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Present tense in Italian (presente indicativo)

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The present tense in Italian belongs to the indicative mood and it is called 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)

enlightenedIn 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)

enlightenedIn 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)

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When to use the presente indicativo

There are other situations in which it is possible to use the presente indicativo: 

  1. To express an action that takes place regularly or a habit (presente abituale)
  2. To state truths and scientific facts that are always true (presente atemporale)
  3. To refer to actions that will take place in the future (presente pro futuro)
  4. To indicate an action that took place in the past, especially when narrating something (presente storico)
Presente abituale
  • La mattina mi sveglio presto
  • Vado in Spagna tutti gli anni
  • I wake up early in the morning
  • I go to Spain every year
Presente atemporale
  • L'acqua bolle a 100°
  • Il cane è un animale
  • Water boils at 100°
  • The dog is an animal
Presente pro futuro
  • Domani vado a Parigi
  • Tra tre giorni vado al mare
  • Tomorrow I (will) go to Paris
  • In three days I (will) go to the seaside
Presente storico
  • Giotto nasce nel 1267
  • Eravamo in biblioteca e all'improvviso suona il telefono
  • Giotto was* born in 1267
  • We were at the library and suddenly the phone starts ringing


*enlightenedIn 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/annoEvery day/month/year
Due volte alla settimanaTwice a week
Tra tre ore/giorniIn three hours/days
In questo momentoIn this moment/Right now
Di solitoUsually
Qualche voltaSometimes

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):

IoamoIo amo il calcioI love football
TuamiTu ami il calcioYou love football
Egli/EllaamaEgli ama il calcioHe loves football
NoiamiamoNoi amiamo il calcioWe love football
VoiamateVoi amate il calcioYou love football
Essi/EsseamanoEssi amano il calcioThey 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):

IocorroIo corro intorno al parcoI run around the park
TucorriTu corri intono al parcoYou run around the park
Egli/EllacorreEgli corre intorno al parcoHe runs around the park
NoicorriamoNoi corriamo intorno al parcoWe run around the park
VoicorreteVoi correte intorno al parcoYou run around the park
Essi/EssecorronoEssi corrono intorno al parcoThey 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):

IopartoIo parto per la GreciaI leave to (go to) Greece
TupartiTu parti per la GreciaYou leave to (go to) Greece
Egli/EllaparteEgli parte per la GreciaHe leaves to (go to) Greece
NoipartiamoNoi partiamo per la GreciaWe leave to (go to) Greece
VoipartiteVoi partite per la GreciaYou leave to (go to) Greece
Essi/EssepartonoEssi partono per la GreciaThey 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:

  1. -are: andare, fare, dare
  2. -ere: bere, dovere, potere, sapere, vedere, volere
  3. -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)


enlightenedPlease, 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!


  1. Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the presente indicativo
  2. 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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