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:

temere

  • io temetti/temei
  • lei/lui/Lei temette/temé
  • loro temettero/temerono

vendere

  • io vendetti/vendei
  • lei/lui/Lei vendette/vendé
  • loor 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.

battere

  • io battei
  • lui/lei/Lei batté
  • loro batterono

potere

  • io potei
  • lui/lei/Lei poté
  • loro poterono

riflettere

  • io riflettei
  • lui/lei/Lei rifletté
  • loro 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 lui/lei/Lei vinca

spargere

  • tu spargi
  • che lui/lei/Lei sparga

conoscere

  • tu conosci
  • che lui/lei/Lei conosca
  • conosciuto

crescere

  • tu cresci
  • che lui/lei/Lei cresca
  • cresciuto

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
  • loro nuocciono
  • nuociuto

piacere

  • io piaccio
  • tu piaci
  • loro piacciono
  • piaciuto

giacere

  • io giaccio
  • tu giaci
  • loro giacciono
  • giaciuto

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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Filippo, Michael San. "Second Conjugation Italian Verbs." ThoughtCo, Apr. 12, 2022, thoughtco.com/second-conjugation-italian-verbs-2011717. Filippo, Michael San. (2022, April 12). Second Conjugation Italian Verbs. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/second-conjugation-italian-verbs-2011717 Filippo, Michael San. "Second Conjugation Italian Verbs." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/second-conjugation-italian-verbs-2011717 (accessed November 30, 2022).