Unità 3 – Grammatica

The verb piacere


Mi piace l’avocado.
Mi piacciono gli spaghetti.
A Carla piace Matteo.


To talk about what they like or don’t like, Italians use the forms piace / piacciono.


Piace / piacciono is used in association with various pronouns and prepositions depending on the person it refers to:

Mi piacciono gli spaghetti.

Ti piace la pasta?

A Maria piace la matematica.

A noi piace l’italiano.

A voi piacciono le scienze.

A Viola e Martino piace la pizza.

 The meaning of piace / piacciono is similar to the English “I like…” However, unlike in English, the correct form depends on the quantity of the things that are liked. We use piace when the person or object that we like is singular or when it is expressed by a verb. We use piacciono when the noun designating the things we like is plural:

A Viola e Martino piace la pizza.   (SN)
A Viola e Martino piace giocare a pallavolo.   (V)
A Viola e Martino piacciono le scienze.   (PN)

  To express that you do not like something, use non mi piace / non mi piacciono:

Non mi piace la pizza.
Non mi piace giocare a calcio.
Non mi piacciono gli gnocchi.

Present tense of regular verbs in -are


Tabitha ama l’italiano. (Tabitha loves Italian)
Francesco frequenta il corso di biologia. (Francesco takes the biology course)
Io gioco a tennis. (I play tennis)


As we have already seen, in Italian verb endings change depending on the subject. We have already learned about two irregular verbs – essere and avere. Most verbs in Italian, however, are regular and fall under three categories:

  • Verbs that end in -are in the infinitive (e.g. amare, giocare, frequentare…)
  • Verbs that end in -ere in the infinitive (e.g. correre, conoscere…)
  • Verbs that end in -ire in the infinitive (e.g. partire, dormire…)

For now, we will focus on the verbs of the first category.

In Italian, like in English, there are also several verbal modes and tenses. We use the present tense to talk about things that we usually do (or feel), or to talk about things that we are doing at present:

Ogni giorno suono la chitarra. (I play guitar every day)
Adesso mangio la pasta con il pomodoro. (Now I’m eating pasta with tomato sauce)


To conjugate regular verbs in -are in the present tense, first take away -are. What is left is the stem of the verb:

          amare > amare > am-

Then, add the following endings:

io amo (I love)
tu ami (you love)
lei / lui / Lei ama (she / he loves / You love)
noi amiamo (we love)
voi amate (you love)
loro amano (they love)

Note how frequently the vowel “a” appears in these endings!

Some verbs, such as mangiare and studiare, have a stem that already ends in -i-. In these cases, we do not need to add another -i- in the second person singular and the first person plural:

studiare > studiare > studi-

io studio (I study)
tu studi (you study)
lei / lui / Lei studia (she / he studies / You study)
noi studiamo (we study)
voi studiate (you study)
loro studiano (they study)

Verbs that end in -care and -gare add an -h- in the second person singular and first person plural to maintain the same hard sound:

giocare > giocare > gioc-

io gioco (I play)
tu giochi (you play)
lei / lui / Lei gioca (she / he plays / You play)
noi giochiamo (we play)
voi giocate (you play)
loro giocano (they play)

 We have already seen another case in which words add an -h- for phonetic reasons (to maintain the same hard sound) – cf. il gioco, i giochi (game, games) / l’amica, le amiche (friend, friends (F)) / il mago, i maghi (magician, magicians)

 Remember the difference between giocare (to play a game or a sport) and suonare (to play an instrument)

Irregular verbs in -are


Sary va al mare. (Sary goes to the beach / Literal translation: Sary goes to the sea)
Samantha e Marina fanno una passeggiata. (Samantha and Marina go for a walk)


Va (<andare) and fanno (<fare) are examples of irregular verbs in -are. Their endings are very similar to the endings of regular -are verbs, but their stems are irregular.


andare (to go) dare (to give) fare (to do) stare (to stay)
io vado do faccio sto
tu vai dai fai stai
lei / lui / Lei va fa sta
noi andiamo diamo facciamo stiamo
voi andate date fate state
loro vanno danno fanno stanno

Remember that dare in the third person singular takes a stress (), to distinguish it from the preposition da:

Marta una penna a Giulio. (Marta gives a pen to Giulio)
Vengo da Roma. (I come from Rome)

Dare is usually followed by a direct object and by a + the person to whom the object is given:

Mariasol e io diamo gli appunti a Marco
direct object
(what is given?)
a + person
(to whom?)
(Mariasol and I give                                                      the notes  to Marco)

Dare is also used in combination with nouns in a number of fixed constructions:

  • dare del tu / del Lei – to address informally / formally
  • dare un esame – to take an exam
  • dare una mano – to help / to lend a hand

Fare is also used in a number of fixed constructions in combination with nouns:

  • fare colazione – to have breakfast
  • fare la spesa – to go grocery shopping
  • fare shopping – to go shopping
  • fare sport – to play sports
  • fare una corsa – to go for a run
  • fare una domanda – to ask a question
  • fare una gita – to take a trip
  • fare una passeggiata – to go for a walk
  • fare una vacanza – to take a vacation
  • fare yoga – to do yoga (NB: remember to use giocare a with most sports)

Andare is usually followed by the preposition a or in (we will learn more about the difference between these two prepositions later):

Vado in biblioteca. (I’m going to the library)
Vado a yoga. (I’m going to yoga)

Remember the expressions andare al mare (to go to the beach) and andare in montagna (to go to the mountains).


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Voci: Corso elementare di lingua e culture italiane - Volume I by Daria Bozzato, Chiara Benetollo, and Metello Mugnai is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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