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Italian Grammar

A Short Overview


BASIC GRAMMAR



Articles:
Definite Article; the
singpl
masc nounsili
masc nouns that
begin with z or
s + consonant
logli
femlale
masc/fem
before a vowel
l'



When used with prepositions, the definite article contracts with certain preposition. Below is a list of these contractions.

Definite Article Contractions
preposition+article=contraction
di+il=del
di+lo=dello
di+la=della
di+l'=dell'
di+i=dei
di+gli=degli
di+le=delle
con+il=col
con+i=coi
a+il=al
a+lo=allo
a+la=alla
a+l'=all'
a+i=ai
a+gli=agli
a+le=alle
su+il=sul
su+la=sulla
su+lo=sullo
su+gli=sugli



Indefinite Article
mascun
femuna


Use uno before a masculine noun that begins with letter Z or with S + a consonant.
Una becomes un' before feminine nouns that begin with a vowel.




Nouns:
Nouns are either masculine or feminine. This gender is determined by grammar and not by the sex or lack of sex of the object. The best way to deal with this is to learn the definite article with each new noun you learn. Knowing which form of the definite article goes with the noun can tell you the gender of the noun.

In general, nouns ending in -o are masculine and nouns ending in -a are feminine. For those ending in other letters you must memorize the gender as you learn the noun.

Plural
singularplural
nouns
ending in
-o-i
nouns
ending in
-a-e
nouns
ending in
-e-i


Nouns ending in an accented vowel or in a consonant don't change for plural.

There is no 's in Italian. So you have to say "of" di.





Adjectives and adverbs:
Adjectives usually follow their nouns. Adjectives must agree in number (singular or plural) and gender (masculine or feminine).

To make a adverb from an adjective <-ly in English> add -mente to the feminine form of the adjective adjective.

There is no er,est. So, you have to say more and the most, PI (more) and IL/LA PI (the most) . To say 'very' add -issimo or -issimato the adjective.


Comparison

more..... than pi .... che
less .... than meno ... che
as much.....as tanto ... quanto
as.....as cos... come






Pronouns:
Subjects do the action. Objects receive the action. Possessives own something.
A note: Italian still uses thou, thee, thy, thine for people you are on first name terms with.

English SubjectObjectIndirect ObjectAfter PreposistionPossessive
Iiomimimeil mio
Thoututititeil tuo
He/ itluilogliluiil suo
She/ itleilaleleila sua
YOU
(polite)
LeiLaLeLeiil Suo
Wenoicicinoiil nostro
Youvoivivivoiil vostro
Theyloroliloroloroil loro
Theyloroleloroloroil loro
You
(polite)
LoroLiLoroLoroil Loro




The possessive forms are now -o/-a adjectives and, like adjectives, must agree in number and gender with the NOUNS they modify. Object pronouns preceed their verbs even if negative. Object pronouns follow participles, infinitives, and imperatives.





Verbs:
(Infinitives) Verbs with "to..." end in are, ere, or ire.
(Present Participle) Verbs with "-ing" end in ando,endo, endo.
(Past Particples) Verbs with "-ed" end in ato,uto, ito.

(Progressive present) Use the present participle after STAR.
* * The compound past tenses work like English and use AVERE with the past participle.
* * Negative: Place NON before the verb or object pronoun.
* * Interrogative: 1. Keep the statement and raise the voice at the end.
2. Reverse the subject and verb.
* * Passive: Try to avoid it by saying for example "One sees clouds in the sky" instead of "Clouds are seen in the sky".
For an impersonal third person paasive you can use a reflexive pronoun to express the passive. Il si trova su la tavola. The book is found on the table.
If you do use the passive it works just like English. Use ESSERE and the past participle. PER is by.
* * Verbs Used As Nouns: In English we use the present participle<-ing>, but in Italian you,generally, use the infinitive <-are,-ere,-ire>.

The charts below list the verbal endings in this order...
I
you (familiar singular)
he, she, it, you (formal singular)
we
you(familiar plural)
they, you (formal plural)


-ARE Verbs:

 

parlare (to speak), parlato (spoken), parlando (speaking)

Present

Imperfect

Preterit

Subjunctive present

Subjunctive past

Parlo

Parlavo

Parlai

Parli

Parlassi

Parli

Parlavi

Parlasti

Parli

Parlassi

Parla

Parlava

Parl

Parli

Parlasse

Parliamo

Parlavamo

Parlammo

Parliamo

Parlassimo

Parlate

Parlavate

Parlaste

Parliate

Parlaste

Parlano

Parlavano

Parlarono

Parlino

Parlassero

Future

Conditionnal

Imperative

Parler

Parlerei

 

Parlerai

Parleresti

Parla

Parler

Parlerebbe

 

Parleremo

Parleremmo

Parliamo

Parlerete

Parlereste

Parlate

Parleranno

Parlerebbero

 





-ERE Verbs:

 

vendere (to sell), venduto (sold), vendendo (selling)

Present

Imperfect

Preterit

Subjunctive present

Subjunctive past

vendo

vendevo

vendei

venda

vendessi

vendi

vendevi

vendesti

venda

vendessi

vende

vendeva

vend

venda

vendesse

vendiamo

vendevamo

vendemmo

vendiamo

vendessimo

vendete

vendevate

vendeste

vendiate

vendeste

vendono

vendevano

venderono

vendano

vendessero

Future

Conditional

Imperative

vender

venderei

 

venderai

venderesti

vendi

vender

venderebbe

 

venderemo

venderemmo

vendiamo

venderete

vendereste

vendete

venderanno

venderebbero

 





-IRE Verbs:

 

finire (to finish), finito (finished), finendo (finishing)

Present

Imperfect

Preterit

Subjunctive present

Subjunctive past

finisco

finivo

finii

finisca

finissi

finisci

finivi

finisti

finisca

finissi

finisce

finiva

fin

finisca

finisse

finiamo

finivamo

finimmo

finiamo

finissimo

finete

finivate

finiste

finiate

finiste

finiscono

finivano

finirono

finiscano

finissero

Future

Conditionnal

Imperative

finer

finerei

 

finerai

fineresti

finisci

finer

finerebbe

 

fineremo

fineremmo

finiamo

finerete

finereste

finite

fineranno

finerebbero

 



Click for some Irregular Verbs