Italian verbs. There are lots of them, and they can pain to remember at first! But they’re not as hard as you think – you can make them easier to remember by organising them into logical groups.
To help you remember what you learnt in today’s lesson, below you’ll find bonus materials like word lists, quizzes and flashcards. But first…
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Remember and practice using what you learnt with the bonus materials for today’s episode.
Today’s Italian words
Parlare = to speak
Scrivere = to write
Dormire = to sleep
Parlo = I speak
Scrivo = I write
Dormo = I sleep
Parli = you speak
Scrivi = you write
Dormi = you sleep
Parliamo = we speak
Scriviamo = we write
Dormiamo = we sleep
Arrivare = arrive
Arrivo = I arrive
Arrivo domani = I arrive tomorrow
Arriviamo = we arrive
Arriviamo domani = we arrive tomorrow
Prendere = I take
Prendo una pizza = I’ll have a pizza
Prendi una pizza? = Are you having a pizza?
Aprire = open
Apriamo = we open
Una bottiglia di vino = a bottle of wine
Apriamo una bottiglia di vino = Let’s open a bottle of wine/shall we open a bottle of wine?
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Click here to take the quiz for this episode: The Easy Way to Remember Italian Verbs
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Please note, this is not a word for word transcript.
Katie: Ah, Italian verbs. There’s lots of them, and they can pain to remember at first! But they’re not as hard as you think – organising them into logical groups makes them much easier to remember. Learn how in episode 39 of 5 minute Italian.
K: Ciao a tutti e benvenuti a 5 minute Italian, hi everyone and welcome to 5 minute Italian. I’m Katie…
M: And I’m Matteo. Ciao.
So you may know that there are 3 groups of verbs in Italian. Words that end in a-r-e (are) like parlare, to speak. Verbs that end in e-r-e (ere), like scrivere, to write, and verbs that end in -i-r-e (ire), like dormire “to sleep”
You may also know that the ending of these verbs changes, depending on who’s doing the action. For example, to say “I speak”, we start with the verb “parlare”, remove the “-are” and add “o”: parlo. This is called verb conjugation.
People often learn the conjugations one group at a time, but this is confusing because many of the endings are actually the same for all 3 groups!
The easiest way to remember these verb endings is to learn the same endings first, and then learn the exceptions later.
Let’s get started. To say who’s doing the action, the first thing we need to do are remove the endings “are”, “ere” and “ire”, so we’re left with: “parl-”, “scriv-” and “dorm-”.
We call these the verb roots. Then, we just add a different ending to the root.
Can you remember how to say “I speak”?
K: Right, we go from the verb root “parl” and add “o”: parlo. Now let’s look at verbs which end in “-ere” like scrivere to write. We’ve already removed the “ere”, so we’re left with the verb root: “scriv”. Can you guess how to say “I write”?
K: Now let’s look at an “ire” verb, dormire, to sleep. We’ve already removed the “ire”, so we’re left with the verb root: “dorm-”. How do you say “I sleep?”
K: The “I” ending, as in I speak (parlo) I write (scrivo) and I sleep (dormo) is the same.
M: Just remove the -are, -ere or -ire ending and add “o”.
K: Now let’s learn how to say “you speak”. Start with the root: “parl-”. Then add “i”
K: Can you guess how to say “you write”? Start with the root “scriv-”
M: Then just add “i”: scrivi.
K: And how would you say “you sleep”? Start with the root: “dorm-”.
M: Then just add “i”: Dormi
K: Great, so the “you” ending, as in “you speak” (parli), you write (scrivi) and you sleep (dormi) is the same for all 3 verbs.
M: Just remove the -are, -ere or -ire and add “i”
K: Next, to say “we”, as in “we speak”, “we write” or “we sleep”, we add “iamo” to the root. We know that the root of “parlare” “to speak” is “parl”. So how would you say “we speak”.
K: And we know that the root for scrivere, “to write” is scriv-. So how would you say we write?
K: And we know that the root for dormire (to sleep) is dorm-. So how would you say “we sleep?”
K: Now we know the verb endings, we can practice making some sentences. Let’s start with the verb arrivare, which you can probably guess means “arrive”. What’s the root?
K: So how would you say “I arrive”?
K: Italians often use the present tense to talk about plans in the future. So arrivo, can also be used to say “I’ll arrive”. How would you say “I arrive tomorrow?”
M: Arrivo domani
K: And how would you say “we arrive tomorrow”. Remember the ending is “iamo”
M: Arriviamo domani.
K: Next, verb: prendere, which means “to take”. What’s the root?
K: Prendere is often used in Italian to order things, like saying “I’ll have”. So Italians literally say “I’ll take a pizza”. If the root is prend, how would you say “I’ll have a pizza?”
M: Prendo una pizza.
K: How would you say “you have a pizza?”
M: Prendi una pizza.
K: And how would you ask that as a question, as in “are you having a pizza?”. Remember Italians just say “you have pizza” with question intonation.
M: Prendi una pizza?
K: Next, aprire, which means “open”. What’s the root?
K: How would you say “we open”?
K: A bottle of wine is una bottiglia di vino. How would you say “I open a bottle of wine?”
M: Apro una bottiglia di vino
K: What about “we open a bottle of wine”?
M: Apriamo una bottiglia di vino.
K: As we saw last week, this can also be used as a question: Apriamo una bottiglia di vino? Shall we open a bottle of wine? That sounds like una buona idea, a good idea!
This week we learnt how to conjugate verbs for “I”, “you” and “we”, which is the same for all 3 groups of verbs. That leaves us with a couple of others that are different, which we’ll talk about next week.
That’s all we have time for today, thanks for listening. And if you’d like to get more mini Italian lessons delivered to your inbox, don’t forget to subscribe by following the link below. Grazie, and ciao for now, see you next time, or as we say in Italian, alla prossima!
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