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Present Tense of Regular Verbs

In Italian there are three groups of verbs: the infinitive of the first group ends in –are, like mangiare (to eat), studiare (to study), lavorare (to work); the infinitive of the second group ends in –ere, like vivere (to live), vendere (to sell), scrivere (to write); and the infinitive of the third groups ends in –ire, like dormire (to sleep), aprire (to open), or partire (to leave).


First Group (–are)

To conjugate the present tense of a regular verb, just take the infinitive, which for the first group as we now know, ends in –are; let’s use ‘lavorare’ as our example.  Now take -are off and you will be left with ‘lavor’: that will be your working root.  To this root you have to add the following endings:

io   -------o  

tu ---------i  

Lei --------a  

lui/lei -----a  

noi ----------iamo  

voi ----------ate  

loro ---------ano  


Let’s try to conjugate lavorare now:    

io lavoro  (I work)

tu lavori     (you work)

Lei lavora   (you work, formal) 

lui/lei/ lavora  (he/she works)

noi lavoriamo  (we work)

voi lavorate   (you pl. work)

loro lavorano  (they work)

Let's practice some more:

Parlare (to speak or to talk) - root: parl

io parlo  (I speak)

tu parli   (you speak)

Lei parla  (you speak, formal)

lui/lei parla  (he/she speaks)

noi parliamo  (we speak)

voi parlate   (you pl. speak)

loro parlano  (they speak)

Studiare (to study) - root: studi

io studio  (I study)

tu studi*  (you study)

lui/lei studia  (he/she studies)

noi studiamo* (we study)

voi studiate   (you pl. study)

loro studiano  (they study)

*Note that for tu and noi the endings are respectively -i and -iamo, but since the root of studiare already contains an i, you drop one of the Is, so instead of ending up with studii and studiiamo, we have studio and studiamo.  This happens with all verbs that have an -i at the end of the root, eg: mangiare.

Now You Try!

Practice conjugating the following verbs:mangiare (to eat), comprare (to buy), guardare (to watch)


Second Group (–ere)

To find the root of a verb ending in -ere you have to do the same thing you did for the verbs ending in –are: take a verb in the infinitive form and remove the last three letters, which in this case are -ere.  Once again you are left with is the root.  Once you have this, these are the endings you have to add to it:


io   -------o

tu ---------i

Lei --------e

lui/lei -----e

noi ----------iamo

voi ----------ete

loro ---------ono     


Let's conjugate the verb scrivere (to write) together.

Scrivere, root: scriv

io scrivo  (I write)

tu scrivi (you write)

Lei scrive (you write, formal)

lui/lei scrive (he/she writes)

noi scriviamo  (we write)

voi scrivete  (you pl. write)

loro scrivono  (they write)


Now You Try! 

Practice conjugating the following verbs: vedere (to see), vivere (to live), vendere (to sell)

Third Group (–ire)

Find your root by doing the same thing we have been doing with the previous two groups, and then add the following endings:

Io --------o

Tu --------i

Lei -------e

lui/lei ----e

Noi -----------iamo

Voi -----------ite

Loro ----------ono    

The good news is that only the ending for the second person plural, -ite, is different from the second group.


Notice that the endings for io, tu and noi are always the same for all three groups.


Try conjugating these verbs: dormire (to sleep), partire (to leave), sentire (to hear, to feel), mentire (to lie).

Well Done!

Good job! You got to the end of this long grammar section!