The verb is the variable part of the speech expressing actions, events and situations. It’s the most important element in a sentence: the verb is the centre around which are organized all the elements of the sentence.

In particular, the verb expresses:
- an action made by the subject
- an action received by the subject
- an action reflected upon the subject
- an event
- how are and what are somebody or something
- a possession of somebody or something
- the existence of somebody or something.

Moreover, the verb gives information about the temporal collocation of the event, that can be situated:
- nel passato, in the past
- nel presente, in the present
- nel futuro, in the future.

Finally, the verb gives information about the event’s way of happening, that can be considered:
- a certain event  
- an hypothesis
- an opinion
- an impossibility

• The verb agrees with the subject and permits to recognize it. It has six different endings, related to the six different “persons” that can carry out the action.  

The verb can be analysed according to:
- l’aspetto morfologico, the morphological aspects: la persona (person), il numero (number), il modo (mood), il tempo (tense),  l’aspetto (aspect), la coniugazione (conjugation);
- la funzione, the function, held in relationship with other verbs: ausiliare (auxiliary), servile (modal), fraseologico (phraseological);
- il genere, the kind: transitivo (transitive) or intransitivo (intransitive);
- la forma, the voice: attiva (active), passiva (passive), riflessiva (reflexive).

•    The morphological aspects: o la forma del verbo

Also the verbs are composed by a root, invariable, and by a variable ending, that contains a lots of information. The ending of a verb shows:

La persona e il numero: the person who constitutes the subject can be:
- the one who speaks, la persona che parla, known as prima persona, first person, singolare or plurale: io (I), noi (we);
- the one who listens, la persona che ascolta, seconda persona, second person, singolare or plurale: tu (you), voi (you);
- the one or the thing is the sentence about la persona o la cosa di cui si parla, terza persona, third person, singolare or plurale: lui, lei, egli, ella, esso, essa (him, her), essi, esse, loro (they).
There are three persons singular and three persons plural.
For example: Io mangio. (I eat.)Tu dormi. (You sleep) Lui scrive. (He writes): Prima, seconda e
terza persona singolare.
Noi partiamo. (We leave) Voi uscite. (You go out) Essi leggono. (They read): prima, seconda e terza persona plurale.

Il genere: sometimes is possible to understand if the subject performing the action is masculine or feminine. This happens only in past participle tense and in compound tenses.
For example: seduto, seduta, seduti, sedute (sat): it’s evident in the participle the variation of  
gender and number.
È partita. È partito. Sono partite. Sono partiti. (He/she left. They left) It’s evident the ending’s variation of number and gender in compound tenses, such as the present perfect.

Important: the endings of verbs change, depending on subject’s persons, numbers and gender.

Attention: the agreement between subject and verb occurs depending on the grammatical person.

Il modo: the mood of the verb suggest if the action or the situation espresse in the sentence are considered a certainty, a possibility, a hope, a doubt, an order.
For example: mangio (certainty), mangerei (possibility), mangiassi (doubt), mangia! (order).

In italian exist seven moods: four finite, finiti, and three indefinite, indefiniti.

The modi finiti, finite moods, have different forms for each of the six grammatical persons: subject’s person and number are explicitly expressed.
The indicativo (indicative), the congiuntivo (subjunctive), the condizionale (conditional) and the imperativo (imperative) are finite moods.

I modi indefiniti, indefinite moods, have only one grammatical form for all the persons: the subject is implicit.
The infinito (infinitive), the participio (participle) and the gerundio (gerund) are indefinite moods.

Il tempo: the event expressed by the verb can take place in the present, in the past or in the future.
When the tense is presente, present, the action takes place the same moment of the speaking.  
For example: Sono in biblioteca a studiare. (I’m studing in the library.)
When the tense is passato, past, the action has already happened.
For example: Ieri sono andato in biblioteca a studiare. (Yesterday I studied in the  library.)
Quando il tempo è futuro, l’azione deve ancora avvenire.
For example: Domani andrò in biblioteca a studiare. (Tomorrow I’ll study in the library.)

In italian, verbal tenses can be simple or compound.
Simple tenses, tempi semplici, are made up only by one word: dormo, giocavo, studierò, mangiai.
Compound tenses, tempi composti, are made up by the auxiliary (essere, to be, or avere, to have) and by the past participle of the verb: ho dormito, avevo giocato, avrò studiato, ebbi mangiato.

