The infinitive (l'infinito) is the name of the verb. In English it's expressed with "to" plus the verb. In Italian it is expressed with one word. (i.e. "to be" = "essere")Quintus wrote:(on verbs) "A word that expresses the doing of an action, the occurrence of an event or a state of being" (taken from the Longman Dictionary)
The conjugation reflects the subject, tense and mood of the verb.Quintus wrote:...from my Devoto-Oli Dictionary:
«The infinitive is the verbal form which expresses the action per-se, determining the tense and the voice but not the person and the number» (in fact, the infinitive mood has two tenses: present, e.g. "dire" (to say) and past, e.g. "avere detto" (having said).
In English it's expressed with "to" plus the verb. In Italian it is expressed with one word. (i.e. "to be" = "essere"). So, for example, "to be or not to be" is "essere o non essere" in Italian.»
The infinitive can be used as noun, in which case it always takes the masculine gender and the singular number, irrespective of the tense and the conjugation (are, ere, ire). In many case it takes the article too.
Present infinitive: "Leggere è bello" ("leggere" is "il leggere", masculine singular), "reading is beautiful"
Past infinitive: "L'aver pronunciato quelle parole gli fu fatale" (Lo avere pronunciato = l'aver pronunciato), "Having pronounced those words was fatal (proved fatal) to him". Since we say something like "to have pronounced" (not "having pronounced") the verbal form sounds the very same has a noun to us, "the 'emission' of those words proved fatal to him", sort of.
Italian Verbs are divided into three groups or conjugations. The groups are identified according to the infinitive endings:
1st conjugation end in -are. An introduction to -are verbs is found in L4: The Present Indicative Tense of -are Verbs in the Verbs Section of Lezioni Gratuite.
2nd conjugation end in -ere. An introduction to -ere verbs is found in L5: The Present Indicative Tense of -ere Verbs in the Verbs Section of Lezioni Gratuite.
3rd conjugation end in -ire. An introduction to -ire verbs is found in L6: The Present Indicative Tense of -ire Verbs in the Verbs Section of Lezioni Gratuite.
A regular verb (verbo regolare) is a verb whose forms follows a regular conjugation pattern.
An irregular verb (verbo irregolare) is a verb whose forms do not follow a regular conjugation pattern.
Examples of regular and irregular verbs are given in the above in Lessons 3, 4, 5 and 6 sections for the present tense, indicative mood.
The tense indicates the time of the action such as the present (il presente), past (il passato), or future (il futuro).
The mood shows the speaker's attitude toward what they are saying. In Italian there are seven moods.
- The infinitive mood (modo infinito) is the verbal form which expresses the action per se, determining the tense and the voice but not the person and the number. The infinitive can be expressed in a present tense (presente) and in a compound past tense (passato).
- The indicative (modo indicativo) is used to indicate facts. The indicative can be expressed in four simple tenses: the present (presente), the imperfect (imperfetto), the remote past (passato remoto) and the future (futuro semplice) and four compound tenses: the present perfect (passato prossimo), the recent past perfect (trapassato prossimo), the remote past perfect (trapassato remoto), the future perfect (futuro anteriore).
- The conditional (modo condizionale)is used to express the possibility of a result. The conditional can be expressed in a present tense (presente) and in a compound past tense (passato).
- The subjunctive (modo congiuntivo) is used to express an attitude or feeling toward an event. The subjunctive can be expressed in two simple tenses: the present (presente) and the imperfect (imperfetto) and two compound tenses: the past (passato) and the past perfect (trapassato).
- The imperative (modo imperativo) is used to give commands or suggestions. The imperative is a timeless tense.
- The gerund (modo gerundio) is used to express an action in progress (eating, seeing, driving, etc.). The gerund can be expressed in a present tense (presente) and a compound past tense (passato).
- The participle (modo participio) is used as a verb mostly in the compound past tense (passato) to indicate a completed action. In the present tense (presente) it is used as noun (nome) or an adjective (aggettivo).
Transitive verbs (verbi transitivi) can take a direct object (complemento oggetto).
Intransitive verbs (verbi intransitivi) do not take a direct object.
"Possono, perché pensano di potere." - Virgilio