5 Common Italian Irregular Verbs

Weilà weilà raga!! Let's talk about irregular verbs! I haven't covered much of these before in my videos or blog posts, but that's going to be changing today! 

Today we'll be covering Avere (to have), Essere (to be), Fare (to do/to make), Volere (to want), and Potere (to be able to/can). Now, I have gone over these in some videos before, but what we'll be doing today is putting these guys in one place.

Let's begin with Avere, which means To Have. Here's how we conjugate it in the Present Tense:

Avere - to have

io ho - I have

tu hai - you have

lui/lei ha - he/she has

noi abbiamo - we have

voi avete* - you guys/all have

loro hanno - they have

*I'd like to note that voi is simply the you pronoun that you use when addressing more than one person. That's why I recommend translating it as either you guys or you all in English. But, feel free to just translate it as something like you (plural) if that's easier for you.

Also keep in mind that the letter H at the beginning of some of the conjugations is silent. And, the pronouns (for all conjugations in Italian) are not required. I include them in our conjugations to make it easier to remember which conjugation correlates with each pronoun.

Here are some examples of Avere used in a sentence:

- Abbiamo una macchina molto bella = We have a very nice car

- Ho un cane che si chiama Fido = I have a dog named/called Fido

- Lei ha una bottiglia d'acqua = She has a bottle of water

Now let's move on to see how we conjugate Essere, which means To Be, in the Present Tense:

Essere - to be

io sono* - I am

tu sei - you are

lui/lei è - he/she is

noi siamo - we are

voi siete - you guys/all are

loro sono* - they are

*As the conjugations for io and loro are the same, usually it's context that helps you to know who we're talking about, otherwise, feel free to use the pronouns when speaking or writing in Italian.

Here are some examples of Essere used in a sentence: 

- Lei è una ragazza simpatica = She is nice girl

- Lui è un ragazzo simpatico = He is a nice boy

- Siamo molto felici stasera (group of girls & boys) = We are very happy this evening

- Io sono alto (masculine) = I am tall

- Io sono alta (feminine) = I am tall

Notice how the endings of all of our words agree with the gender of the person we're referring to? With Essere, the number of people/things and gender of them must all agree. It's called la concordanza (literally "the agreement"). In English, we refer to this as "gender and number agreement". For more information on this area, refer to my video on Definite Articles and Possession. Click here to watch the video and click here to read the correlating blog post.

Now let's take a look at Fare, which means either To Do or To Make, in the Present Tense (by the way, I'll just be showing the translation as "to do" so we don't have so many slashes everywhere, I find those distracting):

Fare - to do/make

io faccio - I do

tu fai - you do

lui/lei fa - he/she does

noi facciamo - we do

voi fate - you guys/all do

loro fanno - they do

Here are some examples:

- Faccio i miei compiti ogni sera = I do my homework every evening

- Fanno sempre dei dolci deliziosi = They always make delicious desserts

- Fai questa per me? = Are you doing this for me?

Now onto Volere, which means To Want, conjugated in the Present Tense:

Volere - To Want

io voglio - I want

tu vuoi - you want

lui/lei vuole - he/she wants

noi vogliamo - we want

voi volete - you guys/all want

loro vogliono - they want

Here are some examples:

- Voglio un gelato al cioccolato = I want a chocolate gelato

- Vuoi venire alla mia festa? = Do you want to come to my party?

- Voi non volete mangiare quei biscotti? = Do you guys not want to eat the cookies?

Finally, let's look at Potere, which means To Be Able or simply Can, in the Present Tense:

Potere - To Be Able/Can

io posso - I can

tu puoi - you can

lui/lei può - he/she can

noi possiamo - we can

voi potete - you guys/all can

loro possono - they can


- Noi possiamo nuotare molto bene = We can swim very well

- Puoi venire a casa mia più tardi? = Can you come to my house later?

- Non possono vedere quel video = They can't see that video

So this has been my lesson on 5 of some of the most common irregular verbs in Italian!

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