• 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 subjunctive in Italian (congiuntivo passato)

    What is the congiuntivo passato in Italian?

    The congiuntivo passato is the past tense of the subjunctive mood in Italian.

    When to use the past subjunctive in Italian

    Italian speakers tend to use the past subjunctive in the same contexts of the congiuntivo presente. That is:

    • to express wishes, doubts or to give an order (in particular, in the independent clauses)
    • to express a thought and a personal opinion, or to make an objective observation
    • express an hypothesis or the result of an action

    Furthermore, the past subjunctive appears in the same clauses (i.e. che, final, concessive, temporal and conditional clauses) where also the present subjunctive is frequently used.

    Example Translation
    Che sia già arrivata? Has she already arrived?
    Credo che abbiano avuto un contrattempo. I guess they had an unforeseen difficulty.
    Sebbene abbiano avuto tempo, non hanno fatto i compiti. Even though they had time, they didn't do their homeworks.
    Nonostante voi ci abbiate pensato, avete fatto comunque la scelta sbagliata. Although you've thought about it, you made the wrong choice anyway.

     

    Dependent clauses with past subjunctive in Italian

    The past subjunctive usually appears in the dependent clause. In this case, its presence depends on what tense is used in the main clause.

    enlightenedThe congiuntivo passato follows an important rule called consecutio temporum: the clauses must present an agreement of tenses between their verbs.

     
    Main clause: indicativo presente Dependent clause: present subjunctive / past subjunctive
    Io immagino (I guess) che tu prenda il mio caricatore. (that you would take my charger) - contemporaneity
    Io immagino (I guess)

    che tu abbia preso il mio caricatore. (that you took my charger) - anteriority

     

    How to conjugate the congiuntivo passato in Italian

    The past subjunctive follows the same structure of the present perfect in the indicative mood.

    Hence, it is formed using the presente congiuntivo 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 subjunctive

    Verbs of -are conjugation

    Portare (to bring)
      Auxiliary Past participle Example Translation
    (Che) io abbia portato Pensano che io abbia portato la torta. They think I brought the cake.
    (Che) tu abbia portato Credo che tu abbia portato la torta. I think you brought the cake.
    (Che) egli / ella abbia portato Sono sicura che egli abbia portato la torta. I am sure that he brought the cake.
    (Che) noi abbiamo portato Temono che noi non abbiamo portato la torta. They're afraid we didn't bring the cake.
    (Che) voi abbiate portato Mi chiedo se voi abbiate portato la torta. I am asking myself if they brought the cake.
    (Che) essi / esse abbiano portato Ella non sa se loro abbiano portato la torta. She doesn't know if they brought the cake.

     

    Verbs of -ere conjugation

    Credere (to believe)
      Auxiliary Past participle Example Translation
    (Che) io abbia creduto Pensi veramente che io ci abbia creduto? Do you really think that I believed it?
    (Che) tu abbia creduto Sono davvero sicuro che tu ci abbia creduto. I am really sure that you believed that.
    (Che) egli / ella abbia creduto Odiano il fatto che ella ci abbia creduto. They hate that she believed that.
    (Che) noi abbiamo creduto Non saprei dirti se ci abbiamo veramente creduto. I can't tell if we really believed it.
    (Che) voi abbiate creduto Chissà che non ci abbiate creduto! Maybe you believed that!
    (Che) essi / esse abbiano creduto Vorrei sapere se ci abbiano creduto o meno. I would like to know if they believed that or not.

     

    Verbs of -ire conjugation

    Sentire (to feel, to hear)
      Auxiliary Past participle Example Translation
    (Che) io abbia sentito Non sei sicuro che io abbia sentito quel rumore? Aren't you sure I heard that noise?
    (Che) tu abbia  sentito Nonostante tu abbia sentito quel rumore, non c'è nessuno in casa. Even though you heard that noise, nobody is home.
    (Che) egli / ella abbia sentito Non c'è dubbio che ella abbia sentito uno strano rumore. It's undeniable she heard a strange noise. 
    (Che) noi abbiamo sentito Mi chiedo se abbiamo veramente sentito quel rumore. I'm wondering if we have really heard that noise.
    (Che) voi abbiate sentito Ma siamo sicuri che voi abbiate sentito quello strano rumore? Are we sure you have heard that strange noise?
    (Che) essi / esse abbiano sentito Temo che esse abbiano sentito qualche strano rumore. I'm afraid they have heard some strange noise.

     

    Irregular verbs in Italian past subjunctive 

    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 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 abbia fatto abbia visto abbia scelto abbia letto abbia posto sia* rimasto/a abbia perso abbia preso abbia chiesto sia* apparso/a abbia detto abbia aperto
    (Che) tu abbia fatto abbia visto abbia scelto abbia letto abbia posto sia* rimasto/a abbia perso abbia preso abbia chiesto sia* apparso/a abbia detto abbia aperto
    (Che) egli / ella abbia fatto abbia visto abbia scelto abbia letto abbia posto sia* rimasto/a abbia perso abbia preso abbia chiesto sia* apparso/a abbia detto abbia aperto
    (Che) noi abbiamo fatto abbiamo visto abbiamo scelto abbiamo letto abbiamo posto siamo* rimasti/e abbiamo perso abbiamo preso abbiamo chiesto siamo* apparsi/e abbiamo detto abbiamo aperto
    (Che) voi abbiate fatto abbiate visto abbiate scelto abbiate letto abbiate posto siate* rimasti/e abbiate perso abbiate preso abbiate chiesto siate* apparsi/e abbiate detto abbiate aperto
    (Che) essi / esse abbiano fatto abbiano 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 passato of transitive and intransitive verbs

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

    • Non sono sicura che voi abbiate fatto i compiti. (I am not sure you did your homework)

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

    • Gli dispiace che loro non siano rimasti. (He feels sorry because they didn't stay)

     

    Some exceptions

    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 abbia corso - sia corso/a abbia salito - sia salito/a abbia sceso - sia sceso/a
    (Che) tu abbia corso - sia corso/a abbia salito - sia salito/a abbia sceso - sia sceso/a
    (Che) egli / ella abbia corso - sia corso/a abbia salito - sia salito/a

    abbia sceso - sia sceso/a

    (Che) noi abbiamo corso - siamo corsi/e abbiamo salito - siamo saliti/e abbiamo sceso - siamo scesi/e
    (Che) voi abbiate corso - siamo corsi/e abbiate salito - siamo saliti/e abbiate sceso - siamo scesi/e
    (Che) essi / esse abbiano corso - siano corsi/e abbiano salito - siano saliti/e abbiano sceso - siano scesi/e

     

    enlightenedThese verbs have avere when the focus of the sentence is on the action. They have essere when the focus is on the destination, the purpose or the aim of the action.
    e.g. Penso che Luca abbia corso il rischio di perdere la partita. (I think that Luca ran the risk of loosing the game)
           Penso che Luca sia corso in suo aiuto. (I think that Luca rushed to his aid)

     

    Auxiliary verbs in Italian past subjunctive: che io sia stato / che io abbia avuto

    Below, you will find the past subjunctive of essere and of avere.

      Essere (to be) Avere (to have)
    (Che) io sia stato/a abbia avuto
    (Che) tu sia stato/a abbia avuto
    (Che) egli / ella sia stato/a abbia avuto
    (Che) noi siamo stati/e abbiamo avuto
    (Che) voi siate stati/e abbiate avuto
    (Che) essi / esse siano stati/e abbiano avuto

     

    Exercises

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

    True or false? Choose the right answer to these sentences about past subjunctive

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