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Conjugation of Italian verb ‘preferire’ – Commonly Used Words

What language do you prefer the most? If your answer is Italian, then you are in the right place. Nevertheless, you should first learn some verb conjugations. Why don’t you start from preferire (prefer)?

Preferire is a regular, third conjugation verb that means to prefer.

Regular -ire verbs are characterised by having the endings -o, -i, -e, -iamo, -ite, and -ano in present tense indicativo, and the endings -vo, -vi, -va, -vamo, -vate, -vano in the imperfect tense. As you may know, there are two kinds of regular -ire verbs, those that are conjugated as finire, and those that are conjugated as sentire. The verb preferire and similar verbs such as finirecapirecostruire, and spedire all add an -isc between the stem and the ending in the singular and 3rd person plural of the present tense.

As is common for -ire verbs, the past participle of preferire has got the ending -ito, making it preferito. It uses the auxiliary verb avere when forming compound tenses. Besides, it can be followed directly by an infinitive.

Preferire is often used to address a subjective, personal preference. You can thus use it to express your opinion, or an evaluation. In other words, you should be careful when using this verb in a formal context. Because you may not want to sound presumptuous, it is always advisable to use the verb preferire in its conditional tenses. In Italian, this is the easiest and most used way to make any sentence and request immediately polite! Let’s take a look at the following examples:

  • Preferirei non uscire questa sera. (I’d rather stay home tonight.)

However, let’s analyse the following sentences:

  • Non mi piace il caffe’. Preferisco del vino (I don’t like coffee. I’d rather have some wine.)
  • Non mi piace il caffe’. Preferirei del vino (I don’t like coffee. I’d rather have some wine.)

Even though the English translation of this sentence doesn’t change, in Italian there is a significant difference between them. In the first one, by using the present tense, you are stating that you prefer wine to coffee. On the other hand, the use of the conditional tense in the second sentence makes it look more polite. It can therefore be used as a request, for example, to answer to the waiter that is asking if you wish to order some coffee.

Below are the conjugations for the verb in tables, with example sentences and translations underneath.

  • Questo cantante è il mio preferito! (This singer is my favourite!)
  • Preferisco il caffè senza zucchero. (I prefer coffee without sugar.)
  • La ragazza ha preferito tornare a casa. (She preferred to go back home)

 

Indicativo

PRESENTE
io preferisco
tu preferisci
lui/lei preferisce
noi preferiamo
voi preferite
loro preferiscono

 

Preferisco il vino alla birra. – I prefer wine to beer.

Vuoi un passaggio o preferisci andare a piedi? – Should I give you a ride or do you prefer walking?

Questa sera preferisce rimanere a casa. – She prefers to stay at home tonight.

Preferiamo guardare la partita con i nostri amici. – We prefer to watch the game with our friends.

Preferite restare in ufficio o venire a pranzo con noi? – Do you prefer to stay in the office or come with us for lunch?

Preferiscono che tu non venga alla festa. – They would rather you didn’t come to the party.

 

 

IMPERFETTO
io preferivo
tu preferivi
lui/lei preferiva
noi preferivamo
voi preferivate
loro preferivano

 

Preferivo il calcio quando giravano meno soldi. – I preferred football when there was less money involved.

Preferiva lavorare da casa. – He preferred to work from home.

 

PASSATO REMOTO
io preferii
tu preferisti
lui/lei preferì
noi preferimmo
voi preferiste
loro preferirono

 

 

 

FUTURO SEMPLICE
io preferirò
tu preferirai
lui/lei preferirà
noi preferiremo
voi preferirete
loro preferiranno

 

 

PASSATO PROSSIMO
io ho preferito
tu hai preferito
lui/lei ha preferito
noi abbiamo preferito
voi avete preferito
loro hanno preferito

 

Luca ha preferito dirmelo subito. – Luca preferred to tell it to me right away.

 

TRAPASSATO PROSSIMO
io avevo preferito
tu avevi preferito
lui/lei aveva preferito
noi avevamo preferito
voi avevate preferito
loro avevano preferito

 

 

TRAPASSATO REMOTO
io ebbi preferito
tu avesti preferito
lui/lei ebbe preferito
noi avemmo preferito
voi aveste preferito
loro ebbero preferito

 

 

FUTURO ANTERIORE
io avrò preferito
tu avrai preferito
lui/lei avrà preferito
noi avremo preferito
voi avrete preferito
loro avranno preferito

 

 

Congiuntivo

 

PRESENTE
che io preferisca
che tu preferisca
che lui/lei preferisca
che noi preferiamo
che voi preferiate
che loro preferiscano

 

Credo che lei preferisca il cibo quando è poco salato. – I think she prefers food that’s not too salty.

 

IMPERFETTO
che io preferissi
che tu preferissi
che lui/lei preferisse
che noi preferissimo
che voi preferiste
che loro preferissero

 

 

PASSATO
che io abbia preferito
che tu abbia preferito
che lui/lei abbia preferito
che noi abbiamo preferito
che voi abbiate preferito
che loro abbiano preferito

 

 

TRAPASSATO
che io avessi preferito
che tu avessi preferito
che lui/lei avesse preferito
che noi avessimo preferito
che voi aveste preferito
che loro avessero preferito

 

 

Condizionale

 

PRESENTE
io preferirei
tu preferiresti
lui/lei preferirebbe
noi preferiremmo
voi preferireste
loro preferirebbero

 

 

PASSATO
io avrei preferito
tu avresti preferito
lui/lei avrebbe preferito
noi avremmo preferito
voi avreste preferito
loro avrebbero preferito

 

Imperativo

 

PRESENTE
preferisci
preferisca
preferiamo
preferite
preferiscano

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