Using Italian Reflexive Pronouns

Two women chatting and having breakfast at sidewalk cafe, Milan, Italy

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In a reflexive sentence the action of the verb reverts to the subject, as in the following examples: I wash myself. They enjoy themselves. In reflexive sentences, Italian verbs, like English verbs, are conjugated with reflexive pronouns.

Reflexive pronouns (i pronomi riflessivi) are identical in form to direct object pronouns, except for the third person form si (the third person singular and plural form).

mi myself ci ourselves
ti yourself vi yourselves
si himself, herself, itself, yourself (formal) si themselves, yourselves (formal)

Just like direct object pronouns, reflexive pronouns are placed before a conjugated verb or attached to the infinitive. If the infinitive is preceded by a form of doverepotere, or volere, the reflexive pronoun is either attached to the infinitive (which drops its final –e) or placed before the conjugated verb. Note that the reflexive pronoun agrees with the subject even when attached to the infinitive.

Mi alzo. (I’m getting up.)
Voglio alzarmiMi voglio alzare. (I want to get up.)

Mi, ti, si, and vi may drop the i before another vowel or an h and replace it with an apostrophe. Ci may drop the i only before an i or e.

Si lava tutti i giorni. (He washes himself every day.)
Ci divertiamo molto qui. (We enjoy ourselves a lot here.)
A casa, m’annoio. (At home, I get bored.)

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Filippo, Michael San. "Using Italian Reflexive Pronouns." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Filippo, Michael San. (2020, August 28). Using Italian Reflexive Pronouns. Retrieved from Filippo, Michael San. "Using Italian Reflexive Pronouns." ThoughtCo. (accessed April 2, 2023).