Auxiliary verbs (essere, avere) in Italian
Italian language uses mainly to auxiliary verbs, namely essere (to be) and avere (to have).
- 1.Function of essere and avere
- 2.How to choose the correct auxiliary verb
- 2.1.Usage of avere
- 2.1.1.List of verbs with avere as auxiliary
- 2.2.Usage of essere
- 2.2.1.List of verbs with essere as auxiliary
- 2.3.Verbs with both essere and avere
- 2.3.1.List of some verbs with both avere and essere as auxiliary verbs
Function of essere and avere
The auxiliary verbs are characterized by two main aspects:
- they have their own meaning: essere expresses the state of being and the existence of someone or of something; avere expresses possession;
- they are used to form the compound tenses of the verbs.
|Verbs||Proper meaning||Auxiliary value|
|Essere||Io sono suo figlio. (I am her son)||Loro sono uscite insieme. (They went out together)|
|Avere||Voi avete una bellissimo gatto. (You have a beautiful cat)||Noi non avevamo capito nulla. (We didn't understand nothing)|
How to choose the correct auxiliary verb
Usage of avere
Avere as auxiliary is used with:
transitive verbs in its active voice;
e.g. Io ho visto un bel film ieri. (I saw a good movie yesterday);
intransitive verbs with an agent as its subject;
e.g. Tu hai parlato con loro. (You talked with them); Voi avete camminato per ore. (You walked for hours).
List of verbs with avere as auxiliary
|Lavorare||Tu hai lavorato fino a tardi.||You worked till late.|
|Camminare||Egli ha camminato per arrivare a casa tua.||He walked to reach your house.|
|Ridere||Perché avete riso così tanto?||Why did you laugh so much?|
|Dormire||Il bambino ha dormito tutto il pomeriggio.||The child slept for all the afternoon.|
Usage of essere
Essere as auxiliary is used with:
intransitive verbs as moving, stative and changing verbs:
e.g. La nonna è rimasta a casa. (Grandma stayed at home).
- reflexive verbs: e.g. Mi sono lavato. (I washed myself);
- impersonal verbs: e.g. Si era capito che non aveva studiato. (It was clear he hasn't studied).
List of verbs with essere as auxiliary
|Arrivare||Mia zia è arrivata ieri mattina.||My aunt arrived yesterday morning.|
|Scoppiare||Sono scoppiati tutti i palloncini.||All the baloons have burst.|
|Cadere||Il bambino è caduto mentre correva.||The boy has fallen while he was running.|
|Andare||Come è andato il tuo esame?||How was your exam?|
|Venire||Ieri è venuta con noi.||She came with us yesterday.|
|Stare||Credevo saresti stata a casa di tuo fratello.||I thought you would have stayed at your brother's.|
|Tornare||Come mai siete tornate qui?||Why did you come back here?|
|Nascere||Ieri è nata mia cugina.||Yesterday my cousin is born.|
|Chiamarsi||Quella città è chiamata la Città del Sole.||That city is called the City of Light.|
|Arrabbiarsi||Voi vi siete arrabbiati molto.||You really got angry.|
|Lavarsi||Tu ti sei sempre lavato la sera.||You have always washed yourself in the evening.|
Verbs with both essere and avere
There are some verbs that don't follow strictly this distinction.
Remember! You could find verbs with both essere and avere.
Unfortunately, there are not a clear way to identify these verbs.
The presence of essere or avere could depend on:
- the subject, if it's animate or inanimate:
e.g. L'uomo ammalato è migliorato. (The sick man is getting better); Il tempo è migliorato. (The weather cleared).
- the meaning:
e.g. L'aereo ha volato per ore. (The plane has flown for hours); L'aereo è volato a Los Angeles. (The plane flew to Los Angeles).
List of some verbs with both avere and essere as auxiliary verbs
Ho vissuto in Inghilterra.
Sono vissuto in Inghilterra.
|I lived in England.|
Sono corso alla fermata dell'autobus.
Ho corso una maratona.
|I ran to the bus station.
I ran the marathon.
Hai finito presto i compiti.
Il film è finito tardi.
|You have finished your homework soon.
The movie finished late at night.
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