How to conjugate Italian verbs in the Present Tense

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The present tense in Italian is used to talk about things that are happening right now, recurring routines, and universal truths.

Verbs are conjugated into the present tense according to the subject of the sentence and their appropriate endings.

As you can see, the third conjugation has the endings -o, -i, -e, -iamo, -ite, and -ono.

Verbs can be regular or irregular.

The present tense of regular verbs

  • Carlo parla al telefono.
  • Anna legge il libro di storia.
  • Pluto e Peggy dormono.
How to conjugate Italian verbs in the Present Tense -  Carlo parla al telefono
How to conjugate Italian verbs in the Present Tense - Anna legge il libro di storia

Parla, legge e dormono are regular verbs in the present tense.

Based on the infinitive ending, regular Italian verbs are divided into three groups or conjugations: -are, -ere, and -ire.

Parla ➤ parlare

Legge ➤ leggere

Dormono ➤ dormire

Each of these conjugations has its own set of present-tense endings.


Verbs in –are


Verbs in –ere


Verbs in –ire

Let’s look at the first conjugation (-are) with the verb “parlare,” which means “to talk/to speak)”. The present tense conjugation is as follows:

  • io parlo (I speak)
  • tu parli (you speak)
  • lui/lei parla (he/she speaks)
  • noi parliamo (we speak)
  • voi parlate (you all speak)
  • loro parlano (they speak)
Verbo parlare How to conjugate Italian verbs in the Present Tense

As you can see, the first conjugation has the endings -o, -i, -a, -iamo, -ate, and -ano.

The endings of verbs in the second and third conjugations change, but the pattern is the same.

Consider the verb “leggere” (to read), which belongs to the second conjugation (ere). In the present, it is conjugated as follows:

  • io leggo (I read)
  • tu leggi (you read)
  • lui/lei legge (he/she reads)
  • noi leggiamo (we read)
  • voi leggete (you all read)
  • loro leggono (they read)

As you can see, the second conjugation has the endings -o, -i, -e, -iamo, -ete, and -ono.

At last, the third conjugation (-ire) has a range of endings. Here’s a demonstration using the verb “dormire” (to sleep):

  • 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)
How to conjugate Italian verbs in the Present Tense - Verbo dormire

As you can see, the third conjugation has the endings -o, -i, -e, -iamo, -ite, and -ono.

The third conjugation includes verbs such as “preferire” which adds -isc between the stem and the ending in first, second, and third-person singular and third-person plural.

The addition of “isc” is used to keep certain sounds from being phonetically spelt. Here are some examples of Italian verbs in the third conjugation that include the suffix “isc”:

How to conjugate Italian verbs in the Present Tense - Verbo capire
  1. Capire (to understand)
    io capisco tu capisci lui/lei capisce noi capiamo voi capite loro capiscono
  2. Finire (to finish)
    io finisco tu finisci lui/lei finisce noi finiamo voi finite loro finiscono
  3. Preferire (to prefer)
    io preferisco tu preferisci lui/lei preferisce noi preferiamo voi preferite loro preferiscono
  4. Pulire (to clean)
    io pulisco tu pulisci lui/lei pulisce noi puliamo voi pulite loro puliscono
  5. Costruire (to build)
    io costruisco tu costruisci lui/lei costruisce noi costruiamo voi costruite loro costruiscono
  6. Dimagrire (to lose weight)
    io dimagrisco tu dimagrisci lui/lei dimagrisce noi dimagriamo voi dimagrite loro dimagriscono
  7. Obbedire (to obey)
    io obbedisco tu obbedisci lui/lei obbedisce noi obbediamo voi obbedite loro obbediscono
  8. Proibire (to prohibit)
    io proibisco tu proibisci lui/lei proibisce noi proibiamo voi proibite loro proibiscono
  9. Punire (to punish)
    io punisco tu punisci lui/lei punisce noi puniamo voi punite loro puniscono
  10. Unire (to unite)
    io unisco tu unisci lui/lei unisce noi uniamo voi unite loro uniscono
  11. Ferire (to hurt)
    io ferisco tu ferisci lui/lei ferisce noi feriamo voi ferite loro feriscono
  12. Colpire (to hit)
    io colpisco tu colpisci lui/lei colpisce noi colpiamo voi colpite loro colpiscono

Practice Present Tense Regular Verbs

The present tense of Irregular verbs

It is important to remember that some irregular verbs in Italian do not follow these rules and have their own conjugations in the present tense.

The irregular verbs of the first and third conjugation are few, while there are very numerous those of the second conjugation.

  • Oggi vado al cinema, vieni con come?
  • Sì, vengo volentieri
  • Bevi un caffè?
  • Sì, grazie
  • Cosa fai domani?
  • Vado a scuola.

I verbi vieni, vengono and bevi are irregular verbs.

Vieni ➤ Venire

Bevi ➤ Bere

Fai ➤ Fare

Vieni al cinema con me?
Bevi un caffè?

essere” (to be), “avere” (to have), are also some types of these irregular verbs that must be memorised individually.

The table below shows the most frequently used irregular verbs:


How to conjugate Italian verbs in the Present Tense

Practice Present Tense Irregular Verbs

Modal verbs: volere, potere, dovere.

Among irregular verbs, there are also modal verbs: volere, potere, dovere.

The verbs dovere, potere and volere are almost always followed by another verb to infinity:

Devo uscire tra poco.
Zoe non vuole venire alla festa.
Puoi partecipare alla riunione?
Vogliamo dormire.


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