-isc Type Italian Verbs

Some third-conjugation Italian verbs take -isc suffix

Runners running through a Finish Line
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Most Italian verbs are regular verbs, meaning they are conjugated following a regular pattern. But there is a special group of third conjugation Italian verbs (verbs ending in –ire) that requires the suffix -isc- to be added to the stem of all three singular (io, tu, lei) and the third-person plural (loro) forms in the present indicative and present subjunctive tenses, as well as the second and third person singular and the third-person plural forms of the present imperative tense. One good example of such verbs is finire (to finish).

Present Indicative

io finisco
tu finisci
egli finisce
essi finiscono

Present Subjunctive

che io finisca
che tu finisca
che egli finisca
che essi finiscano

Present Imperative


Other verbs that need the -isc- suffix and are conjugated similar to finire include capire, preferire, pulire, suggerire, and tradire. Unfortunately, there is no way to know which third conjugation verbs are "isc" verbs. Your only option is to commit these verbs to memory. Interestingly enough, in some classic grammatical systems, -isc type verbs were considered a fourth conjugation.

Optional -isc- Verbs

For certain -ire verbs there is a choice as to whether -isc- is inserted or not when conjugating. The most common include:

aborrire (to abhor, to loathe)—io aborro / aborrisco
applaudire (to clap, to applaud)—io applaudo / applaudisco
assorbire (to absorb)—io assorbo / assorbisco
eseguire (to carry out)—io eseguo / eseguisco
(to swallow (up), gulp (down); engulf)—io inghiotto / inghiottisco
languire (to languish)—io languo / languisco
(to lie)—io mento / mentisco
(to nourish, to feed)—io nutro / nutrisco

Different Forms, Different Meanings

Some -ire verbs not only have both forms (that is, they are conjugated both with and without the suffix -isc) but take on diverse significance. For example, the verb ripartire:

io riparto (to leave again)
io ripartisco (to divide)