Italian Verbs Piacere and Servire

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Piacere and Servire

Piacere - to like / Servire - to need
piaccio piacciamo servo serviamo
piaci piacete servi servite
piace piacciono serve servono
Past participle: piaciuto   Past participle: servito  

Piacere (a) literally means to be pleasing (to) so to form a sentence you have to invert the word order. You must also use the prepositional contractions with a.

Maria piace a Giovanni.  John likes Mary. (Literally: Mary is pleasing to John)
Gli studenti piacciono ai professori.  The teachers like the students. (Literally:  The students are pleasing to the teachers).

The most common forms are the third person singular and plural when used with object pronouns. The object pronouns that are used with these two verbs are somewhat similar to the reflexive pronouns:

mi I (to me) ci we (to us)
ti you (to you) vi you (to you)
gli / le he / she (to him / her) gli they (to them)

To say I like something, use Mi piace if it is singular and Mi piacciono if it is plural. Piaciuto is the past participle and it is used with essere. However, it always agrees with the subject (what is liked) instead of the person.

Mi piace cucinare. I like to cook. (Literally:  To me is pleasing to cook.)
Gli piacciono i treni.  He likes trains. (Literally:  To him are pleasing the trains.)
Ci è piaciuta la bistecca. We liked the steak. (Literally:  To us was pleasing the steak.)
Non le sono piaciuti gli spaghetti. She didn't like the spaghetti. (Literally:  Not to her was pleasing the spaghetti.)

Stressed forms also exist for the object pronouns. They are nearly identical to the subject pronouns, except me and te are used for me and you (familiar). They are always preceded by the preposition a.

A me non piace sciare. I don't like to ski. (Literally:  To me not is pleasing to ski.)
A loro piace viaggiare? Do they like to travel? (Literally:  To them is pleasing to travel.)

→ Servire has the same construction as piacere.  It is also used primarily in the third person singular and plural forms and takes an indirect object. When it takes a direct object, it simply means to serve.

Ti serve della frutta?  Do you need any fruit? (Literally:  By you is needed some fruit?)
Il pane serve a Marco.  Marco needs bread.  (Literally:  The bread is needed by Marco.)

→ Mancare can be used in the same way as piacere and servire to mean to miss or to lack. If used in the regular way, it means to be missing / absent.

Mi manchi. I miss you. (Literally:  To me you are missing.)
Chi manca? Who is missing?

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