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Italian Present Indicative: Regular, Irregular, Essere and Avere

written by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • edited by: Tricia Goss • updated: 1/5/2012

Are you studying the Italian present tense? Learn how to conjugate Italian verbs in the present indicative tense. Explains regular verb conjugation, irregular verb conjugation, as well as conjugating the verbs essere and avere.

  • slide 1 of 4

    When is Present Indicative Used?

    Present indicative tense in Italian is very similar to present tense in English. Present indicative is used when the action:

    1) is taking place habitually;

    2) is taking place at the moment of speaking;

    3) has a future meaning.

    When conjugating Italian verbs in the present indicative tense, the verb will fall into either the regular or irregular category. Essere (to be) and avere (to have) are two special verbs in Italian that have their own conjugation, and will be essential when using Italian in the past tense.

  • slide 2 of 4

    Regular Verbs

    Italian regular verbs are the easiest to conjugate, since they follow a specific pattern. Three groups of regular verbs exist: -are verbs, -ere verbs and -ire verbs.

    -Ire verbs can be a tad tricky, since there are some variations in the endings. Therefore, we will have two -ire verb examples: sentire and finire.

    Before beginning a conjugation, students should familiarize themselves with the six persons: three singular persons and three plural persons: io (I), tu (you), lui and lei (he and she), noi (we), voi (you—plural) and loro (they).

    -Are verbs are regular verbs that have the ending -are. To conjugate, remove the -are and add the appropriate endings. In this example, we will use the verb cantare (to sing):

    io cant- o

    tu cant- i

    lui/lei cant- a

    noi cant- iamo

    voi cant- ate

    loro cant- ano

    The same process is done for -ere verbs, like the verb vedere (to see):

    io ved- o

    tu ved- i

    lui/lei ved- e

    noi ved- iamo

    voi ved- ete

    loro ved- ono

    Notice the endings for -are verbs and -ere verbs are similar, except for the changes on the third person singular, second person plural and third person plural. This pattern continues with some of the -ire verbs, like sentire (to hear):

    io sent- o

    tu sent- i

    lui/lei sent- e

    noi sent- iamo

    voi sent- ite

    loro sent- ono

    However, other -ire verbs, like finire (to finish) follow a different ending pattern:

    io fin- isc- o

    tu fin- isc- i

    lui/lei fin- isc- e

    noi fin- iamo

    voi fin- ite

    loro fin- isc- ono

    Common -ire verbs that are conjugated like sentire include aprire (to open), coprire (to cover), divertirsi (to enjoy oneself), dormire (to sleep), offrire (to offer), partire (to leave), seguire (to follow), servire (to serve/need), soffrire (to suffer) and vestire (to dress).

    Common -ire verbs that are conjugated like finire include capire (to understand), colpire (to hit), costruire (to build), fornire (to supply), guarire (to get better), preferire (to prefer), pulire (to clean), sostituire (to substitute), spedire (to send) and unire (to join).

  • slide 3 of 4

    Irregular Verbs

    Italian irregular verbs are verbs that do not fit into regular conjugation endings. We will go over the conjugation of the most common irregular verbs in Italian. Students should memorize these conjugations:

    potere (can)

    io posso

    tu puoi

    lui/lei può

    noi possiamo

    voi potete

    loro possono

    piacere (to like)

    io piaccio

    tu piaci


    noi piacciamo

    voi piacete

    loro piacciono

    fare (to do, to make)

    io faccio

    tu fai

    lui/lei fa

    noi facciamo

    voi fate

    loro fanno

    volere (to want)

    io voglio

    tu vuoi

    lui/lei vuole

    noi vogliamo

    voi volete

    loro vogliono

    bere (to drink)

    io bevo

    tu bevi

    lui/lei beve

    noi beviamo

    voi bevete

    loro bevono

    dare (to give)

    io do

    tu dai

    lui/lei dà

    noi diamo

    voi date

    loro danno

    dovere (must)

    io devo

    tu devi

    lui/lei deve

    noi dobbiamo

    voi dovete

    loro devono

    andare (to go)

    io vado

    tu vai

    lui/lei va

    noi andiamo

    voi andate

    loro vanno

    dire (to say)

    io dico

    tu dici

    lui/lei dice

    noi diciamo

    voi dite

    loro dicono

    sapere (to know)

    io so

    tu sai

    lui/lei sa

    noi sappiamo

    voi sapete

    loro sanno

    stare (to stay)

    io sto

    tu stai

    lui/lei sta

    noi stiamo

    voi state

    loro stanno

    uscire (to go out)

    io esco

    tu esci

    lui/lei esce

    noi usciamo

    voi uscite

    loro escono

  • slide 4 of 4

    Essere and Avere

    Essere and avere are two very important verbs in Italian that have irregular conjugations. Students should also memorize these conjugations:

    essere (to be)

    io sono

    tu sei

    lui/lei è

    noi siamo

    voi siete

    loro sono

    avere (to have)

    io ho

    tu hai

    lui/lei ha

    noi abbiamo

    voi avete

    loro hanno


  • Mezzadri, Marco. Essential Italian. Guerra Edizioni, 2004