Italian Verbs

As we have already studied, Italian conjugations are categorised in three main groups namely:

-are verbs (or first conjugation verbs);
-ere verbs (or second conjugation verbs);
-ire verbs (or third conjugation verbs);

Moreover, there are two irregular verbs, that are used as auxiliaries when forming sentences. They are:

Essere (to be);
Avere (to have).

In this lesson, we are going to study Italian verb moods. They are used to indicate whenever an action takes place in the past, in the present or in the future. Additionally, to express a condition or an order. Thus, their role is crucial in everyday communication!

See our list of the top 100 Italian verbs.

Principal Italian verb moods

The Italian language has three different moods, namely: present tense, past tense and future tense. Each one is then divided into more tenses that describe the mood of the action.

Common Moods

Presente Indicativo (Present Tense)

The present tense are actions that take place in the present.

  • Io leggo un libro (I read a book)

When to use Presente Indicativo

Past Tenses

Past tense are actions that took place in the past. They may refer to a very distant future or a recent one. And they can also still have some consequences in the present.

We often use marker words such as:

  • ieri (yesterday)
  • lo scorso anno (the last year)
  • in passato (in the past)
  • alcune settimane fa
  • (a few weeks ago) and so on.

Future Tenses

Future tenses refer to actions that will take place in the future. We often use marker words such as domani (tomorrow), la prossima settimana (next week), in futuro (in the future) and so on.

Are you curious about the other Italian moods? Do not forget to check out our two articles about other moods and non-finite Italian moods!

Italian Verbs Common Tenses: Conditions and Orders

When speaking with Italian friends, you may describe a specific condition, a wish or a temporal relationship between the main clause and the dependent clause. In Italian, we describe this situation by using two different tenses: Congiuntivo (Subjuntive) and Condizionale (Conditional).

They may look very difficult to use. However, if you have already studied our article about the most common Italian Verb Tenses, the use of subjunctive and conditional will be easier.

Italian Verbs: Common Tenses

Subjunctive Tenses

It is used in both independent and dependent clauses.

Italian Verbs: Common Tenses

Italian Verbs: Common Tenses

Subjunctive Tense and Consecution Temporum

The Consecution Temporum plays a crucial role in preserving the grammaticality of Italian sentences. Additionally, we are using Subjunctive Tenses to express the sense of contemporaneity or anteriority between the main clause and the dependent clause.

Italian Verbs: Common Tenses

Conditional Tenses

The conditional mood is the equivalent of the English expressions would, could, should. Thus, we are expressing hypothetical facts or situations, often together with se (if).

Italian Verbs: Common Tenses

Still curious about Italian most common tenses? Don’t forget to check out our other articles about this topic!

To know more about Italian wordings, click HERE.

In this third article about Italian Verb Moods, we are going to study the last three Moods of Italian Verbs, used to express orders and the infinitive form of every verb: Infinito (Infinitive), Imperative (Imperativo) and Gerundio (Gerund). These Moods are often known as “non-finite” or impersonal since they are not used for every person (io, tu, lui/lei, noi, voi, loro).

Do not forget to visit and study our first two articles about this topic: Common Moods part 1 and Common Moods part 2. The tips and the tables that you can find in these articles will make your study of Italian verbs much easier!


The Italian Infinitive mood, or modo infinito, is the basic grammatical form of a verb.

  • L’obiettivo è cucinare una buona pizza (The aim is to cook a tasty pizza)
  • Non so cosa pensare (I do not know what to think)
  • Credo di capire (I believe I can understand)

The peculiarity of this mood is the absence of persons, both singular and plural. It describes the action conveyed by the verb in general terms and to specify the conjugation the verb belongs to.

As we have already studied before, Italian verbs have three main conjugations namely:

  • First conjugation (amare, lodare, sognare)
  • Second conjugation (temere, bere, volere)
  • Third conjugation (servire, partire, sentire)

The Past Infinitive and its auxiliary verbs

The Past Infinitive requires one auxiliary verbs, which can be avere (to have) or essere (to be). Usually, the auxiliary avere is used for the active sentences and for transitive verbs, while essere is preferred for the passive sentences and for impersonal verbs.


In expressing commands, indication or order, we are using the Imperative with verbs. Thus, In its negative form, it also refers to prohibition and describes actions that are forbidden.

  • Dammi quella penna! (Give me that pen!)
  • Non mangiare quella pizza! (Do not eat that pizza!)

The imperative can only be found in the 2nd person singular (tu, you) and 2nd person plural (voi, you). However, If you want to express an order, a suggestion or a command referred to all the other persons, you need to use the Present Subjunctive.

  • Tu vai via! (You go away!) – Imperativo
  • Voglio che andiate via! (I want you to go away) – Gerundio

Polite forms of the Imperative

In Italian, formal requests and commands is using imperative as well. Thus, it is possible to use certain expressions in order to sound politer while communicating with others.

  • Per favore, dammi quella penna (Please, give me that pen)
  • Apri la porta, per piacere (Open the door, please)
  • Ti dispiace aprire la porta? (Do you mind opening the door?)
  • Ti prego di chiudere la porta (I ask you to close the door)


Italian Gerund has the same meaning as the -ing form in English. It uses subordinate clauses when the subject is already stated in the main clause. It is also often used to form hypothetical sentences, temporal subordinate clauses, and causal clauses.

Italian Present Progressive

In forming Present Progressive using the Italian Gerund, together with the auxiliary verbs essere and avere. It indicates an action that is taking place in that exact moment or an action that is gradually changing.

  • Marco sta studiando (Marco is studying) – stare (essere) + gerundio
  • Sto preparando una pizza adesso (Now I am making pizza) – stare (essere) + gerundio
  • La mia situazione va ormai migliorando (My situation is now improving) – andare + gerundio
  • Il riscaldamento globale va aumentando ogni giorno di più (Global warming is increasing more and more every day) – andare + gerundio

Study Tip! In English, the Present Progressive indicates future action. However, this does not apply in Italian.

  • Cosa stai facendo ora? (What are you doing now?) – contemporary action
  • Stasera torno a casa (I’m coming home tonight) – future action

If you want to study other lessons about Italian tenses, don’t forget to check out our articles!

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