Caratteristiche generali dei verbi

Usually the subject of a verb is the ‘agent’ or ‘doer’ of an action, the ‘protagonist’ of an event:

Noi partiamo per l’America
We leave for America

Andrea e Maria partono per l’America
Andrea and Maria leave for America

Sometimes we talk of facts rather than actions. Here the ‘subject’ of the verb is not ‘doing’ anything, but is the theme or main topic expressed by the verb:

Anna è bionda
Ann is blonde

Questo film dura due ore
This film lasts two hours

The different forms of the verb, determined by its grammatical subject, are called the persons:

Io

I

Singular first person (the speaker)

Tu

You

Singular second person (the person addressed)

Lui/Lei

He/She/It

Singular third person (the third party)

Noi

We

Plural first person (the speaker + other people)

Voi

You

Plural second person (the people addressed)

Loro

They

Plural third person (the third parties)

In each tense, Italian verbs have six different endings, depending on who or what is carrying out the action. The different endings immediately identify the ‘person’ – the subject of the action – unlike in English where only the third person singular has a distinctive ending (‘I drink, you drink, he drinks’).

It is not necessary to use subject pronouns (I, you, he/she,etc.) in Italian, unless we need to give particular emphasis to the subject.
Traditionally we distinguish three conjugations defined by the form that the verb takes in the infinitive (the infinitive is the form used in dictionary entries):

1st conjugation ending in -are as cant-are ‘to sing’
2nd conjugation ending in -ere as cred-ere ‘to believe’
3rd conjugation ending in -ire as dorm-ire ‘to sleep’

The verbs of the 3rd conjugation (ending in -ire) follow two distinct patterns, the second of which, with endings in -isco, as in fin-ire/fin-isco ‘to finish’, is the most frequent. Both patterns, however, are considered as belonging to the same conjugation, because of the -ire ending of the infinitive.
The different forms and uses of Italian verbs are traditionally grouped in seven moods. These convey the different characteristics of the actions or facts that the speaker or writer wants to communicate: certainty or doubt, politeness or straightforwardness, command, etc.
The seven moods are:

indicative
conditional
subjunctive
imperative
participle
infinitive

Maria Scalici

Info EASY LeArNGUAGE
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