Italian V Tutorial: Basic Phrases, Vocabulary and Grammar
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81. Conditional Tenses

The conditional tense expresses "would" and is used with requests and doubts.  It is also used in hypothetical situations with "if" clauses or with events or actions that may occur in the future, but probably won't. You will also see it in headlines of newspapers to indicate that something has not yet been proven to be true. To form the present conditional, use the future stem and these endings for all verbs.

-ei
-esti
-ebbe
-emmo
-este
-ebbero


As in the future tense, verbs ending in -care and -gare add an h after the c or g for pronunciation.  Verbs endings in -ciare and -giare drop the final i in all forms of the present conditional. The verbs that have irregular future stems are also irregular in the conditional tense:

to be essere sar- to remain, stay rimanere rimarr-
to have avere avr- to drink bere berr-
to be, stay stare star- to put, place porre porr-
to give dare dar- to come venire verr-
to make fare far- to translate tradurre tradurr-
to go andare andr- to hold tenere terr-
to fall cadere cadr- to draw, pull trarre trarr-
to have to, must dovere dovr- to explain spiegare spiegher-
to be able to, can potere potr- to pay pagare pagher-
to know (facts) sapere sapr- to look for cercare cercher-
to see vedere vedr- to forget dimenticare dimenticher-
to live (be alive) vivere vivr- to eat mangiare manger-
to want volere vorr- to begin cominciare comincer-

 

Gli parlerei, ma non è a casa.  I would talk to him, but he's not at home.
Prendereste un caffè?  Would you like some coffee?
Sarei più contenta.  I would be happier.

→ The past conditional expresses the same basic idea as the present conditional. It is formed by using the present conditional of avere or essere and the past participle of the main verb.  If the main clause is in the present tense, then the subordinate clause will either be in the present or past conditional in Italian.

Non so se lo potrebbe fare. I don't know if he would be able to do it.

However, if the main clause is in the past tense, then the subordinate clause MUST be in the past conditional in Italian:

Ha detto che sarebbe venuto.  He said that he would come.


82. Car & Driving

accelerator il acceleratore hubcap il coprimozzo
air conditioning la climatizzazione ignition l'accensione (f)
air hose la pompa pneumatica jack il cricco
automatic transmission la trasmissione automatica jumper cables i cavi per l'avviamento
axle l'asse (f) license plate la targa
battery la batteria manual transmission la trasmissione manuale
body of car la carrozzeria motor il motore
brake il freno mudguard il parafango
brake light la luce dei freni oil il olio
bulb l'ampolla oil can l'oliatore
bumper il paraurti one way senso unico
carburetor il carburatore pump la pompa
chain la catena puncture la bucatura
choke l'aria radiator il radiatore
clutch la frizione rearview mirror lo spechietto retrovisore
damage l'avaria registration l'immatricolazione (f)
dashboard il cruscotto roof il tetto
diesel il diesel seat il sedile
door lo sportello seatbelt la cintura  di sicurezza
door handle la maniglia side mirror lo spechietto laterale
driver's license la patente spare tire la gomma di scorta
engine il motore spark la scintilla
fender il paraurti spark plug la candela
flat tire la gomma a terra spring la molla
gas can il bidone per la benzina starter l'avviamento
gas cap il coperchio del serbatoio steering wheel il volante
gas pump la pompa di benzina stick shift la leva del cambio
gas tank il serbatoio della benzina tire la gomma
gasoline la benzina transmission la trasmissione
gear l'ingranaggio trunk il bagagliaio
grade crossing il passaggio a livello tube la camera d'aria
headlight il fanale turn signal la freccia
heater il calorifero valve la valvola
hood il cofano wheel la ruota
hood il cofano window il finestrino
horn la tromba windshield il parabrezza
horsepower il cavallo vapore windshield wiper il tergicristallo


83. To Drive & to Translate

condurre - to drive   tradurre - to translate
conduco
conduci
conduce
conduciamo
conducete
conducono
  traducco
traduci
traduce
traduciamo
traducete
traducono
Past participle: condotto   Past participle: tradotto

Other verbs that are conjugated similarly include: produrre (to produce) and ridurre (to reduce)


