Italian present tense – Extensive guide & bonus table of essential verbs

Italian present tense is a fundamental building block of the language. If you’re embarking on your journey to learn Italian, understanding how to use and conjugate verbs in the present tense is crucial and most likely the first thing you are going to pick up.

In this guide, we will delve into the Italian present tense; explaining its conjugation, usage, and providing you with the tools you need to use it effectively in everyday conversation.

This guide will have everything ready for you to master the Italian present tense.

Italian present tense chart

Further more, feel free to order this PDF. This useful chart serves as an excellent resource to learn and memorise both regular and irregular verbs. It teaches the pattern, gives the verbs to practice and makes sure you know the exceptions.

What is Italian Present Tense?

The absolute basic tense when you are learning this language would be to learn the Italian present tense. In Italian, like many other Romance languages, uses the present tense to describe actions happening in the current moment. It is a versatile tense that serves multiple purposes, allowing you to express what is happening now, what happens regularly, or what will happen in the near future. It’s an essential tense in Italian grammar, and mastering it is essential for effective communication.

Italian Present Tense Conjugation

Let’s begin by exploring the conjugation of regular verbs in the present tense. Italian verbs are categorized into three groups based on their infinitive endings: -are, -ere, and -ire.

-ARE verb ending to form the Italian present tense

-ARE verbs are verbs that end in the 3 letters: ARE. To form the Italian present tense for these verbs you simply have to make the stem by taking these 3 letters off the verb. Now you have got the stem. Next you will need to add letters to form the present tense. This is how:

io stem + o

tu stem + i

lui stem + a

noi stem + iamo

voi stem + ate

loro stem + ano

To put this into practice, lets look at 5 Italian verbs that fall under the category of -ARE verbs and conjugate them using their stem:

  1. Parlare (to speak) – stem “Parl” – io parlo, tu parli, lui parla, noi parliamo, voi parlate, loro parlano
  2. Cantare (to sing) – stem “Cant” – io canto, tu canti, lui canta, noi cantiamo, voi cantate, loro cantano
  3. Nuotare (to swim) – stem “Nuot” – io nuoto, tu nuoti, lui nuota, noi nuotiamo, voi nuotate, loro nuotano
  4. Camminare (to walk) – steam “Cammin” – io cammino, tu cammini, lui cammina, noi camminiamo, voi camminate, loro camminano
  5. Lavorare (to work) – stem “Lavor” – io lavoro, tu lavori, lui lavora, noi lavoriamo, voi lavorate, loro lavorano

-ERE verb ending to form the Italian present tense

The way that the -ARE verbs are conjugated is the same way as the Italian -ERE verbs are conjugated. -ERE verbs are the verbs that end with the three letters ERE. To make their stem you simply take off these 3 letters. Then add the right ending to conjugate them in the Italian present tense. Here is the formula how to do it:

io stem + o

tu stem + i 

lui stem + e 

noi stem + iamo 

voi stem + ete 

loro stem + ono

As you can see this is nearly the same as the -ARE verbs, however there are a few changes and differences in letters.

-IRE verb ending to form the Italian present tense

I have you now get the hang of how to conjugate the Italian present tense. For this last category of verbs you are going to do the same. First of all, -IRE verbs are Italian verbs that end in the 3 letters -ire. Form the stem by taking off these letters and than add the following to conjugate it in the present tense:

io stem + o / isco

tu stem + i / isci

lui stem + e / isce

noi stem + iamo

voi stem + ite

loro stem + ono / scono

As you can see the -IRE category of verbs has two different options to end a verb with. To be fluent in the Italian present tense this is simply something that you have to get yourself familiar with and practice.

So far this is what we need to learn about the regular verbs. Regular verbs are verbs that always listen to the same rules, to the same pattern. Which is great, because hundreds or verbs in Italian are regular and therefore you can learn them fast by simply learning the pattern above.

Next up are the irregular verb. And the word probably says it all. They are verbs that do not listen to a pattern, making them somewhat more challenging to learn. Read more about them further in this article.

Italian conjugation chart

Learn how to conjugate the Italian present tense and other essential tenses with this Italian conjugation blueprint:

Italian conjugation chart
Italian conjugation chart

Most used verbs in Italian

Beginners who are eager to master the most used Italian verbs in the present tense simply must check out this chart:

25 most used Italian verbs
25 most used Italian verbs

Italian irregular verb conjugations

Italian verbs are known for their various conjugations, and one important aspect of verb conjugation in Italian is the distinction between regular and irregular verbs. Irregular verbs don’t follow the standard conjugation patterns that regular verbs do. Instead, they have unique or irregular forms for some or all of the tenses and moods.

However although the word irregular indicate that there no path or regularity to follow(which sometimes is true for irregular Italian verbs) it is still good to know that irregular verbs sometimes categorise themselves into different ways.

Here’s an overview of Italian irregular verb conjugations:

  1. Present Tense Irregularities: Irregular verbs may have changes in the root of the verb in the present tense. For example, the verb “andare” (to go) conjugates as follows:
    • Io vado (I go)
    • Tu vai (You go)
    • Lui/Lei va (He/She goes)
    • Noi andiamo (We go)
    • Voi andate (You all go)
    • Loro vanno (They go)
  2. Stem-Changing Irregular Verbs: Some irregular verbs undergo stem changes in the present tense. For instance, the verb “dormire” (to sleep) changes in the following way:
    • Io dormo (I sleep)
    • Tu dormi (You sleep)
    • Lui/Lei dorme (He/She sleeps)
    • Noi dormiamo (We sleep)
    • Voi dormite (You all sleep)
    • Loro dormono (They sleep)
  3. Common Irregular Verbs: There are several common irregular verbs in Italian, such as “essere” (to be), “avere” (to have), “fare” (to do/make), “dire” (to say/tell), and “bere” (to drink). These verbs have unique conjugations that don’t adhere to the standard patterns for regular verbs.
  4. Tense-Specific Irregularities: Irregular verbs can behave differently in specific tenses or moods. For example, in the imperfect tense, the verb “essere” conjugates as follows:
    • Io ero (I was)
    • Tu eri (You were)
    • Lui/Lei era (He/She was)
    • Noi eravamo (We were)
    • Voi eravate (You all were)
    • Loro erano (They were)
  5. Common Irregular Past Participles: The past participle form of irregular verbs may not follow the typical -ato, -uto, or -ito endings for regular verbs. For example, the past participle of “prendere” (to take) is “preso.”

75 conjugations in the Italian present tense

Here is a table with 75 Italian verb all conjugated in the present tense by pronoun. The verbs are alphabetically listed and it contains regular and irregular verbs. How fun memorising these and putting your new Italian tongue into practice.

Divertirsimi divertoti divertisi diverteci divertiamovi divertitesi divertono
Innamorarsimi innamoroti innamorisi innamoraci innamoriamovi innamoratesi innamorano
Preoccuparsimi preoccupoti preoccupisi preoccupaci preoccupiamovi preoccupatesi preoccupano
Prepararsimi preparoti preparisi preparaci prepariamovi preparatesi preparano
Truccarsimi truccoti trucchisi truccaci trucchiamovi truccheratesi truccano
Vestirsimi vestoti vestisi vesteci vestiamovi vestitesi vestono
75 verbs in the Italian present tense

That is it!

Now you have got all the information you need to learn the Italian present tense. Be sure to send a comment or email if you have any questions!


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