Coniugazione: tempi, persona e numero

There are three verb CONJUGATIONS (“coniugazione”) in Italian,
identified by the endings of the infinitives:

First Conjugation -are amare to love
Second Conjugation -ere prendere to take
Third Conjugation -ire dormire to slee

There are four SIMPLE TENSES:

PRESENT: Amo I love
FUTURE: Amerò I will love
IMPERFECT: Amavo I used to love
SIMPLE PAST: Amai I loved

There are four COMPOUND TENSES:

PRESENT PERFECT: Ho parlato I have spoken, I spoke
Sono arrivato I have arrived, I arrived
FUTURE PERFECT: Avrò parlato I will have spoken
Sarò arrivato I will have arrived
PLUPERFECT: Avevo parlato I had spoken
 – Ero arrivato I had arrived
PAST ANTERIOR: Ebbi parlato I had spoken
 – Fui arrivato I had arrived

 

There are four verbal moods or modes (“modi“):

INDICATIVE (stating a fact):  Parlo italiano <I speak Italian>

SUBJUNCTIVE (expressing an attitude):  Credo lei parli italiano <I think she speaks Italian>

CONDITIONAL (indicating a possibility):  Gli studenti parlerebbero italiano, se potesser <The students would speak Italian if they could>

IMPERATIVE (giving a command):  Parla italiano! <Speak Italian!>

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.

1ST PERSON:  io canto  – I sing noi cantiamo  – we sing
2ND PERSON:  tu canti  – you sing voi cantate  – you sing
3RD PERSON:  lei canta  – she sings loro cantano  – they sing

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