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Italian Made Fun & Simple


After a short break from our normal lesson format to do a lesson on the Italian festival theme, we return to our work with verbs.

When learning Italian, students naturally tend to look for grammatical patterns. Studying Italian verbs in a programmatic fashion is a wise idea, because it’s an efficient use of time, and Italian verbs are classified in a variety of ways.

Mastering verb usage is also key to speaking a new language, so we’ll spend a little more time focusing on the important grammar concept. In past lessons we worked with statements. We now need to learn how to form questions and make negative statements. Most Italian verbs belong to the first-conjugation group and follow a highly uniform pattern. Once you learn how to conjugate one –are verb, you’ve essentially learned hundreds of them. And what about those Italian verbs that don’t end in –are? Second-conjugation (-ere) verbs account for approximately one quarter of all Italian verbs. Although many have some sort of irregular structure, there are also many regular –ere verbs. The final group of Italian verbs are those that end in –ire. We will stay with –are verbs to do this, keeping in mind that all the grammar concepts applicable to –are words, apply to the other category of verbs; –ereire, and irregular verbs.

Before we move on with the actual explanation, let’s increase our vocabulary.

Amare to love

Aiutare to help

Arrivare to arrive

Aspettare to wait

Cominciare to begin

Cucinare to cook

Guidare to drive (a car)

Mandare to send

Mangiare to eat

Portare to carry

Ritornare to return

Salutare to greet

The general pattern for conjugating  are verbs

You can treat most regular –are verbs (aka “first conjugation” verbs) the same way. The trick is just to whack off the –are and replace it with the endings listed below.

• –o

• –i

• –a

• –iamo

• –ate

• –ano

Using comprare (to buy) note the underlined part that changes.

• I buy = Io compro

• You buy = Tu compri

• She buys = Lei compra

• He buys = Lui compra

• We buy = Noi compriamo

• You buy (more than one person) = Voi comprate

• They buy = Loro comprano

Noi compriamo ogni anno dei vestiti di Armani.

See comprare in action:

• Quando compro dei vestiti, il mio conto in banca piange.

Whenever I buy clothes, my bank account cries.

• Tu compri gli occhiali da sole di Versace.

You buy a pair of Versace sunglasses.

• Anna compra sempre le sue scarpe a Milano.

Anna always buys her shoes in Milan.

• Noi compriamo ogni anno dei vestiti di Armani.

Every year, we buy Armani clothes.

• Perchè voi comprate i vestiti del cane nei negozi di Gucci?

Why do you buy the dog’s clothes in Gucci stores?

• Non ho mai capito perchè gli italiani comprano solo vestiti di marca.

I’ve never understood why Italians only buy brand clothes.

In the next lesson we will cover verb present tense usage in Italian, negative sentences and asking questions.

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