• Italian grammar
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  • 1 Italian alphabet and pronunciation (letters,...)
  • 2 Function of Italian words (subject, object)
  • 3 Italian articles (the/a, an) [0/16]
  • 4 Italian numbers (cardinal, ordinal) [0/7]
  • 5 Italian nouns [0/13]
  • 6 Italian adjectives [0/17]
  • 6.1 Adjective agreement in Italian (endings) [0/2]
  • 6.2 Qualifying adjectives in Italian [0/3]
  • 6.3 Possessive adjectives in Italian (my, your, his/her...) [0/3]
  • 6.4 Demonstrative adjectives in Italian (this, that) [0/2]
  • 6.5 Indefinite adjectives in Italian (some, any...) [0/3]
  • 6.6 Numeral adjectives in Italian (one, the first...) [0/2]
  • 6.7 Interrogative adjectives in Italian (what/which,...) [0/2]
  • 6.8 List of adjectives in Italian (A-Z)
  • 7 Italian pronouns [0/28]
  • 7.1 Personal pronouns in Italian [0/6]
  • 7.2 Relative pronouns (who, that, which, ...) in Italian [0/4]
  • 7.3 Possessive pronouns in Italian (mine, yours, his, ...) [0/4]
  • 7.4 Demonstrative pronouns (this, that, ...) in Italian [0/3]
  • 7.5 Indefinite pronouns (few, some, many, ...) in Italian [0/4]
  • 7.6 Interrogative pronouns (who, what, which) in Italian [0/4]
  • 7.7 Reflexive pronouns in Italian (myself, each other) [0/3]
  • 8 Italian prepositions [0/25]
  • 8.1 Italian simple prepositions [0/20]
  • 8.1.1 Italian preposition "di" (of, from,...) [0/1]
  • 8.1.2 Italian preposition "a" (at, to,...) [0/1]
  • 8.1.3 Italian preposition "da" (by, from,...) [0/1]
  • 8.1.4 Italian preposition "in" (in, to,...) [0/1]
  • 8.1.5 Italian preposition "con" (with) [0/1]
  • 8.1.6 Italian preposition "su" (on, over,...) [0/1]
  • 8.1.7 Italian preposition "per" (for, to,...) [0/1]
  • 8.1.8 Italian prepositions "tra/ fra" (between, among,...) [0/1]
  • 8.1.9 "On" in Italian (su)
  • 8.1.10 "To" in Italian [0/4]
  • 8.1.11 Italian prepositions of place and time [0/3]
  • 8.1.12 Simple preposition chart - English to Italian [0/5]
  • 8.2 Italian articulated prepositions [0/3]
  • 8.3 Expressions with Italian prepositions [0/2]
  • 9 Italian adverbs [0/24]
  • 9.1 Italian adverbs of manner (good, bad, so) [0/4]
  • 9.2 Italian adverbs of frequency and time (always, now) [0/4]
  • 9.3 Italian adverbs of place (here, there) [0/4]
  • 9.4 Italian adverbs of quantity (more, nothing, enough) [0/3]
  • 9.5 Italian affirmation/negation adverbs (Yes, No, Neither) [0/4]
  • 9.6 Italian adverbs of doubt, interrogative/exclamative [0/5]
  • 10 Italian comparatives, superlatives (adjectives/adverbs) [0/7]
  • 11 Italian tenses and verb conjugation [0/17]
  • 11.1 Present tense in Italian (presente indicativo) [0/2]
  • 11.2 Past tenses in Italian [0/11]
  • 11.3 Future tenses in Italian [0/4]
  • 12 Italian verbs [0/94]
  • 12.1 Functions and classification of Italian verbs [0/1]
  • 12.2 Transitive and intransitive verbs in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.3 Active voice and passive voice in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.4 Italian regular verbs [0/30]
  • 12.4.1 First conjugation in Italian (verbs ending in -are) [0/16]
  • Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the first conjugation (Score -/-)
  • 12.4.1.1 Conjugation of abitare (to dwell) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.4.1.2 Conjugation of amare (to love) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.4.1.3 Conjugation of giocare (to play) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.4.1.4 Conjugation of lavorare (to work) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.4.1.5 Conjugation of mangiare (to eat) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.4.1.6 Conjugation of parlare (to speak) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.4.1.7 Conjugation of studiare (to study) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.4.1.8 Conjugation of pagare (to pay) in Italian [0/1]
  • 12.4.2 Second conjugation in Italian (verbs ending in -ere) [0/6]
  • 12.4.3 Third conjugation in Italian (verbs ending in -ire) [0/8]
  • 12.5 Italian irregular verbs [0/38]
  • 12.5.1 Conjugation of irregular verbs ending in -are [0/8]
  • 12.5.2 Conjugation of irregular verbs ending in -ere [0/24]
  • 12.5.2.1 Conjugation of sapere (to know) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.5.2.2 Conjugation of leggere (to read) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.5.2.3 Conjugation of mettere (to put) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.5.2.4 Conjugation of piacere (to like) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.5.2.5 Conjugation of rimanere (to remain, to stay) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.5.2.6 Conjugation of conoscere (to know) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.5.2.7 Conjugation of scrivere (to write) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.5.2.8 Conjugation of vivere (to live) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.5.2.9 Conjugation of chiudere (to close, to shut) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.5.2.10 Conjugation of prendere (to take, to catch) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.5.2.11 Conjugation of bere (to drink) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.5.2.12 Conjugation of tenere (to hold, to keep) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.5.3 Conjugation of irregular verbs ending in -ire [0/6]
  • 12.6 Italian modal verbs [0/6]
  • 12.7 Italian reflexive verbs [0/2]
  • 12.8 Verbi sovrabbondanti in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.9 Verbi difettivi in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.10 Verbi fraseologici in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.11 Verbi impersonali in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.12 Auxiliary verbs (essere, avere) in Italian [0/5]
  • 12.13 Verbs and prepositions in Italian
  • 13 Italian moods
  • 14 Indicative mood in Italian
  • 15 Subjunctive in Italian [0/9]
  • 16 Conditional in Italian [0/4]
  • 17 Infinitive in Italian [0/1]
  • 18 Imperative in Italian [0/3]
  • 19 Gerund in Italian [0/3]
  • 20 Present participle in Italian [0/1]
  • 21 Past participle in Italian [0/1]
  • 22 Italian sentences [0/15]
  • 23 Italian conjunctions [0/4]
  • Italian modal verbs

