Italian School of Dallas

Verbs in –ire that add –isc to their root


So far we have seen that conjugating verbs in the present tense is not that hard in Italian, it just takes a little memorization. The good news is that most verbs are regular and will follow the conjugations we have already learned.  However, there are some irregular verbs that while having exactly the same endings as regular verbs change their root.

In fact, to the third group in –ire also belongs a group of verbs like finire (to finish) that place –isc between the stem or root of the verb and the regular endings, of the first, second and third person singular, and third person plural.

The most commonly used verbs in this group are:

Capire (to understand)

Preferire (to prefer)

Finire (to finish)

Pulire (to clean)

Spedire (to mail/send)

Costruire (to build)


So, let’s see how this works:

Normally if we wanted to conjugate finire in the present tense we would take –ire out and add the regular endings we learned two weeks ago.  But the verb would sound odd, almost comical: fino, fini, fine, … So, -isc comes to the rescue, and that’s why we have:

(io) finisco

(tu) finisci

(lui/lei) finisce

(noi) finiamo

(voi) finite

(loro) finiscono



Same thing happens with capire:

(Io) capisco

(tu) capisci

(lui/lei) capisce

(noi) capiamo

(voi) capite

(loro) capiscono


Now try conjugate preferire, pulire, costruire and spedire, they all change the same way.