Second Conjugation Italian Verbs

Second Conjugation Italian Verbs

The infinitives of all regular verbs in Italian end in -are, -ere, or -ire and are referred to as first, second, or third conjugation verbs, respectively. In English the infinitive (l'infinito) consists of to + verb.

amare to love temere to fear sentire to hear

Verbs with infinitives ending in -ere are called second conjugation, or -ere, verbs. The present tense of a regular -ere verb is formed by dropping the infinitive ending -ere and adding the appropriate endings to the resulting stem. There is a different ending for each person.

Characteristics of the Second Conjugation

  • The "passato remoto" (historical past) of the second conjugation verbs has two diverse forms of the first and third person singular and third person plural:
  • io temetti/temei
    egli temette/temé
    essi temettero/temeronoio vendetti/vendei
    egli vendette/vendé
    essi vendettero/venderono
    Note! In standard usage the forms -etti, -ette, and -ettero are preferred. The majority of verbs whose root ends in t though, such as battere, potere, and riflettere, take the endings -ei, -é and -erono.
    io battei
    egli batté
    essi batterono
    io potei
    egli poté
    essi poterono
    io riflettei
    egli rifletté
    essi rifletterono
  • The verbs fare and dire are considered second conjugation verbs (because they are derived from two third conjugation Latin verbs-facere and dicere) as well as all verbs ending in -arre (trarre), -orre (porre), and -urre (tradurre).
  • Verbs ending in -cere (vincere), -gere (scorgere), or -scere (conoscere) have a particular phonetic rule. C, g, and sc of the root maintains the soft sound of the infinitive before the declinations that start with e or i. They take the hard sound before the declinations that begin with a or o:
  • vincere
    tu vinci
    che egli vincaspargere
    tu spargi
    che egli sparga
    tu conosci
    che egli conosca
    tu cresci
    che egli cresca
  • Many irregular verbs ending in -cere (piacere, dispiace, giacere, nuocere, tacere) maintain the soft sound by inserting an i before declinations that begin with a or o; if the verb has a regular past participle ending in -uto, an i is also added:
  • nuocere
    io nuoccio
    tu nuoci
    essi nuocciono
    io piaccio
    tu piaci
    essi piacciono
    io giaccio
    tu giaci
    essi giacciono
  • Verbs ending in -gnere are regular and maintain the i of the declinations iamo (indicative and present subjunctive) and iate (present subjunctive):
  • spegnere
    noi spegniamo
    che voi spegniate
  • Verbs ending in -iere drop the i of the root before declinations that start with i:
  • compiere
    tu compi
    noi compiamo