Present tense in Italian (presente indicativo)
The present tense in Italian belongs to the indicative mood and it is called presente indicativo.
- 1.Definition and usage of the present tense in Italian (presente indicativo)
- 1.1.When to use the presente indicativo
- 1.2.Marker words that indicate the presente indicativo
- 2.How to conjugate the presente indicativo in Italian
- 2.1.Conjugation of regular verbs in presente indicativo
- 2.1.1.Verbs that belong to the -are conjugation
- 2.1.2.Verbs that belong to the -ere conjugation
- 2.1.3.Verbs that belong to the -ire conjugation
- 2.2.Conjugation of irregular verbs in presente indicativo
- 2.2.1.Verbs that belong to the -are conjugation
- 2.2.2.Verbs that belong to the -ere conjugation
- 2.2.3.Verbs that belong to the -ire conjugation
- 3.Auxiliary verbs: essere/avere
- 4.1.Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the presente indicativo
- 4.2.Match the personal pronoun to the correct form of the presente indicativo
Definition and usage of the present tense in Italian (presente indicativo)
The presente indicativo refers to an action that takes place in the present.
- Marco guarda la TV (Marco watches the TV)
- Io leggo un libro (I read a book)
In English you have to use personal pronouns to express the subject. In Italian, the subject of a sentence is often indicated by the ending of the verb so there is no need to use personal pronouns.
e.g. (Io) vado a Bologna (I go to Bologna)
(Gianni) suona il pianoforte (Gianni plays the piano)
In Italian the presente indicativo is also used to indicate the present progressive tense (present continuous).
e.g. Giulia canta una canzone (Giulia is singing a song)
Riccardo manda un messaggio ad un amico (Riccardo is texting a friend)
When to use the presente indicativo
There are other situations in which it is possible to use the presente indicativo:
- To express an action that takes place regularly or a habit (presente abituale)
- To state truths and scientific facts that are always true (presente atemporale)
- To refer to actions that will take place in the future (presente pro futuro)
- To indicate an action that took place in the past, especially when narrating something (presente storico)
|Presente pro futuro|
*In Italian the verb "to be born" can be used in the present tense because of the historical present, but in English it is impossible to express the same concept using the present tense. In this case it is necessary to say Giotto was born in 1267.
Marker words that indicate the presente indicativo
There are some words that can help you to indicate that you have to use the presente indicativo.
- Vado sempre al cinema di sabato (On Saturdays I always go to the cinema)
- Vanno in palestra due volte alla settimana (They go to the gym twice a week)
The most common marker words are:
|Ogni giorno/mese/anno||Every day/month/year|
|Due volte alla settimana||Twice a week|
|Tra tre ore/giorni||In three hours/days|
|In questo momento||In this moment/Right now|
How to conjugate the presente indicativo in Italian
The presente indicativo is formed as follows:
Conjugation of regular verbs in presente indicativo
Regular verbs form the presente indicativo by adding the following endings to the root of the verb.
Verbs that belong to the -are conjugation
Verbs of the first conjugation add the following endings: -o, -i, -a, -iamo, -ate, -ano.
Example amare (to love):
|Io||am||o||Io amo il calcio||I love football|
|Tu||am||i||Tu ami il calcio||You love football|
|Egli/Ella||am||a||Egli ama il calcio||He loves football|
|Noi||am||iamo||Noi amiamo il calcio||We love football|
|Voi||am||ate||Voi amate il calcio||You love football|
|Essi/Esse||am||ano||Essi amano il calcio||They love fotball|
Verbs that belong to the -ere conjugation
Verbs of the second conjugation add the following endings: -o, -i, -e, -iamo, -ete, -ono.
Example correre (to run):
|Io||corr||o||Io corro intorno al parco||I run around the park|
|Tu||corr||i||Tu corri intono al parco||You run around the park|
|Egli/Ella||corr||e||Egli corre intorno al parco||He runs around the park|
|Noi||corr||iamo||Noi corriamo intorno al parco||We run around the park|
|Voi||corr||ete||Voi correte intorno al parco||You run around the park|
|Essi/Esse||corr||ono||Essi corrono intorno al parco||They run around the park|
Verbs that belong to the -ire conjugation
Verbs of the third conjugation add the following endings: -o, -i, -e, -iamo, -ite, -ono.
Example partire (to leave):
|Io||part||o||Io parto per la Grecia||I leave to (go to) Greece|
|Tu||part||i||Tu parti per la Grecia||You leave to (go to) Greece|
|Egli/Ella||part||e||Egli parte per la Grecia||He leaves to (go to) Greece|
|Noi||part||iamo||Noi partiamo per la Grecia||We leave to (go to) Greece|
|Voi||part||ite||Voi partite per la Grecia||You leave to (go to) Greece|
|Essi/Esse||part||ono||Essi partono per la Grecia||They leave to (go to) Greece|
Conjugation of irregular verbs in presente indicativo
The majority of Italian verbs are irregular.
There are no grammatical rules to follow in order to conjugate such verbs.
Irregular verbs have to be studied by heart.
Here you can find a list of the main irregular verbs based on the conjugation they belong to.
The main irregular verbs in the presente indicativo are:
- -are: andare, fare, dare
- -ere: bere, dovere, potere, sapere, vedere, volere
- -ire: finire, venire, uscire, dire
Verbs that belong to the -are conjugation
Here is the conjugation for the irregular verbs andare, fare and dare:
|Andare (To go)||Fare (To do/make)||Dare (To give)|
Verbs that belong to the -ere conjugation
Here is the conjugation for the irregular verbs bere, dovere, potere, sapere, vedere, volere:
|Bere (To drink)||Dovere (Must/have to)||Potere (Can)||Sapere (To know)||Vedere (To see)||Volere (To want)|
Verbs that belong to the -ire conjugation
Here is the conjugation for the irregular verbs finire, venire, uscire, dire:
|Finire (To finish)||Venire (To come)||Uscire (To exit)||Dire (To say)|
Please, keep in mind that the auxiliary verbs (essere and avere) are irregular verbs!
Auxiliary verbs: essere/avere
Auxiliary verbs are irregular verbs so their conjugation has to be studied by heart.
Here is the conjugation for essere and avere
|Essere (to be)||Avere (to have)|
- Noi siamo italiani (We are Italian)
- Pietro e Luisa hanno tre gatti (Pietro and Luisa have three cats)
Now it is time you try to do our exercises on the presente indicativo!
- Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the presente indicativo
- Match the personal pronoun to the correct form of the presente indicativo
Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the presente indicativo
Match the personal pronoun to the correct form of the presente indicativo
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