• 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]
  • Past perfect subjunctive (trapassato congiuntivo)

    What is the trapassato congiuntivo in Italian? 

    The past perfect subjunctive (or trapassato congiuntivo) is the the last tense of the subjunctive mood in Italian.

    Where and how to use the past perfect subjunctive in Italian

    The trapassato congiuntivo appears in the same contexts in which both other subjunctive tenses appear.

    Indeed, it is used in independent and dependent (i.e. final, concessive, conditional, relative and temporal) clauses to convey:

    • doubtshypotheseswishes and orders;
    • objective or personal considerations about something.
    Example Translation
    Sembrava dubitare che Giovanni fosse andato alla festa. She seemed to suspect that Giovanni hadn't ever gone to the party.
    Se tu fossi stato più attento, non avresti fatto nessun incidente. If you had been more careful, you would have never had any accident.
    Sebbene tu non avessi detto nulla, qualcuno ha dubitato di te. Even though you haven't said anything, someone suspected you.

     

    If clause (periodo ipotetico) in Italian with past perfect subjunctive

    As it's worth for the imperfect tense of the subjunctive, the past perfect's main function is to convey hypothetical messages.

    When Italian speakers use the past perfect subjunctive, they want to express hypothesis referring to a past event.

    Conversely to the imperfect subjunctive, if you use the past perfect subjunctive you are going to suppose that an unreal and nearly impossible event will happen.

     

    How to use the past perfect subjunctive in the Italian hypothetical clauses

    The most important thing to remember to form the periodo ipotetico is that: if the main clause has a past conditional verb, the dependent clause will have the past perfect subjunctive.

    Let's see some examples:

    Dependent clause (protasis): trapassato congiuntivo Main clause (apodosis): condizionale passato
    Se ella non fosse stata spaventata, (If she hadn't been scared) sarebbe stata contenta. (she would have been very pleased)
    Se noi non avessimo parlato di lui, (If we hadn't talked about him) probabilmente non sarebbe successo nulla. (probably nothing would ever happened)

     

    enlightened The hypothetical sentences of irreality (with past tenses) must be always expressed by the conditional mood in the main clause and the subjunctive in the dependent clause.

     

    How to conjugate the past perfect subjunctive in Italian

    The congiuntivo trapassato follows the same complex structure of the congiuntivo passato.

    Hence, it is formed using the imperfect subjunctive of the auxiliary (essere or avere) with the past participle of the specific verb.

    Let's see some example for the three conjugations.

     

    Regular verbs in Italian past perfect subjunctive

    Verbs of -are conjugation

    Incontrare (to meet)
      Auxiliary Past Participle Example Translation
    (Che) io avessi incontrato Se io non la avessi mai incontrata, sarei rimasta sola. If I had never met her, I would probably have been lonely.
    (Che) tu avessi incontrato Non ero sicuro che tu lo avessi incontrato veramente. I wasn't sure you had really met him.
    (Che) egli / ella avesse incontrato Se ella non ci avesse incontrato, sarebbe tornata a casa a piedi. If she hadn't met us, she probably would have walked home.
    (Che) noi avessimo incontrato Nonostante ti avessimo incontrato pochi giorni fa, non ti abbiamo riconosciuto. Even though we have met some days ago, we didn't recognize you.
    (Che) voi aveste incontrato Se non lo aveste incontrato, chissà cosa sarebbe successo. If you had never met him, who knows what would have happened.
    (Che) essi / esse avessero incontrato Sebbene loro avessero incontrato ​quel ragazzo alla festa, non ne ricordavano il nome. Even though they had met that boy at the party, they weren't able to recall his name.

     

    Verbs of -ere conjugation

    Credere (to believe)
      Auxiliary Past Participle Example Translation
    (Che) io avessi creduto Se io ti avessi creduto, non so cosa sarebbe accaduto. If I had believed you, I don't know what would have happened.
    (Che) tu avessi  creduto Avevo dubitato che tu mi avessi creduto. I suspected you hadn't believed me.
    (Che) egli / ella avesse creduto Sebbene tu le avessi creduto, era ancora triste. Even though you had believed her, she was still sad. 
    (Che) noi avessimo creduto Pensavano che noi ci avessimo creduto. They though we had believed it.
    (Che) voi aveste  creduto Cosa sarebbe successo se voi ci aveste creduto? What would have happened if you had believed that?
    (Che) essi / esse avessero creduto Se essi avessero scoperto quello che noi avevamo fatto, saremmo finiti nei guai.

    If they found out what we have done, we would have got in trouble.

     

    Verbs of -ire conjugation

    Sentire (to hear)
      Auxiliary Past Participle Example Translation
    (Che) io avessi sentito Non sapevi che io ti avessi sentito arrivare? Didn't you know I have heard you coming?
    (Che) tu avessi sentito Non sapevo che tu mi avessi sentito arrivare. I didn't know you had heard me coming.
    (Che) egli / ella avesse sentito Non eravamo sicuri che ella ci avesse sentito arrivare. We weren't sure that she had heard us coming.
    (Che) noi avessimo sentito Si chiedeva se noi l'avessimo sentita arrivare. She was wondering if we had heard her coming.
    (Che) voi aveste sentito Come facevamo a sapere se voi ci aveste sentito arrivare? How could we know if you had heard us coming?
    (Che) essi / esse avessero sentito Non avevo idea di quando mi avessero sentito arrivare. I haven't understood when they had heard me coming.

