How to Use Reciprocal Reflexive Verbs in Italian

Black and white photo of two actors portraying Romeo and Juliet.

Photoplay, January 1955 / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Romeo and Juliet meet, hug, kiss, and fall in love. They comfort each other, admire each other, and get married — but not without help from reciprocal reflexive verbs (i verbi riflessivi reciproci).

These verbs express a reciprocal action that involves more than one person. The plural reflexive pronouns ci, vi, and si are used when conjugating reciprocal reflexive verbs.

Here are a few examples. Since we’re talking about a story like "Romeo and Juliet," note that the verbs are conjugated in the past remote tense, which is the tense typically used to tell stories or recount the historical past.

  • Si abbracciarono affettuosamente. They embraced each other affectionately.
  • Ci scambiammo alcune informazioni. We exchanged some information.
  • Vi scriveste frequentemente, dopo quell'estate. You frequently wrote to each other after that summer.

Reciprocal Reflexive Verbs in the Past Tense

If you want to use a reciprocal reflexive verb using the passato prossimo, there are a couple of things you need to know about.

First, you need to conjugate it with the auxiliary verb (also called a “helper verb”) essere (to be).

Second, you need to know the past participle of the verb you’re using. For example, if you wanted to use baciarsi (to kiss each other), the past participle would be baciato. Since we’re talking about two people here, the -o at the end of baciato will become an -i to show that it’s plural.

The past participle depends on whether the verb ends in -are, -ere, or -ire.

Therefore, if you wanted to say “They kissed each other at the airport,” it would read “Si sono baciati all’aeroporto.”

Here are a couple of other examples in various tenses:

  • (Il presente) Non si piacciono, ma si rispettano. They don’t like each other, but they respect each other.
  • (Il passato prossimo) Si sono conosciuti alla festa di lavoro del mese scorso. They met each other at the work party last month.
  • (L’imperfetto) Ogni giorno si salutavano, ma lui non le ha mai chiesto di uscire. Every day, they greeted each other, but he never asked her out.

Other reciprocal verbs are listed in the table below.

Common Italian Reciprocal Verbs


to embrace each other (one another)


to help each other (one another)


to love each other (one another)


to admire each other (one another)


to kiss each other (one another)


to know each other (also: to meet)


to comfort each other (one another)


to meet (each other)


to fall in love (with each other)


to insult each other (one another)


to recognize each other (one another)


to respect each other (one another)


to see each other again (one another)


to greet each other (one another)


to write to each other (one another)


to get married (to each other)


to see each other (one another)


to visit each other (one another)

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Filippo, Michael San. "How to Use Reciprocal Reflexive Verbs in Italian." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Filippo, Michael San. (2023, April 5). How to Use Reciprocal Reflexive Verbs in Italian. Retrieved from Filippo, Michael San. "How to Use Reciprocal Reflexive Verbs in Italian." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 8, 2023).