84. airport & train station

airport l'aeroporto luggage cart il carrello
arrival l'arrivo luggage rack la reticella portabagagli
ATM il bancomat luggage tag l'etichetta del bagaglio
baggage allowance la franchigia bagaglio non smoking non fumatori
baggage carousel il nastro trasportatore one-way ticket il biglietto di sola andata
baggage check il controllo dei bagagli passenger il passegiere
baggage return il ritiro bagagli passport il passaporto
baggage/luggage il bagaglio platform la piattaforma
bathroom la toilette railroad car il bagagliaio
boarding pass la carta d'imbarco railroad coach/car la carrozza / il vagone
border la frontiera railway la ferrovia
bus stop la fermata dell'autobus reservation la prenotazione
canceled cancellato round-trip ticket il biglietto di andata e ritorno
car rental l'autonoleggio seat il posto
checked baggage il bagaglio da registrare security gates i varchi di sicurezza
compartment lo scompartimento sleeping car la vettura letto
connection la coincidenza smoking fumatori
currency exchange l'ufficio cambio stop la fermata
customs la dogana subway la metropolitana
delayed ritardato suitcase la valigia
departure la partenza taxi stand il posteggio dei taxi
dining car il vagone ristorante telephone il telefono
entrance l'entrata ticket il biglietto
excess baggage il bagaglio eccedente ticket collector il controllore
exit l'uscita ticket office la biglietteria
flight il volo time table l'orario
gate l'uscita to validate (ticket) convalidare
hand luggage/carry on il bagaglio a mano train il treno
information booth l'ufficio informazioni train station la stazione
left luggage lockers il deposito bagagli automatico visa il visto
lost and found office l'ufficio oggetti smarriti waiting room la sala d'aspetto


85. Location & Direction

above sopra here qui / qua
abroad all'estero in in
across from di fronte a in front of davanti a
against contro in the middle of in mezzo a
along lungo inside dentro
among tra / fra near vicino a
anywhere / wherever dovunque next to / beside accanto a
around intorno a nowhere in nessun
at / to a of di
at home in casa on su
at the end of in fondo a on the left a sinistra
at the top of in cima a on the right a destra
backward indietro on top sopra
behind dietro outside fuori
below / downstairs giù / abbasso over sopra
between tra / fra over there collà, laggiù
beyond oltre since / for da
by per somewhere in qualche luogo
down there laggiù straight sempre diritto
downward in giù there lì, là
elsewhere altrove through / across attraverso / per
everywhere dappertutto / dovunque towards verso
except tranne under sotto
far (from) lontano da underneath disotto
for per until fino a
forward avanti up / upstairs sopra
from da upward insù


86. Use of the Infinitive

The infinitive can be used after certain prepositions, such as per, prima di and senza; whereas in English, the gerund form is usually used.

Siamo pronti per uscire.  We are ready to go out.
Prima di partire.  Before leaving.
Senza dire niente.  Without saying anything.

The past infinitive may be used after senza and dopo.  It is formed with the auxiliaries essere or avere and the past participle of the verb.  The final -e of the auxiliary verb is commonly dropped.

Sono venuti senza aver telefonato.  They came without having telephoned.
È ritornata dopo aver comprato i biglietti.  She returned after having bought the tickets.

The infinitive may also function as a noun.  In this case, the English translation is also the gerund form.

Viaggiare è stanca.  Travelling is tiring.

Letting, seeing or hearing someone do something is expressed by the forms of lasciare, vedere and sentire plus the infinitive.

Ho sentito cantare Teresa.  I heard Teresa singing.
Ho veduto dormire i bambini.  I saw the children sleeping.


87. Subjunctive Mood: Present & Present Perfect

The subjunctive mood expresses doubt, uncertainty, hope, fear, possibility, opinions, etc. and is used very frequently in Italian.  It is mainly used in dependent clauses (sentences introduced by a conjunction that do not have a complete meaning) that are introduced by che.

The present subjunctive of regular verbs is formed by dropping the normal endings, and adding these new endings:

-are -ere 1st -ire 2nd -ire
-i
-i
-i
-iamo
-iate
-ino
-a
-a
-a
-iamo
-iate
-ano
-a
-a
-a
-iamo
-iate
-ano
-isca
-isca
-isca
-iamo
-iate
-iscano

Verbs ending in -care and -gare add an h before all endings of the present subjunctive.  Verbs ending in -ciare and -giare drop the i from their stems.

Many common verbs have irregular present subjunctive forms:

avere essere andare bere dare dire
abbia
abbia
abbia
abbiamo
abbiate
abbiano
sia
sia
sia
siamo
siate
siano
vada
vada
vada
andiamo
andiate
vadano
beva
beva
beva
beviamo
beviate
bevano
dia
dia
dia
diamo
diate
diano
dica
dica
dica
diciamo
diciate
dicano

dovere fare potere sapere
debba
debba
debba
dobbiamo
dobbiate
debbano
faccia
faccia
faccia
facciamo
facciate
facciano
possa
possa
possa
possiamo
possiate
possano
sappia
sappia
sappia
sappiamo
sappiate
sappiano
stare uscire venire volere
stia
stia
stia
stiamo
stiate
stiano
esca
esca
esca
usciamo
usciate
escano
venga
venga
venga
veniamo
veniate
vengano
voglia
voglia
voglia
vogliamo
vogliate
vogliano


Penso che lui abbia ragione. I think that he's right.
Voglio che tu prenda una decisione. I want you to make a decision.

