Italian Verb Piacere

How to Use the Italian Verb Piacere

Indirect object + verb + subject. Not your usual sentence structure, but in the case of piacere (to please, to like) that's the way it works in Italian, and here's why: In English, you say that A likes B. In Italian, though, the same meaning is understood in different terms: B pleases A. Here are some examples:

Agli italiani piace il calcio. (Italians like soccer. Literally: Soccer is pleasing to Italians.)
Ai professori piace insegnare.

(Professors like teaching. Literally: Teaching is pleasing to professors.)
Mi piacciono le carote. (I like carrots. Literally: Carrots are pleasing to me.)

Note that in these examples, piacere is conjugated to match the subject of the sentence; in the first example, agli italiani piace il calcio, piacere is conjugated in the third person singular form, to match with calcio (soccer) and not with agli italiani (all Italians). Other verbs that follow this construction of inversion and behave similarly to piacere are listed below.

Verbs that Act Like Piacere

bastare—to be sufficient, to suffice
dispiacere—to displease, to upset
mancare—to be lacking, to miss
occorrere—to require, to need
servire—to serve, to be of use

More on Italian Verbs

When studying Italian verbs, though, avoid the temptation to make absolute comparisons to English. Although there are many similarities between the two languages, there are also many fundamental differences.

In addition, there are always exceptions to the rule. So while taking an organized approach to Italian verbs is a terrific way to improve your Italian, think of it like ordering in an Italian restaurant: be prepared to order a different primo if your favorite dish isn't available.

When learning Italian, students naturally tend to look for grammatical patterns.

Studying Italian verbs in a programmatic fashion is a wise idea, because it's an efficient use of time, and Italian verbs are classified in a variety of ways.

When studying Italian verbs, though, avoid the temptation to make absolute comparisons to English. Although there are many similarities between the two languages, there are also many fundamental differences.

In addition, there are always exceptions to the rule. So while taking an organized approach to Italian verbs is a terrific way to improve your Italian, think of it like ordering in an Italian restaurant: be prepared to order a different primo if your favorite dish isn't available.

There are three primary groups of Italian verbs, classified according to the ending of their infinitives: first conjugation (-are verbs), second conjugation (-ere verbs), and third conjugation (-ire verbs).

Most Italian verbs belong to the first-conjugation group and follow a highly uniform pattern. Once you learn how to conjugate one -are verb, you've essentially learned hundreds of them. And what about those Italian verbs that don't end in -are? Second-conjugation (-ere) verbs account for approximately one quarter of all Italian verbs. Although many have some sort of irregular structure, there are also many regular -ere verbs.

The final group of Italian verbs are those that end in -ire.

 

Workbook Exercises

Questions | Answers
Adjectives
A. Complete the following with the correct form of the italicized verb.

  1. Mi ________________ dieci dollari. Puoi prestarmeli? (servire)
  2. Ti ________________ quel ragazzo? (piacere)
  3. Mi ________________ le forbice. (occorrere)
  4. ________________ dopo dieci pagine per un saggio. (bastare)
  5. Quanti fogli vuoi? Me ne ________________ due. (occorrere)
  6. Ci ________________ il tuo aiuto. (servire)
  7. Ci ________________ molto che tu non sia potuto venire. (dispiacere)
  8. Ai Rossi ________________ molto la figlia. (mancare)
  9. Non mi ________________ il pesce. (piacere)
  10. Mi ________________ molto i miei genitori. (mancare)

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Filippo, Michael San. "Italian Verb Piacere." ThoughtCo, Aug. 21, 2016, thoughtco.com/italian-verb-piacere-2011689. Filippo, Michael San. (2016, August 21). Italian Verb Piacere. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/italian-verb-piacere-2011689 Filippo, Michael San. "Italian Verb Piacere." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/italian-verb-piacere-2011689 (accessed January 17, 2018).