The passato remoto is a simple tense that belongs to the indicative mood.
The passato remoto is used to refer to an action that took place and was concluded in the distant past. It has no links to the present, neither chronologically nor psychologically.
Nowadays the passato remoto is not frequently used. Its use depends on the geographic area of the speaker.
In the South of Italy, people may use the passato remoto to refer to events that took place in the recent past.
In the North of Italy people may use the passato prossimo to refer to events that took place in the distant past.
Here is a list of marker words that can be found with the passato remoto.
|Da piccolo/quando ero piccolo||When I was little/a child|
|1/5/10 anni fa||1/5/10 years ago|
|L'anno scorso||Last year|
|Molto tempo fa||A long time ago|
|Nel 1300/1500/1900||In 1300/1500/1900|
The passato remoto is formed as follows:
The passato remoto is formed by adding a certain ending to the root of the verb.
The endings depend on the conjugation the verb belongs to.
These verbs add the endings -ai, -asti, -ò, -ammo, -aste, -arono to the root of the verb.
Example amare (to love)
|Io||am||ai||Io amai quel libro||I loved that book|
|Tu||am||asti||Tu amsti quel libro||You loved that book|
|Egli/Ella||am||ò||Egli amò quel libro||He lived that book|
|Noi||am||ammo||Noi amammo quel libro||We loved that book|
|Voi||am||aste||Voi amaste quel libro||You loved that book|
|Essi/Esse||am||arono||Essi amarono quel libro||They loved that book|
These verbs add the endings -ei/etti, -esti, -é/ette, -emmo, -este, -erono/ettero to the root of the verb.
Example temere (to fear)
|Io||tem||ei/etti*||Io temei/temetti di aver perso le chiavi||I feared I had lost my keys|
|Tu||tem||esti||Tu temesti di aver perso le chiavi||You feared you had lost your keys|
|Egli/Ella||tem||é/ette*||Egli temé/temette di aver perso le chiavi||He feared he had lost his keys|
|Noi||tem||emmo||Noi tememmo di aver perso le chiavi||We feared we had lost our keys|
|Voi||tem||este||Voi temeste di aver perso le chiavi||You feared you had lost your keys|
|Essi/Esse||tem||erono/ettero*||Essi temerono/temettero di aver perso le chiavi||They feared they had lost their keys|
*Some verbs such as temere (to fear), battere (to beat), ricevere (to receive) have both a regular conjugation and an alternative one. So both the following sentences are correct:
e.g. Io ricevei una mail (I received an e-mail)
Io ricevetti una mail (I received an e-mail)
These verbs add the endings -ii, -isti, -ì, -immo, -iste, -irono to the root of the verb.
Example servire (to serve)
|Io||serv||ii||Io servii i pasti al ristorante||I served meals in the restaurant|
|Tu||serv||isti||Tu servisti i pasti al ristorante||You served meals in the restaurant|
|Egli/Ella||serv||ì||Egli servì i pasti al ristorante||He served meals in the restaurant|
|Noi||serv||immo||Noi servimmo i pasti al ristorante||We served meals in the restaurant|
|Voi||serv||iste||Voi serviste i pasti al ristorante||You served meals in the restaurant|
|Essi/Esse||serv||irono||Essi servirono i pasti al ristorante||They served meals in the restaurant|
Irregular verbs in the passato remoto are numerous and they mainly belong to the -ere conjugation.
These verbs have to be studied by heart, but there are a few tips and rules that can help you to learn these verbs:
Example scendere (to get off/to descend)
The participio passato of scendere is SCESO.
|Io||scesi||Io scesi dal pullman una volta arrivato in piazza||When I got to the square, I got off the bus|
|Tu||scendesti||Tu scendesti dal pullman una volta arrivato in piazza||When you got to the square, you got off the bus|
|Egli/Ella||scese||Egli scese dal pullman una volta arrivato in piazza||When he got to the square, he got off the bus|
|Noi||scendemmo||Noi scendemmo dal pullman una volta arrivati in piazza||When we got to the square, we got off the bus|
|Voi||scendeste||Voi scendeste dal pullman una volta arrivati in piazza||When you got to the square, we got off the bus|
|Essi/Esse||scesero||Essi scesero dal pullman una volta arrivati in piazza||When they got to the square, they got off the bus|
Here you can find a list of the main irregular verbs:
|Bere (to drink)||Chiedere (to ask)||Chiudere (to close)||Correre (to run)||Cuocere (to cook)||Crescere (to grow)||Dipingere (to paint)||Nascere (to bear/ to be born)||Rompere (to break)||Venire (to come)|
Auxiliary verbs are irregular verbs so their conjugation has to be studied by heart.
|Essere (to be)||Avere (to have)|
Now try our exercises to test your knowledge!
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