→ The present perfect subjunctive is formed with the present subjunctive of avere or essere and the past participle of the main verb.

Credo che abbiano fatto sciopero. I think they went on strike.


88. Uses of the Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive is used after verbs expressing hope, wish, desire, command or doubt such as sperare - to hope, desiderare - to desire, volere - to want, and dubitare - to doubt.  But verbs that express certainty or fact used in the affirmative sense (and not negative) require the indicative, such as essere sicuro - to be sure, essere certo - to be certain, and sapere - to know.  And if the subject of both verbs in the sentence is the same, use di with the infinitive instead of the subjunctive.

Dubito che loro vengano.  I doubt that they're coming.
Spero che lei vinca.  I hope that she wins.
Non so se i musei siano aperti.  I don't know if the museums are open.
So che i musei sono aperti.  I know that the museums are open. (expresses certainty, so no subjunctive)
Non credo di averlo perso.  I don't think that I lost it. (same subject, so simply use di)

→ The subjunctive is also used after impersonal expressions, usually essere and an adjective or adverb, unless they state a fact.  Some common expressions are è necessario - it's necessary, è meglio - it's better, è possibile - it's possible, and è probabile - it's probable.  The indicative is used after these expressions of certainty: è certo - it's certain, è sicuro - it's sure, and è vero - it's true.

→ Certain conjunctions require the subjunctive as well, such as a meno che... non - unless, sebbene - even though, benché / per quanto - although, affinché / perché - so that, prima che - before, senza che - without, a condizione che / purché - provided that, and nel caso che - in the event that.  The subjunctive is also used after il primo.. che, l'ultimo..che, and il solo...che as well as in dependent clauses beginning with an indefinite: chiunque - whoever, comunque - however, dovunque - wherever, qualunque - whatever.


89. Subjunctive Mood: Imperfect & Past Perfect

The imperfect subjunctive is formed by adding the same set of endings to all infinitives, minus -re. The stem vowel of the infinitive must be kept (either a, e or i).

all verbs
-ssi
-ssi
-sse
-ssimo
-ste
-ssero

Some common verbs have irregular imperfect subjunctive forms:

 

essere stare dare
fossi
fossi
fosse
fossimo
foste
fossero
stessi
stessi
stesse
stessimo
steste
stessero
dessi
dessi
desse
dessimo
deste
dessero
fare dire bere
facessi
facessi
facesse
facessimo
faceste
facessero
dicessi
dicessi
dicesse
dicessimo
diceste
dicessero
bevessi
bevessi
bevesse
bevessimo
beveste
bevessero

 

→ The imperfect subjunctive is often used after come se (as if).

Parla come se sapesse tutto. He talks as if he knew everything.

→ When the verb of the main clause is in a past tense or the conditional, then the verb in the dependent clause will be in the imperfect subjunctive if that action took place at the same time or later than the action in the independent clause.

Non c'era nessuno che mi capisse. There was no one who understood me.

→ The past perfect subjunctive is formed with the imperfect subjunctive of avere or essere plus the past participle of the main verb.

Speravo che avessero capito. I was hoping that they had understood.

→ When the verb of the main clause is in a past tense or the conditional, then the verb in the dependent clause will be in the past perfect subjunctive if that action took place before the action in the independent clause.

Era il più bello film che io avessi mai visto. It was the most beautiful film I had ever seen.

→ The imperfect subjunctive is used in hypothetical clauses beginning with se (if), when the verb of the main clause is in the conditional tense. In English, the simple past tense is used instead; however, in both languages either the se clause or the main clause can begin the sentence.

Andrei al cinema se avessi tempo. I would go to the movies if I had time.
Se avessi tempo, andrei al cinema. If I had time, I would go to the movies.


90. More Irregular Verbs in the Present Tense

 

morire-to die porre-to put, place rimanere-to remain salire-to go up
muoio moriamo pongo poniamo rimango rimaniamo salgo saliamo
muori morite poni ponete rimani rimanete sali salite
muore muoiono pone pongono rimane rimangono sale salgono
scegliere-to choose spegnere-to turn off sedere-to sit trarre-to obtain
scelgo scegliamo spengo spegniamo siedo sediamo traggo traiamo
scegli scegliete spegni spegnete siedi sedete trai traete
sceglie scelgono spegnere spengono siede siedono trae traggono

 

Verbs that have the same root suffix will be conjugated the same:

porre → proporre (to propose, suggest), esporre (to expose, display)
scegliere → togliere (to take off, remove), cogliere (to gather), raccogliere (to collect, harvest)
trarre → distrarre (to distract), attrarre (to attract)

 




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