Italian Language Lessons: Italian Present Tense

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Italian verbs with infinitives ending in -ere are called second-conjugation (seconda coniugazione) or -ere verbs. The present tense of a regular -ere verb is formed by dropping the infinitive ending and adding the appropriate endings (-o-i-e-iamo-ete-ono) to the stem. For an example on how to conjugate a regular second-conjugation verb, take a look the following table.

 

PRESENT TENSE CONJUGATION OF SCRIVERE (TO WRITE)

PERSONSINGULARPLURAL
I(io) scrivo (I write)(noi) scriviamo (we write)
II(tu) scrivi (you write, familiar)(voi) scrivete (you write, familiar)
III(Lei) scrive (you write, formal)(Loro) scrivono (you write, formal)
 (lui/lei) scrive (he/she writes)(loro) scrivono (they write)

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 verbs (see the following table for examples) which are conjugated in the same way as scrivere.

 

COMMON SECOND-CONJUGATION VERBS

accendereto light, ignite; turn/switch on
battereto beat, to hit
cadereto fall
chiedereto ask
conoscereto know
correreto run
credereto believe
descrivereto describe
eleggereto elect
leggereto read
mettereto put, to place
mordereto bite
nascereto be born
offendereto offend
perdereto lose
rimanereto remain, to stay
ridereto laugh
rompereto break
vendereto sell
sopravvivereto survive


While the infinitive forms of both first- and third-conjugation Italian verbs always have the accent on the final -are or -ire, second-conjugation verbs are often pronounced with the accent on the third-to-last syllable, as in prendere (PREHN-deh-ray).

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