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Selina Pascale

Selina Pascale


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About Me:I'm a graduate student studying International Criminal Law and first started writing for King's News almost 4 years ago! My hobbies include reading, travelling and charity work. I cover many categories but my favourite articles to write are about mysteries of the ancient world, interesting places to visit, the Italian language and animals!

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Verbs: -are, -ere, ire!

Verbs: -are, -ere, ire!

Some say the hardest thing about learning Italian is conjugating the verbs! It isn’t just a problem for keen learners – even Italians use the wrong verbal form sometimes! In fact throughout elementary (6-10) and middle school (11-13) a hefty part of a students’ homework consists of writing the conjugations of verbs, a long tedious task but it does actually help us learn them!

In Italian there are three conjugations, like in French!

The first is ‘– are’, the second is ‘–ere’ and the third is ‘– ire’. Conjugations can be traced all the way back to Latin (which has four conjugations!) and are typical of multiple romance languages. Some irregular verbs do exists and will need to be learnt off by heart, like some irregular English verbs we know. Conjugations follow a specific pattern, whilst the beginning of the verb usually remains the same the end, of suffix, changes depending on the person and verbal tense.



Verbal tenses indicate the verb’s place in time, which can be present, past or future. Verbal tenses can also indicate whether an action has stopped or is continuous, for example ‘I have been playing the flute since the age of nine’ means that the action is continuous and I am still playing the flute now. On the other hand ‘I got an A on the test’ is an action that has been done and is now over. These are key indicators to listeners as they use verbs to understand when actions took place.



Suffixes, or roots, are the ending of a word. For example, the suffix of ‘eating’ is ‘ing’, it is what is left after the verb ‘eat’. In Italian all regular verbs end in –are, -ere or –ire, for example ‘amare’ (to love) ends in ‘are’ so we know that the verb is am-. We can then conjugate the verb based on the fixed roots we learn. For example the present tense to a verb ending in –are is: -o, -I, -a, -iamo, -ate, -ano. We also know that in Italian Io is I, Tu is you, Egli is he, Noi is we, Voi is you and Essi is they; so the verb to love can be conjugated in its present form as: Io amo, Tu ami, Egli ama, Noi amiamo, Voi amate, Essi amano.


The simple tense of a verb is when a verb needs nothing else and has a meaning on its own. For example in the sentence ‘I play guitar’ the verb ‘play’ needs nothing else to support it. A compound verb is when a verb needs something to complete it, for example ‘I have played guitar’ needs the auxiliary ‘have’ to complete its significance.


This may sound daunting, but the best way to learn Italian verbs is to know the suffixes and just dive straight in! Below, I have listed and conjugated only in its present form a verb that ends in –are, -ere and –ire. Once you see the different suffixes and note the pattern, why not try it yourself!


GIOCARE (To play)


Io gioco                            I play

Tu giochi                          You play

Egli gioca                          He plays

Noi giochiamo                 We play

Voi giocate                     You play (plural)

Essi Giocano                   They play


LEGGERE (to read)

Io leggo                       I read

Tu leggi                       You read

Egli legge                    He reads

Noi leggiamo             We read

Voi leggete                You read

Essi leggono              They read


DORMIRE (to sleep)

Io dormo                  I sleep

Tu dormi                  You sleep

Egli dorme               He sleeps

Noi dormiamo         We sleep

Voi dormite             You sleep

Essi dormono          They sleep


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