    The Italian modal verbs (verbi modali) are used to express the specific modality of an action.

    Structure of clauses with modal verbs

    The modal verbs are used with the infinitive form of the specific verb that specify the particular action.

    • Subject + modal verb  + infinitive
    Example Translation
    Io devo spedire questa e-mail entro stasera. I must send this e-mail before this evening.
    Fabrizio vuole assolutamente andare a quella festa stasera. Fabrizio certantly wants to go to that party tonight.
    Voi potrete andare al bagno soltanto quando avrete consegnato il compito. You could go to the toilet just once you had finished your test.

     

    Main modal verbs in Italian: dovere, potere, volere

    The principal Italian modal verbs are three:

    • dovere (to must, to have to), that is used to express duty;
    • potere (to can, to may), that is used to express possibility;
    • volere (to want), that is used to express will.

    Other verbs with modal value

    A few of other verbs has also a modal value. They are:

    • sapere with the meaning of can, to be able to, similar to potere;
      e.g. Tu sai nuotare? (Can you swim?)
    • parere and sembrare with the meaning of to give the impression of;
      e.g. Sembra aver raggiunto il suo obiettivo. (He gives the impression of having reached his aim)

     

    Peculiarities of modal verbs

    The main characteristics of these verbs are:

    1. they have always the infinitive form of the specific verb after them;
    2. they have the same subject of the infinitive clause that follows them;
    3.  if there is a clitic pronoun, it could be both before the modal verb and after the infinitive.
    Example Translation
    Gli voglio parlare. > Voglio parlargli. I want to speak with him.
    La devo cercare. > Devo cercarla. I have to find her.
    Ci posso andare. > Posso andarci. I can go there.

     

    Choosing the auxiliary for the compound tenses

    Avere as auxiliary with modal verbs

    Modal verbs usually use avere as auxiliary. It happens in particular when:

    • the verb that follows the modal verb uses avere as auxiliary;
      e.g. Ho parlato > Ho dovuto parlare. (I spoke. > I had to speak)
    • they are followed by essere or by a passive form of the infinitive mood;
      e.g. Ha voluto essere ascoltata. (She wanted to be listened to).

    Avere and essere with modal verbs

    They use essere or avere according to the clitic pronoun:

    • if the pronoun occurs before the auxiliary, essere is used;
      e.g. Non ci sono potuto andare. (I couldn't get there)
    • if the pronoun occurs after the infinitive form, avere is used;
      e.g. Non ho potuto andarci. (I couldn't get there)

     

    Next lessons

    1 Conjugation of dovere (must) in Italian A lesson on the Italian verb dovere (to have to, must)
    2 Conjugation of potere (can) in Italian A lesson on the Italian verb potere (to be able to, can)
    3 Conjugation of volere (to want) in Italian A lesson on the Italian verb volere (to want)