To Have and Have Not

The Verb Avere in Italian

Chianti, Italy
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Avere: 1 to have (got): Ho molti amici. I have many friends; 2 to have, to own: Ha una villa in campagna. He has a house in the country; 3 to have on, to wear: Maria ha un vestito nuovo. Maria has on a new dress.

Like the verb essere (to be), avere is used in myriad grammatical and linguistic situations. Learning the many conjugations and uses of the verb is crucial to the study of the Italian language.

Interrogative Verbs

To make a verb interrogative (I have —do I have?), add a question mark to the end of the sentence in writing. In speaking, the pitch of the voice rises at the end of the sentence.

Avete un buon lavoro.
You have a good job.

Avete un buon lavoro?
Do you have a good job?

If a subject (noun or pronoun) is expressed in the interrogative, it can:
—stay at the beginning of the sentence, before the verb
—go to the end of the sentence
—less frequently go immediately after the verb

Does Mario have an uncle?
Mario ha uno zio?
Ha uno zio Mario?
Ha Mario uno zio?

Avere is an irregular verb (un verbo irregolare); it does not follow a predictable pattern of conjugation. The present tense (il presente) of avere is as follows:

CONJUGATING THE ITALIAN VERB AVERE IN THE PRESENT TENSE

SINGOLAREPLURALE
(io) ho I have(noi) abbiamo we have
(tu) hai you have (fam.)(voi) avete you have (fam.)
(Lei) ha you have (form.)(Loro) hanno you have (form.)
(lui) ha he has(loro) sono they have (fam.)

 

he compound tenses are verb tenses, such as the passato prossimo, that consist of two words. The appropriate tense of avere or essere (called the auxiliary or helping verbs) and the past participle of the target verb forms the verb phrase.

Transitive Verbs

In general, transitive verbs are conjugated with avere.

Transitive verbs express an action that carries over from the subject to the direct object: The teacher explains the lesson.

The past participle is invariable when the passato prossimo is constructed with avere.

Oggi Anna non lavora perchè ha lavorato ieri.
Today Anna isn't working because she worked yesterday.

The others worked yesterday too.
Anche gli altri hanno lavorato ieri.

Past Participle

When the past participle of a verb conjugated with avere is preceded by the third person direct object pronouns lo, la, le, or li, the past participle agrees with the preceding direct object pronoun in gender and number. The past participle may agree with the direct object pronouns mi, ti, ci, and vi when these precede the verb, but the agreement is not mandatory.

Ho mangiato la frittata.
I have eaten the omelette.

L’ho mangiata.
I have eaten it.

Ho comprato il sale e il pepe.
I bought the salt and pepper.

Li ho comprati
I bought them.

Ci hanno visto (visti).
They saw us.

In negative sentences, non is placed before the auxiliary verb.

Molti non hanno pagato.
Many didn't pay.

Hai ordinato un aperitivo?
Did you order an aperitif?

No, non ho ordinato un aperitivo.
No, I didn't order an aperitif.

Compound and Verb Tenses

The compound tenses are verb tenses, such as the passato prossimo, that consist of two words.

The appropriate tense of avere or essere (called the auxiliary or helping verbs) and the past participle of the target verb forms the verb phrase.

In general, transitive verbs are conjugated with avere. Transitive verbs express an action that carries over from the subject to the direct object: The teacher explains the lesson.

The past participle is invariable when the passato prossimo is constructed with avere.

Oggi Anna non lavora perchè ha lavorato ieri.
Today Anna isn't working because she worked yesterday.

The others worked yesterday too.
Anche gli altri hanno lavorato ieri.

When the past participle of a verb conjugated with avere is preceded by the third person direct object pronouns lo, la, le, or li, the past participle agrees with the preceding direct object pronoun in gender and number.

The past participle may agree with the direct object pronouns mi, ti, ci, and vi when these precede the verb, but the agreement is not mandatory.

Ho mangiato la frittata.
I have eaten the omelette.

L’ho mangiata.
I have eaten it.

Ho comprato il sale e il pepe.
I bought the salt and pepper.

Li ho comprati.
I bought them.

Ci hanno visto (visti).
They saw us.

In negative sentences, non is placed before the auxiliary verb.

Molti non hanno pagato.
Many didn't pay.

Hai ordinato un aperitivo?
Did you order an aperitif?

No, non ho ordinato un aperitivo.
No, I didn't order an aperitif.

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Filippo, Michael San. "To Have and Have Not." ThoughtCo, May. 29, 2017, thoughtco.com/to-have-and-have-not-2011682. Filippo, Michael San. (2017, May 29). To Have and Have Not. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/to-have-and-have-not-2011682 Filippo, Michael San. "To Have and Have Not." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/to-have-and-have-not-2011682 (accessed November 24, 2017).