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 è andato (he went) or Lei è andata (she went)
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 passato prossimo = conjugated auxiliary verb + (infinitive verb – infinitive ending = verb stem + past participle ending that agrees in gender and number) = conjugated verb. Example;
siamo (to be for we) + [Andare (To go) - are = And + ati (past pariciple ending for masculine plural)] = Siamo Andati (We went or we have gone)
Andare conjugated in the passato prossimo
As with all other tenses, there are verbs that are irregular, this time by having irregular past participles. These past participles will have to be committed to memory in order to learn them. A list of the more common irregular past participles will appear in the vocabulary section of this lesson
Basic Exercise on auxiliary verb selection for passato prossimo
advanced online exercise
|Printable Practice Sheets|
|printable comprehension crossword|
useful Italian phrase;
Class DialogTry to learn how to say everything below in Italian (using the simple present tense for the progressive present), print out and bring the printable form of this dialog and be prepared to say the dialog below for one of the persons in class.
Person #1 – Good evening and welcome. What would y’all desire (desiderate)?
Person #2 – We need a table for four please.
Person #1 – Did you make a reservation (prenotazione)?
Person #2 – Yes, I called yesterday (ieri) and made a reservation? My name is Mr. Rossi.
Person #1 – I am sorry (mi dispiace), I did not see it. Do you know with whom (con cui) you spoke?
Person #2 – Stefano, he said that he wrote our name in the book.
Person #1 – Here it is! Your name, but I only see a reservation for two. Were four people included in this reservation?
Person #2 – Yes, four people were included, Did you read it correctly (correttamente)?
Person #3 – Y’all have discussed this enough (abastanza)! The restaurant is not full (pieno). Can we have a table for four please?
Person #2 – Yes, it is not a problem. Here is a table for four.
Person #1 – Have you been here before?
Person #3 – Yes, we were here last week? I drank the House Chianti.
Person #1 – Was it good? Did you like it?
Person #3 – Actually no, it was not good. I didn’t like it (non mi piaceva).
Person #1 – Really? What did you eat?
Person#3 – I ate the steak and potatoes, they ate the fish and pasta.
Person#1 – Was the food good?
Person#3 – No, the food had a bad flavor (sapore).
Person #1 – Why did you decide to bring us here?
Person #2 – I don’t know! We need to leave!
Person #1 – I agree. Let’s go!
printable class dialog
You can learn more about the Passato Prossimo on these pages of the following books.
73 - 75 & 77 - 79 of the book "English Grammar for Students of Italian" by Sergio Adorni and Karen Primorac, copyright 1995.
114 - 119 (page #'s may vary as I have an older edition) of "Ciao" by Carla Federici & Carla Larese Riga, copyright 1986.
124 - 131 of the book "Complete Italian Grammar" by Marcel Dansesi, copyright 1976.
249 - 257 of the book "Italian Grammar Drills" by Paola Nanni-Tate, copyright 2007.
50 -60 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?" Campania is a region in south Italy, on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The two islands of Capri and Ischia belong to the region of Campania as well. Its capital is Naples. Other cities include Mondragone, Caserta, Benevento, Avellino, Salerno, Sorrento and Agropoli.
Campania is bordered by Basilicata on the east, Apulia on the northeast, Molise on the north and Lazio on the northwest. The southwestern shores as washed by the Tyrrhenian Sea, including the Gulf of Naples and Gulf of Salerno.
The Apennine mountain chain runs through the Campania (Appennino Campano, Appennino Sannio, Irpinia, Cilento), the highest point of which is Monte Miletto at 2050 meters. Mount Vesuvius is is a volcano east of Naples. The most important river flowing through Campania is the Volturno."
This information about Lazio obtained from http://www.freeworldmaps.net/europe/italy/political.html
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