Second Conjugation Italian Verbs

–Ere Verbs in Italian

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The infinitives of all regular verbs in Italian end in –are, –ere, or –ire and are referred to as first, second, or third conjugation verbs, respectively. In English the infinitive (l'infinito) consists of to + verb.

amare to love   temere to fear   sentire to hear

Verbs with infinitives ending in –ere are called second conjugation, or –ere, verbs. The present tense of a regular –ere verb is formed by dropping the infinitive ending –ere and adding the appropriate endings to the resulting stem. There is a different ending for each person.

Characteristics of the Second Conjugation

  • The «passato remoto» (historical past) of the second conjugation verbs has two diverse forms of the first and third person singular and third person plural:
  • io temetti/temei
    egli temette/temé
    essi temettero/temeronoio vendetti/vendei
    egli vendette/vendé
    essi vendettero/venderono
    Note! In standard usage the forms –etti, –ette, and –ettero are preferred. The majority of verbs whose root ends in t though, such as battere, potere, and riflettere, take the endings –ei, –é and –erono.
    io battei
    egli batté
    essi batterono
    io potei
    egli poté
    essi poterono
    io riflettei
    egli rifletté
    essi rifletterono
  • The verbs fare and dire are considered second conjugation verbs (because they are derived from two third conjugation Latin verbs—facere and dicere) as well as all verbs ending in –arre (trarre), –orre (porre), and –urre (tradurre).
  • Verbs ending in –cere (vincere), –gere (scorgere), or –scere (conoscere) have a particular phonetic rule. C, g, and sc of the root maintains the soft sound of the infinitive before the declinations that start with e or i. They take the hard sound before the declinations that begin with a or o:
  • vincere
    tu vinci
    che egli vincaspargere
    tu spargi
    che egli sparga
    tu conosci
    che egli conosca
    tu cresci
    che egli cresca
  • Many irregular verbs ending in –cere (piacere, dispiace, giacere, nuocere, tacere) maintain the soft sound by inserting an i before declinations that begin with a or o; if the verb has a regular past participle ending in –uto, an i is also added:
  • nuocere
    io nuoccio
    tu nuoci
    essi nuocciono
    io piaccio
    tu piaci
    essi piacciono
    io giaccio
    tu giaci
    essi giacciono
  • Verbs ending in –gnere are regular and maintain the i of the declinations iamo (indicative and present subjunctive) and iate (present subjunctive):
  • spegnere
    noi spegniamo
    che voi spegniate
  • Verbs ending in –iere drop the i of the root before declinations that start with i:
  • compiere
    tu compi
    noi compiamo
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Your Citation
Filippo, Michael San. "Second Conjugation Italian Verbs." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Filippo, Michael San. (2020, August 27). Second Conjugation Italian Verbs. Retrieved from Filippo, Michael San. "Second Conjugation Italian Verbs." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 24, 2022).