Irregular Past Participles in Italian

Learn which verbs have irregular past participles

Street art in Rome
Street art in Rome. Dallas Stribley

You’ve learned that if you want to talk about the past in Italian, you’re going to have to learn the past participles of each verb. Lucky for you, a lot of verbs in Italian are considered regular and therefore have formulaic endings, like how regular -are verbs end in -ato. For example, parlare → parlato; andare → andato; camminare → camminato; guardare → guardato.

While you do get off easy when it comes to those regular verbs, many verbs in Italian, especially the ones ending in -ere, have irregular past participles.

Below you’ll find a list of some of the most common infinitives as well as their past participle forms. Plus, you’ll also see a sample variation, like “riaccendere” being a variant of “accendere”.

IRREGULAR PAST PARTICIPLES

INFINITIVE

PAST PARTICIPLE

VARIATION ON THE INFINITIVE

PAST PARTICIPLE

accendere

acceso

riaccendere

riacceso

chiedere

chiesto

richiedere

richiesto

chiudere

chiuso

racchiudere

racchiuso

cogliere

colto

raccogliere

raccolto

cuocere

cotto

stracuocere

stracotto

dire

detto

predire

predetto

dividere

diviso

condividere

condiviso

fare

fatto

strafare

strafatto

leggere

letto

rileggere

riletto

porre

posto

frapporre

frapposto

reggere

retto

correggere

corretto

rispondere

risposto

corrispondere

corrisposto

rompere

rotto

corrompere

corrotto

scegliere

scelto

prescegliere

prescelto

scrivere

scritto

riscrivere

riscritto

trarre

tratto

ritrarre

ritratto

vincere

vinto

convincere

convinto

volgere

volto

rivolgere

rivolto

Gli esempi:

  • Ci hanno chiesto aiuto. - They asked us for help.

  • Non ha chiuso la porta. - She didn’t close the door.

  • Che hai detto? - What did you say?

  • Avete letto quel libro? - Have you all read that book?

  • Ti ho scritto una lettera ieri sera. - I wrote you a letter last night.

  • Non mi ha ancora risposto. - He hasn’t answered me yet.

  • Scusa, abbiamo rotto i bicchieri. - Sorry, we broke the glasses.

  • Hanno vinto il gioco! - They won the game!

Other common irregular past participles:

  • Bere (to drink) → Bevuto (drank)

  • Dare (to give) → Dato (gave)

  • Mettere (to put) → Messo (put)

  • Morire (to die) → Morto (died)

  • Nascere (to be born) → Nato (born)

  • Perdere (to lose) → Perso (lost)

  • Ridere (to laugh) → Riso (laughed)

  • Rimanere (to remain) → Rimasto (remained)

  • Scendere (to descend, to go down) →  Sceso (descended)

  • Vivere (to live) → Vissuto (lived)

Is there still a pattern?

Even though these past participles are considered irregular, many of them have repeating patterns. For example, the past participle of any verb that ends in -mettere will also end in -messo.

For example:

  • Ammettere (to admit, to allow in, to let in) becomes ammesso

  • Commettere (to commit, to commission) becomes commesso

  • Dimettere (to dismiss, to remove) becomes dimesso

  • Omettere (to omit, to leave out) becomes omesso

  • Promettere (to promise) becomes promesso

  • Rimettere (to remit, to refer) becomes rimesso

It will take some practice, but once you recognize the patterns and commit others to memory, it will be a lot easier to talk about the past with confidence. If you need to review how to form the past tense (il passato prossimo), take a look at this article here and then review this article on auxiliary verbs as well.

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Hale, Cher. "Irregular Past Participles in Italian." ThoughtCo, Aug. 16, 2016, thoughtco.com/irregular-past-participles-in-italian-4074849. Hale, Cher. (2016, August 16). Irregular Past Participles in Italian. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/irregular-past-participles-in-italian-4074849 Hale, Cher. "Irregular Past Participles in Italian." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/irregular-past-participles-in-italian-4074849 (accessed January 18, 2018).