Italian Pronominal Verbs

Verbs Conjugated With Two Pronominal Particles

Woman running through the streets
Darsela a gambe: to run away. Martin Barraud/Caiaimage/Getty Images

Italian pronominal verbs (verbi pronominali) are verbs conjugated with two different pronominal particles (particelle pronominali). In the infinitive, these verbs frequently end in -sene (such as tornarsene or vergognarsene) or else have other pronominal particles attached (such as mettercela or squagliarsela). Oftentimes these verbs are used idiomatically.

Intransitivi Pronominali

There are several pronominal verbs which are intransitive. Examples include curarsene and partirsene, in which the reflexive pronoun si is used to emphasize the concept or describe a reciprocal action and the pronoun can mean "about it," "any," "some," or "from there." Note that the pronoun si becomes se when followed by another particle (partirsene and not partirsine).

Below is a list of some common intransitivi pronominali:

  • approfittarsene: to take advantage of something or somebody
  • curarsene (or prendersene cura): to be cured of
  • dirsene di tutti i colori: to call one another names
  • fregarsene: not to care (colloquial; to be avoided in formal situations)—Me ne frego.
  • guardarsene: to beware, to avoid
  • infischiarsene: not to care (colloquial; to be avoided in formal situations)—Me ne infischio.
  • intendersene: to be an expert
  • invaghirsene: to become infatuated; dated, but can be still encountered in written speech—Narciso vide il suo viso riflesso nell'acqua e se ne invaghì.
  • lavarsene (le mani): to wash one's hands of something
  • occuparsene: to take care of something
  • pentirsene: to regret something
  • sbattersene : not to care (colloquial; to be avoided in formal situations)—Me ne sbatto.
  • tornarsene: emphatic for —Basta! Me ne torno da mia madre!

Andarsene

The verb andarsene ("to go away"—used emphatically) is a frequently encountered Italian pronominal verb and can serve as a model for conjugating similar verbs. Here are some examples of the verb andarsene used in a sentence:

  • "Vattene, non ti voglio più vedere!" (go away, I don't want to see you again)
  • "Me ne vado" (I'm going away)
  • "Perché ve ne andate?"(Why are you going away?)
  • "Se ne stava tutta sola in un angolo” (she was sitting in a corner all by herself);

Note, when conjugating the imperative and gerund of andarsene and similar verbs that have two pronominal particles that both are appended to the conjugated verb (Andatevene!; Vattene!; Andiamocene!), while in other moods and tenses the pronoun ne, as well as the particles mi, ti, si, ci, and vi precede the verb. In addition, the particles make a phonetic change to me, te, se, ce, and ve.

Two Pronominal Particles

In addition to the ending -sene, some Italian pronominal verbs are formed with the reflexive particle plus a pronome oggetto (object pronoun), or else a combination with the particles ci and ne. These verbs frequently have idiomatic meanings also.

More Italian Pronominal Verbs / Verbi Pronominali

  • avercela: to be angry with
  • cavarsela: to get out of a difficulty—Siamo riusciti a cavarcela.
  • darsele: to come to blows—Carlo e Giacomo se le sono date per lei.
  • darsela a gambe: to run away
  • dormirsela: to sleep soundly— Io lavoro e lui se la dorme! farcela: to manage—Scommetto che ce la farai a superare l’esame.
  • filarsela: to beat it—Potrebbero sorprenderci, è meglio filarsela.
  • godersela: to have a good time—Lui sì che se la gode!
  • intendersela: to have an affair—Sai con chi se la intende? Se la sono intesa per un anno e poi si sono lasciati.
  • mettercela tutta: do one's best
  • prendersela: to take offense
  • prendersela (comoda): to take one's time—Prenditela pure comoda, non c'è fretta.
  • squagliarsela: to sneak away—Ce la siamo squagliata per non incontrarli.
  • svignarsela: to sneak away—Appena possibile ce la svignamo.
  • trovarcisi: to find oneself
  • vedercisi: to see oneself doing something
  • vedersela brutta: to fear the worst