L’aspetto: it indicates the duration, la durata, the beginning or the conclusion of an event or process.
For example: Da bambino giocava sempre a pallone (When he was a child, he always played football): the aspect is durativo, durative, because is meant that the child played football for a long time during his chilhood.
All’improvviso si voltò e mi vide (Suddendly he turned the head and he saw me): the aspect is momentary, because both the actions last just for a moment.

La coniugazione: all the forms assumed by the verb in relation to the number, the gender, the persons, the moods and the tenses take the name of conjugation. In italian exsist three conjugations; to identify them is necessary observing the ending of the infinitive form of the verb.

Prima coniugazione:  verbs ending in -are: amare (to love), studiare (to study).
Seconda coniugazione: verbs ending in -ere: sapere (to know), correre (to run).
Terza coniugazione: verbs endings in -ire: sentire (to listen), dormire (to sleep).
Attention: essere (to be) and avere (to have) don’t belong to these three conjugations: they have a proper conjugation.

•    The function: auxiliary, servile and phraseological verbs

- The auxiliary verbs

The verb essere, to be, and the verb avere, to have, can be used in their proper meaning, when someone has to introduce himself (Sono Francesco: I’m Francesco. Lui è Marco: he’s Marco. Loro sono Anna e Marta: They are Anna and Marta.), or has to explain where he his (Sono a scuola: I’m at school. Siamo a Milano: We are in Milan. Siete al parco?: Are you at the park?) and what he possesses (Ho tanti amici. I have many friends. Hai una nuova borsa: You have a new bag. Hanno tutti la macchina: They all have a car.)

The verb essere and the verb avere can also be used as auxiliary verbs, that is like an help for all the other verbs to form all the compound tenses.
For example: Ho giocato. (I played.) Abbiamo dormito.(We slept.) Hai nuotato. (You swam.)
Sono andata.(I went.) Siete arrivati tardi. (You arrived.) Siamo partiti. (We left.)
Usually, transitive active verbs have as auxiliary the verb avere: Ho giocato. Avevamo rotto.
Reflexive verbs always have the auxiliary essere: Mi sono lavato. Ti sei pettinato.

Essere is the auxiliary used for the passive of all the verbs.

- The modal verbs

Dovere (must), potere (can) e volere (want) are modal verb, verbi servili: they mingle with the infinitive of a verb suggesting how the action happens.

Dovere indicates necessity, necessità: Devo studiare.(I must study.) Dovresti riposare. (You should rest.)
Potere indicates possibility, possibilità: Potrei uscire. (I could go out.) Possiamo bere. (We can drink.)
Volere indicates will, volontà: Vuole parlare. (He wants to speak.) Vorrebbe scusarsi. (He would apologize).

Usually, modal verbs, in compound tenses, takes the auxiliary of the verb they accompain: Sono potuta andare. Hai potuto dormire. Hai dovuto leggere. Sono dovuta uscire. Abbiamo voluto comprare.

- Phraseological verbs

They associate with an infinitive or a gerund in order to express the duration of an action. They are composed by many words. In particular, they indicate:
- the imminence, l’imminenza, of an action: Sta per piovere. (It’s going to rain). Are used expressions like stare per, essere per, essere sul punto di.
- l’inizio, the beginning of an action: Comincia a piovere. (It’s starting to rain). Are used expressions like cominciare a, mettersi a.
- the svolgimento, the development of an action: Sta piovendo. (It’s raining). Are used expressions like stare + gerundio, andare + gerundio.
- the durata, the lasting of an action: Continua a piovere. (It continues to rain). Are used expressions like continuare a, insistere a.
- the conclusione, the conclusion of an action: Ha smesso di piovere. Are used: finire di, smettere di.

•    Transitive and intransitive verbs

The verbi transitivi, transitive verbs, are the ones that hold, or can hold, a direct object.
The verbi intransitivi, intransivite verbs, are the ones that can’t hold a direct object.

A direct object is directly linked to the verb: it answers the questions chi? (who?) che cosa? (what?) and it isn’t preceded by prepositions.

For example:
Maria studia (che cosa?) la grammatica francese. Maria studies (what?) French grammar.
Studiare, to study, is a transitive verb, because it holds a direct object, in this case la grammatica francese.

