Top-10 Common Irregular Verbs in Italian

Top-10 Common Irregular Verbs in Italian

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Welcome to our Beginners’ Italian Course! Today, we are looking at the top-10 common irregular verbs in Italian.

We need to talk about common irregular verbs. Verbs of this nature usually fail to follow the normal conjugation procedures in Italian; hence, it is necessary that one memorizes their specific forms. These include some common Italian irregular verbs with their present tense conjugations.

Essere (to be)

"Essere" is a copula verb which means it’s a linking verb joining a subject to its subject complement (predicate noun or adjective). It’s useful for showing identity, characteristics and attributes. Further "essere" is important being a basic verb that can be used as part of other verb conjugations and tenses.
Follow this link to learn more about the verb 'essere'.

Avere (to have)

"Avere" functions as an auxiliary verb in making some verb constructions such as causative "far avere" (to make someone have) or the passive "essere avuto" (to be had). The understanding of "avere" is crucial for learning/ forming compound verb tenses in Italian. The other side is that students differentiate between possession and identity by knowing when to use "avere" and when to use "essere".
Here you can read more about the verb 'avere'.

Fare (to do / to make)

"Fare" is a versatile verb which refers to various actions and activities that encompass many idiomatic expressions, such as "fare attenzione" (to pay attention), "fare un viaggio" (to take a trip), etc. "Fare" is also used in certain expressions to indicate the passage of time. For instance, "fa un anno" (it's been a year) or "fa tanto tempo" (it's been a long time).
Follow this link to learn more about the verb fare.

Andare (to go)

Andare is a common action verb in Italian. Learners who are able to use it appropriately can talk about movement, physical actions or goings from one place to another. Andare is often used as an auxiliary verb with other verbs to form the Future Tense (Futuro Prossimo).
For example:
Io vado a mangiare (I am going to eat.)

Andare has a huge impact on daily life in Italy. The ability to employ this verb correctly permits interaction and making plans and makes conversation possible with native Italians. You also need to use "andare" in order to construct the Present Continuous Tense (Forma Progressiva) in Italian. By combining the Present Tense of "andare" with the gerund form of another verb, learners can describe an action that is currently taking place.

Conjugation of the verb andare in the Present Tense:
Io vado (I go)
Tu vai (You go, informal singular)
Lui / Lei va (He/she/You go, formal)
Noi andiamo (We go)
Voi andate (You all go)
Loro vanno (They go)

Venire (to come)

Venire enables learners to express these concepts: movement and arrival; thus they can say when someone is coming towards any given location or event. Understanding "venire" is necessary for giving invitations and making arrangements with others. Its use among students allows them invite their colleagues for a meeting or any such activity. "Venire" is also used to form the present continuous tense (forma progressiva) in Italian when combined with the gerund of another verb. They use it for describing actions happening at the moment. Venire can be used as an auxiliary verb to form the future tense (futuro prossimo) when combined with the infinitive form of another verb.

Conjugation of the verb "venire" in the Present Tense:
Io vengo (I come)
Tu vieni (You come, informal singular)
Lui / Lei viene (He/she/You come, formal)
Noi veniamo (We come)
Voi venite (You all come)
Loro vengono (They come)

Stare (to stay, to be)

Stare is a highly essential verb in Italian as it is used to indicate both physical location and the state of being at a given moment. "Stare" is employed in numerous idiomatic expressions, such as "stare attento" (to be careful), "stare zitto" (to be quiet), "stare bene" (to be fine/well), etc. Learning these expressions enhances vocabulary and cultural understanding. Stare is used in the imperative form to give orders or commands politely.
For example:
Stai tranquillo (Stay calm);
Stiamo insieme (Let's stay together).

While both "stare" and "essere" can translate to "to be" in English, "stare" specifically refers to temporary states, while "essere" refers to permanent or inherent qualities.

Conjugation of the verb stare in the Present Tense:
Io sto (I stay/am)
Tu stai (You stay/are, informal singular)
Lui / Lei sta (He/she/You stay/are, formal)
Noi stiamo (We stay/are)
Voi state (You all stay/are)
Loro stanno (They stay/are)

Dare (to give)

Dare is used to discuss gifting or offering something to others, making it essential for expressing generosity and kindness. Understanding "dare" is crucial for asking for directions or giving instructions on how to reach a location. "Dare" can be used politely to ask someone if they would like something or offer to give assistance. "Dare" is also used to form the present continuous tense (forma progressiva) in Italian when combined with the gerund of another verb. This tense is used to describe actions happening at the moment. Understanding the conjugation of "dare" serves as a foundation for learning the conjugation of other -are verbs with similar patterns.

Conjugation of the verb dare in the Present Tense:
Io do (I give)
Tu dai (You give, informal singular)
Lui / Lei dà (He/she/You give, formal)
Noi diamo (We give)
Voi date (You all give)
Loro danno (They give)

Sapere (to know information)

Sapere is used to form questions that ask for specific information or inquire about someone's knowledge.
For example:
Sai dov'è il ristorante? (Do you know where the restaurant is?)

"Sapere" is used to form the present continuous tense (forma progressiva) in Italian when combined with the gerund of another verb. This tense describes actions happening at the moment. "Sapere" is essential for asking about opening hours, schedules, prices, and other practical information when traveling or living in Italy.

Conjugation of the verb sapere in the Present Tense:
Io so (I know)
Tu sai (You know, informal singular)
Lui / Lei sa (He/she/You know, formal)
Noi sappiamo (We know)
Voi sapete (You all know)
Loro sanno (They know)

Conoscere (to know people/places)

Conoscere is essential for social interactions, as it allows students to talk about knowing others, making new acquaintances, and building relationships. While both "sapere" and "conoscere" can translate to "to know" in English, "conoscere" specifically refers to knowing people or being familiar with places, whereas "sapere" refers to factual information. "Conoscere" is used to form the present continuous tense (forma progressiva) in Italian when combined with the gerund of another verb. This tense allows to describe ongoing or continuous actions in the present.

Conjugation of the verb conoscere in the Present Tense:
Io conosco (I know)
Tu conosci (You know, informal singular)
Lui / Lei conosce (He/she/You know, formal)
Noi conosciamo (We know)
Voi conoscete (You all know)
Loro conoscono (They know)

Volere (to want)

Volere is a verb for expressing desires, wishes, and wants. It allows students to communicate what they want or need in various situations. "Volere" can be used to ask for information or inquire about someone's intentions.
For example:
Vuoi un caffè? (Do you want a coffee?)

"Volere" can be used as an auxiliary verb to form the future tense (futuro prossimo) when combined with the infinitive form of another verb. "Volere" can be used in polite expressions, such as vorrei (I would like) or vorresti" (Would you like).

Conjugation of the verb volere in the Present Tense:
Io voglio (I want)
Tu vuoi (You want, informal singular)
Lui / Lei vuole (He/she/You want, formal)
Noi vogliamo (We want)
Voi volete (You all want)
Loro vogliono (They want)

Summary

Let's summarize. Understanding and using the irregular verbs effectively is very important for basic communication and engaging in everyday conversations in Italian. This is why we learn the conjugations of some irregular verbs. Pay attention to the new words and phrases you came across in the lesson:
Andare (to go)
Venire (to come)
Stare (to stay / to be)
Dare (to give)
Sapere (to know information)
Conoscere (to know people/places)
Volere (to want)
Mangiare (to eat)
Tranquillo (calm)
Insieme (together)
Dov'è (where?)
We are waiting for you in the next lesson, where we will talk about Passato Prossimo - a Past Tense in Italian. Good luck!