Italian Lesson #59

L’Italiano—che bella lingua!

As we saw again last week, forming the (precise) past in Italian is nothing more than a two-word formula—in this case, a form of essere and the past participle. The formula is the same as it was with avere:

They arrived  sono arrivate (for females)
He left  è partito
They entered  sono entrati

When essere is your starter verb, you will have to make your past participle “match” your subject; for example the past participle of andare could be andato, andata, andati, or andate depending on whom the subject is.

I went  Sono andato (for a male)
I went  Sono andata (for a female)
We went  Siamo andati (for males)
We went  Siamo andate (for females)

Exercise 1

Practice forming the past participle forms with the following essere verbs:

  • andare
  • uscire
  • entrare
  • ritornare
  • arrivare

Buone notizie: very few essere verbs are irregular in the past. Here are a few:

venire  venuto (to come)
essere  stato

Some verbs take essere in the past even if they’re not clearly verbs of “coming and going” some of these are:

nascere (nato)  to be born
morire (morto)  to die
cadere (caduto)  to fall
rimanere (rimasto)  to remain

 Last week’s answers

  1. Mario left with Marco.
  2. They arrived early.
  3. You went to Pesaro yesterday.
  4. You (plural) returned at 3:30.
  5. I went out with my girlfriend.


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