Verbi impersonali in Italian
I verbi impersonali represent a category of verbs of the Italian language.
Definition of verbi impersonali
I verbi impersonali italiani are those verbs that can only be found in the non-finite moods and at the 3rd person singular of the finite moods.
- Piove (It rains)
- Sembra che tu sia affamato (It seems/looks like you are hungry)
List of the main verbi impersonali
The main verbi impersonali in italiano belong to the following categories:
- Verbs related to weather and atmospheric phenomena
- Fare + adjective or noun
- Verbs that are usually used in an impersonal way even if they also have a personal conjugation
- Essere + adverb or adjective
- Passive verbs that express a prohibition or a permission
|Weather and atmospheric phenomena||
|Fare + adjective/noun||
|Essere + adverb/adjective||
|Prohibition or permission||
Construction with the si impersonale
Any verb can be used in an impersonal way in the Italian language.
All you have to do is add si before the conjugated verb.
- Si dice che Luca abbia una cotta per Laura (It is said that Luca has a crush in Laura)
- Si perse molto tempo prima di iniziare le indagini (A lot of time was lost before the police started investigating)
It is also possible to use the pronoun uno to make a statement impersonal.
Examples: In certi casi uno non sa cosa dire (In certain case one doesn't know what to say)
Non è giusto! Uno studia tutto il giorno e poi non passa l'esame (It's not fair! One studies all day long and doesn't pass the exam)
How to make reflexive verbs impersonal
Reflexive verbs already have si.
Therefore they can be made impersonal by adding ci before the si and the conjugated verb.
- Ci si arrabbia spesso per cose inutili (People often get angry for useless things)
- Ci si vede alle 15 al parco (Let's meet at 3 pm at the park)
How to form compound tenses of verbi impersonali
Compound tenses of verbi impersonali are usually formed with the auxiliary essere.
- Per un attimo è sembrato che il governo dovesse approvare la riforma (For a tiny moment it seemed like the government had to approve the reform)
- Sarebbe bastato svegliarsi prima (It would have been enough if we had got up earlier)
Despite this, verbs that indicate the weather or atmospheric phenomena can also use the auxiliary avere to form compound tenses.
Therefore both forms are accepted and the meaning does not change.
- Ieri ha nevicato tutto il giorno (Yesterday it snowed all day long)
- Ieri è nevicato tutto il giorno (Yesterday it snowed all day long)
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