How to Use Italian Reflexive Pronouns

Use mi, ti, si, ci, and vi with reflexive verbs

Italian reflexive pronouns
Peter Cade

If you want to use reflexive verbs in Italian, then you have to be familiar with reflexive pronouns, too.

Reflexive pronouns (i pronomi riflessivi) mi, ti, si, ci, vi, and si look just like direct object pronouns, except for the third-person form si (which is the same in the singular and in the plural). In a reflexive sentence, the action of the verb refers back to the subject.

Examples:

  • I wash myself. - Mi lavo.

  • They enjoy themselves. - Si divertono.

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).  

The following table includes the reflexive pronouns in Italian.

Italian Reflexive Pronouns

 

SINGULAR

PLURAL

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 dovere, potere, 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 alzarmi./Mi voglio alzare. - I want to get up.

The pronouns 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 another i or an e:

  • Voi v'arrabbiate facilmente. - You get angry easily.

  • I ragazzi s'alzano alle sette. - The boys woke up at seven o'clock.

  • A casa, m'annoio. - At home, I get bored.

To see how reflexive pronouns work with reflexive verbs, see a sample conjugation of lavarsi (to wash oneself) in the table below.

Lavarsi - To wash oneself

Mi lavo

ci laviamo

ti lavi

vi lavate

si lava

si lavano

Italian Workbook Exercises

Questions | Answers
Reflexive Pronouns
A. Complete the following with the appropriate present indicative reflexive forms of the indicated verbs.

  1. Io ________ Enzo. chiamarsi
  2. Quelle ragazze ________ alle otto. alzarsi
  3. Loro ________ vicino alla porta. sedersi
  4. Daniele ________ lentamente. vestirsi
  5. Noi ________ facilmente. addormentarsi
  6. Io non ________ mai. arrabbiarsi
  7. Voi ________ sempre. lamentarsi
  8. Francesco ________ di Teresa. innamorarsi

Questions | Answers
B. Complete the sentences with one of the verbs given below.
chiamarsi, diplomarsi, fermarsi, laurearsi, sentirsi, specializzarsi, sposarsi

  1. Io ________ Valentina. Tu come ________?
  2. Andate dal dottore quando non ________ bene?
  3. Maria frequenta l'università. Vuole prima ________ in medicina, e pio ________ in cardiologia.
  4. Gli studenti italiani ________ alla fine del liceo. Poi vanno all'università.
  5. Ugo e Vittoria ________ se trovano una casa.

Italian Language Study Resources:

  • Italian Language Lessons
  • Italian Audio Phrasebook
  • Italian Language Audio Lab

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