Italian Verb Tenses

Italian verbs are complex to English speakers, only because of the number of distinct forms each verb can have. The complexity comes with the number of tenses and persons.

There is no gender distinction in Italian verbs (unlike nouns, which have two genders). However, there are six personal forms per tense (three persons: first, second, third; and two numbers: singular, plural).

There is two verb tenses:
  • Simple tenses:The simple tenses are verb tenses that consist of one word only, such as the present tense.

  • Compound tenses:The compound tenses (i tempi composti) are verb tenses that consist of two words, such as the passato prossimo (present perfect).

The conjugated forms of verbs agree with the person and number of the subject.  There are two numbers (singular and plural) and three persons.  First person is the speaker; second person is the one spoken to; third person is the one spoken about. For example, for the present tense:

Persons Singular Plural

1st. Person io parlo  »  I speak noi parliamo  »  we speak
2nd. Person tu parli  »  you speak voi parlate  »  you speak
3rd. Person lei parla  »  she speaks loro parlano  »  they speak



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