     

    Irregular verbs in Italian past perfect subjunctive (trapassato congiuntivo)

    Italian language has a lot of irregular verbs that don't follow any inflectional pattern or any grammatical rule. This type of verbs has some particular forms that must be learned by heart.

    Most irregular verbs in Italian are from the -ere conjugation.

    Concerning the past perfect subjunctive, as we have seen for past subjunctive, we are mostly interested in the past participle irregular forms.

     

      Fare (to do) Vedere (to see) Scegliere (to choose) Leggere (to read) Porre (to put) Rimanere (to stay) Perdere (to loose) Prendere (to take) Chiedere (to ask) Apparire (to appear) Dire (to say) Aprire (to open)
    (Che) io avessi fatto avessi visto avessi scelto avessi letto avessi posto fossi* rimasto/a avessi perso avessi preso avessi chiesto fossi* apparso/a avessi detto avessi aperto
    (Che) tu avessi fatto avessi visto avessi scelto avessi letto avessi posto fossi* rimasto/a avessi perso avessi preso avessi chiesto fossi* apparso/a avessi detto avessi aperto
    (Che) egli / ella avesse fatto avesse visto avesse scelto avesse letto avesse posto fosse* rimasto/a avesse perso avesse preso avesse chiesto fosse* apparso/a avesse detto avesse aperto
    (Che) noi avessimo fatto avessimo visto avessimo scelto avessimo letto avessimo posto fossimo* rimasti/e avessimo perso avessimo preso avessimo chiesto fossimo* apparsi/e avessimo detto avessimo aperto
    (Che) voi aveste fatto aveste visto aveste scelto aveste letto aveste posto foste* rimasti/e aveste perso aveste preso aveste chiesto foste* apparsi/e aveste detto aveste aperto
    (Che) essi / esse avessero fatto avessero visto abbiano scelto abbiano letto abbiano posto siano rimasti/e abbiano perso abbiano preso abbiano chiesto siano* apparsi/e abbiano detto abbiano aperto

     

    enlightenedRemember! All the transitive verbs in Italian use essere as auxiliary; all the intransitive ones use avere.

     

    The congiuntivo trapassato of transitive and intransitive verbs

    As we said before, transitive verbs are followed by an object and their auxiliary verb is avere.

    • Non ero sicura che voi aveste fatto i compiti. (I weren't sure you have done your homework)

    Intransitive verbs cannot be followed by an object and their auxiliary verb is essere.

    • Gli è dispiaciuto che loro non fossero rimasti con noi. (He felt sorry that they haven't stayed with us)

     

    Some exceptions

    As we have seen for the congiuntivo passato, some verbs (e.g. correresalirescendere) can be both transitive and intransitive and have both essere and avere.

      Correre (to run) Salire (to go up, to get in) Scendere (to go down, to descend)
    (Che) io avessi corso - fossi corso/a avessi salito - fossi salito/a avessi sceso - fossi sceso/a
    (Che) tu avessi corso - fossi corso/a avessi salito - fossi salito/a avessi sceso - fossi sceso/a
    (Che) egli / ella avesse corso - fosse corso/a avesse salito - fosse salito/a

    avesse sceso - fosse sceso/a

    (Che) noi avessimo corso - fossimo corsi/e avessimo salito - fossimo saliti/e avessimo sceso - fossimo scesi/e
    (Che) voi aveste corso - foste corsi/e aveste salito - foste saliti/e aveste sceso - foste scesi/e
    (Che) essi / esse avessero corso - fossero corsi/e avessero salito - fossero saliti/e avessero sceso - fossero scesi/e

     

    enlightenedThese verbs use avere when the focus of the sentence is on the action. The use of essere occurs when the focus is on the destination, the purpose or the aim of the action.
    e.g. Pensavo che Luca avesse corso il rischio di perdere la partita. (I thought that Luca had run the risk of loosing the game)
           Pensavo che Luca fosse corso in suo aiuto. (I thought that Luca had rushed to her aid)

     

    Auxiliary verbs in Italian past perfect subjunctive: che io fossi stato / che io avessi avuto

    Below, you will find the trapassato congiuntivo of essere and of avere.

      Essere (to be) Avere (to have)
    (Che) io fossi stato/a avessi avuto
    (Che) tu fossi stato/a avessi avuto
    (Che) egli / ella fosse stato/a avesse avuto
    (Che) noi fossimo stati/e avessimo avuto
    (Che) voi foste stati/e aveste avuto
    (Che) essi / esse fossero stati/e avessero avuto

     

    Exercises

    Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the trapassato congiuntivo in Italian

    Choose the correct form for the passato congiuntivo of the following verbs