The present simple (presente indicativo) is used to talk about events which are taking place in the present.
Learning the present simple allows you to talk to people in most day to day situations and conversations: when you’re doing your shopping, talking to friends, buying tickets, checking in at the airport etc.
This is why it’s so important to learn how to conjugate the most common Italian verbs in the present tense. The conjugations follow a similar pattern, with some exceptions (irregular verbs), therefore once you become familiar with the present tense of the most important regular verbs, you’ll find it much easier to learn how to conjugate new verbs.
Examples of Italian present tense
Let’s take a look at a few more examples on when to use the present simple in Italian:
1) In place of the future
Just like in English, in spoken language the present tense is often used in place of the future, especially to talk about something which is imminent or will happen in the near future.
Domani vado alla spiaggia. tomorrow I’m going to the beach.
2) In place of the present continuous
Unlike in English, the present simple in Italian can be used as present continuous, to talk about something which is happening right now.
Ora mangio. Now I’m eating.
3) To say ‘for how long’
In Italian the present tense can be used with reference to the past, to say for how long something has been going on.
Studio italiano da 2 anni. I’ve been studying Italian for 2 years.
4) Present + infinitive
You can use many adjectives like beautiful, easy, possible, necessary etc. to describe the quality of an something. In this case the structure of the sentence is: present simple of the verb to be + adjective + verb in the infinitive.
È bello andare in vacanza. It’s nice to go on holiday.
È necessario studiare di più. It’s necessary to study more.
How to conjugate Italian verbs in the present simple
The following chart shows the present simple conjugations for the Italian regular verbs:
The irregular verbs in Italian follow a slightly different pattern, for example:
Some irregular verbs ending in -ire, like capire (to understand), finire (to finish), preferire (to prefer), pulire (to clean) follow the pattern below.
Verbs ending in -care and -gare – such as giocare – change in the 2nd person singular and in the 1st person plural.
Some examples of sentences featuring the present simple in Italian
- Oggi devo studiare. Today I must study.
- Giochiamo spesso a tennis. We often play tennis.
- Vuoi una fetta di torta? Would you like a slice of cake?
- Finisco di lavorare alle 8. I finish work at 8.
- Abbiamo una casa molto grande. We have a very big house.