L3: Avere and Essere - The Present Indicative Tense

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L3: Avere and Essere - The Present Indicative Tense

Post by BillyShears »

Avere and Essere - The Present Indicative Tense

The Conjugation of the verb Avere (to have)

The verb Avere is irregular in the present indicative tense in all cases except the second person plural.
* Note the use of Italian subject pronouns in the examples are for clarity only. In every day speech subject pronouns are generally only used for emphasis. For more information about subject pronouns (io, tu, Lei, lui, egli, esso, lei, ella, essa, noi, voi loro, essi, esse) please read L2: Subject Pronouns in Lezioni Gratuite in the Pronouns lessons.
io ho (I have)
tu hai / Lei ha (you have - informal / formal)
lui / lei ha (he / she has)

noi abbiamo (we have)
voi avete (you have)
loro hanno (they have)
  • Ho buoni amici. (I have good friends.)
  • Hai una nuova macchina. (You have a new car.)
  • Ha una Ferrari rossa. (She has a red Ferrari.)
  • Abbiamo una casa in campagna. (We have a house in the country.)
  • Avete tanto coraggio! (You have so much courage!)
  • Non hanno pazienza. (They do not have patience.)
More on the verb Avere

Avere means "to have" but for an English speaking person it can also translate as "to be", "to need" "to want", "to feel like".

avere fame (to be hungry)
avere sete (to be thirsty)
avere sonno (to be sleepy)
avere caldo (to be warm / hot)
avere freddo (to be cold)
avere fretta (to be in a hurry)
avere paura (di) (to be afraid (of) )
avere bisogno di (to need, have need of)
avere voglia di (to want, to feel like)
avere ragione (to be right, correct)
avere torto (to be wrong, incorrect)
avere + number + anni (to be … years old)
  • Ma quanti anni ha tua nonna? (But how old are is your grandmother?)
  • Mia nonna ha ottant'anni. (My grandmother is eighty years old.)
Note this use of avere - Quanti ne abbiamo oggi? (What is today's date?)

Idioms with Avere -
calum wrote:My idea of an idiom is a phrase whose individual words can be understood but as a whole the phrase carries a meaning that is not immediately obvious or discernible. Here's a couple of examples of the kind of thing I'd say were idioms (I've stuck to ones beginning with avere)

Aver fatto trenta e fare trentuno (to make the final effort required to complete a task).
Avere gli occhi di Argo (to look with careful attention, to scrutinise)
Avere gli occhi foderati di prosciutto (to not see the obvious)
Avere grilli per la testa (to have wild ideas)
BillyShears wrote:Avere un chiodo fisso in testa (literally to have a nail fixed in the head but the meaning is to be fixated on something)
Quintus wrote:There's also "avere occhio", ("to have an eye"), to be skilled in evaluating colors, dimensions, and everything needed to do a precision, manual job, and "avere orecchio", "to have a musical ear".
The Conjugation of the verb Essere (to be)

The verb Essere is irregular in the present indicative tense in all cases.

io sono (I am)
tu sei / Lei è (you are - informal / formal)
lui / lei è (he / she is)

noi siamo (we are)
voi siete (you are)
loro sono (they are)
  • Essere in forma è essenziale. (Being in shape is essential.)
  • Essere o non essere. (To be or not to be.)
  • È un esercizio facile. (It's an easy exercise.)
  • Quant'è? (How much is it?)
  • Oggi è il cinque agosto. (Today is the August 5th.)
  • Che ora è? / Che ore sono? (What time is it?)
  • Sono le cinque e un quarto. (It is a quarter past five.)
Essere is used with di to indicate the city of origin. To indicate a country of origin an adjective of nationality is generally used.
  • Sono americano. Sono di Chicago. (I'm an American. I'm from Chicago.)
Essere plus di plus proper name is used to show possession.
  • La chitarra è di Francesco. (The guitar is Francesco's.)
  • I libri sono di Anna. (The books are Anna's.)
To find out who owns something use "di chi è" for the singular or "di chi sono"for the plural.
  • Di chi è il cane? (Whose dog is it?)
  • Di chi sono i cani? (Whose dogs are they?)
Use come with essere in questions to what people or things are like.
  • Come sei? (What are you like?)
  • Com'è il Museo Archeologico di Palermo? (What is the Archeological Museum of Palermo like?)
Sono is used both in the first person singular (io) and the third person plural (loro) forms. After learning singular and plural adjective and noun forms the meaning of sono will be evident from the context.
  • Sono un ragazzo italiano. (I am an Italian boy.)
  • Non sono canadesi. (They are not Canadian.)
In matters of health or how people are feeling essere is used with adjectives.
  • Sono stanco. (I am tired.)
  • È malato. (He is sick.)
  • È stanca. (She is tired.)
  • Siamo malati. (We are sick.)
  • Non sono stanchi. (They are not tired.)
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Chi domanda non fa errori.

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