Marta chiama (chi?) la mamma. Marta calls (who?) the mum.
Chiamare, to call, is a transitive verb, because it holds a direct object, in this case la mamma.
Giorgio ha telefonato (a chi?) a Marco. Giorgio phoned (to whom?) to Marco.
Telefonare, to phone, isn’t a transitive verb, because it doesn’t hold a direct object: a Marco, actually, is an indirect object because it answers the question to whom? and it’s introduced by the preposition a.

•    Active, passive and reflexive verbs: the voice

The voice describes the relationship of the verb action with its subject and object. The verb can have active, passive or reflexive voice.  

- Active voice
Giovanni lava i piatti (Giovanni wash the dishes): Giovanni is the doer of the action and the grammatical subject of the sentence. All the verb have the active voice.
For example: Marta mangia la mela. (Marta eats an apple.) Luca studia italiano. (Luca studies Italian.) Marco scrive una lettera. (Marco writes a letter.)

- Passive voice
I piatti sono lavati da Giovanni (The dishes are washed by Giovanni): Giovanni is the doer of the action, but he isn’t the grammatical subject of the sentence: i piatti are the subject, and they receive the end of the action: they are washed by someone.  
Only transitive verbs can have both active and passive voice. The passive of italian verbs is formed by the use of the past participle and the auxiliary essere, using the same tense as the corresponding active form.
For example: I cani sono seguiti dai bambini. (Dogs are pursued by children.) Le galline sono allevate dalla nonna. (Hens are bred by grandma.) La luce fu spenta dalla mamma. (The light was switched off by mum.)

- How transform an active voice in a passive one

1. You have to analyze the verbal voice you want to transform.
2. You have to conjugate the verb essere at the same tense and the same mood of the verb involved.
3.  You have to add at the verb obtained the past participle of the starting verb, agreed in gender and number with the subject.

For example:
io mangio          →       io sono                 +        mangiato                    io sono mangiato
verbo mangiare            verbo essere                   verbo mangiare               verbo mangiare
tempo presente            tempo presente               tempo passato               tempo presente
modo indicativo            modo indicativo                modo participio              modo indicativo
forma attiva                                                                                       forma passiva

- How to transform a passive voice into an active one

1. You have to analyze which tense and mood of essere in present in the verbal voice.
2. You have to find the infinitive of the verb conjugated, in the sentence, at the participle.
3. You have to conjugate the infinitive in the same tense, mood and person of essere.
For example:
io ero ascoltato          io ero              +         ascoltato                        io ascoltavo
verbo ascoltare             verbo essere               verbo ascoltare                   verbo ascoltare
modo indicativo             modo indicativo            modo participio                   modo indicativo
tempo imperfetto           tempo imperfetto         tempo passato                    tempo imperfetto
forma passiva                                                                                       forma attiva

- Reflexive voice

Giovanni si lava (Giovanni washes himself): the subject and the object of the action are the same person; they coincide. This is the reflexive form, in which the reflexive pronoun refers to the person carrying out the action, that at the same time is also the object of it.
The object is always expressed by an unstressed personal pronoun: mi, ti, si, ci, vi, si.
For example: Maria si pettina. (Maria combs her hair.) Marco e Chiara si abbracciavano. (Marco and Chiara hugged each other.) Adesso ci facciamo una bella doccia! (Now we are going to have a wonderful shower!)

•    Si passivante and si impersonale

The passive form of a verb can also be made with the active form the verb preceded by the si passivante.
For example: I libri si leggono in biblioteca. (Books are read in the library.)

- The subject is always a third person, singular or plural.
 For example: In Italia si legge in media un libro all’anno.
                   (On the average in Italy we read a book a year.)
                    In Italia si leggono in media tre libri all’anno.
                    (On the average in Italy we read tre books a year.)

- The auxiliary is always essere.
For example: L’anno scorso si sono letti ancora meno libri.

Verbs can be used in an impersonal way if they are conjungated to the third person singular and preceded by the si particle.
For example: Si va al mare. Si corre sulla spiaggia. Si gioca a pallone.
                  (We go to the seaside. We run on the beach. We play football.)

- The auxiliary is always essere.
For example: Si è andati in spiaggia. (We went on the beach.)

- Usually the masculine plural form is the one used in the agreements.
For example: Si è felici per la vittoria. (We are happy for the victory.)

- The ci particle must be used with reflexive or pronominal verbs.
 For example: Ci si vede domani. (We’ll see tomorrow.)

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