Italian irregular verbs

If there is anything that challenges Italian language learners, it is Italian irregular verbs.

As you probably already know, Italian conjugation rules are very different from English: each subject pronoun (io, tu, noi…) has its own verb ending in every tense, and that’s why you can do without subject pronouns entirely when speaking the language.

In Italian, you can tell the subject just by looking at the verb ending.

But not all verb conjugations are equal. A few verbs have unpredictable patterns and break the rules: these are the Italian irregular verbs.


Italian irregular verbs break all the rules

You likely already know that the indicativo presente (present tense) conjugation for the pronoun io appends the ending -o to the root of the verb, or stem (see note for further info).

What’s the stem of a verb?
Italian verbs in the infinitive end in -ARE, -ERE and -IRE.
Cut out this part and you will be left with the root verb.
Examples:
tremare ➡️ trem-
piovere ➡️ piov-
cucire ➡️ cuc-
Italian verb endings for every tense are added to these root forms of the verb.

How would you conjugate the present tense of venire, “to come”?

Take away the infinitive ending -ire and add -o!

Venire… ➡️ Ven-… ➡️ Io veno?

You will maybe be surprised to know that the correct conjugation is actually io vengo.

This is because venire is one of those Italian irregular verbs!

Don’t take these verbs lightly when you are studying Italian: many of them are very common verbs so it is very important for you to know them well. To do, to go and to drink, for example, are irregular verbs in Italian.

I want to stress this: learning Italian irregular verbs conjugations is very important.

But don’t fret. Italian irregular verbs can look intimidating, but given enough practice, you will learn them by heart without much effort. This is because they are so common you will encounter them very often during your studies, so even if you don’t actively practice all these Italian irregular verbs, you will learn them passively in the long run.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at a list featuring the present tense conjugations for the 28 most common Italian regular verbs. For ease of use, I divided them depending on the change that the stem undergoes.

Bear in mind, though, that verbs that are irregular in the present are often irregular in other tenses as well, so always take a look at their complete conjugation tables.

You will find audio clips for every verb. Let’s start! Iniziamo!

woman running - let's start!

Italian irregular verbs

Italian irregular verbs that are completely irregular.

Avere (to have)

Present tense conjugation for avere

ioho
tuhai
lui, leiha
noiabbiamo
voiavete
lorohanno

Ho un fratello e due sorelle.
I have a brother and two sisters.

Martina e Franco non hanno figli.
Martina and Franco have no children.


Essere (to be)

Present tense conjugation for essere

iosono
tusei
lui, leiè
noisiamo
voisiete
lorosono

Il gatto è sul davanzale della finestra.
The cat is on the window sill.

Prima siamo andati al museo, poi siamo tornati al parco.
First we went to the museum, then we went back to the park.

to be continued... movie that has just ended at the theater - italian irregular verbs

Italian irregular verbs with regular noi/voi

Italian irregular verbs for all subject pronouns but noi/voi, which are regular.

Andare (to go)

Present tense conjugation for andare

iovado
tuvai
lui, leiva
noiandiamo
voiandate
lorovanno

Vado a fare spesa. Ti serve qualcosa?
I’m going shopping. Do you need anything?

Anna va a scuola tutti i giorni.
Anna goes to school every day.


Uscire (to go out)

Present tense conjugation for uscire

ioesco
tuesci
lui, leiesce
noiusciamo
voiuscite
loroescono

Davide non esce mai di casa prima delle 9.
Davide never leaves the house before 9 o’clock.

Le volpi escono dalle loro tane per cacciare.
Foxes come out of their dens to hunt.

man holding a box and going out of a room - italian irregular verbs guide

Italian irregular verbs with -CCIO ending

Italian irregular verbs that take on a -ccio ending. This doesn’t apply to all pronouns, so beware.

Fare (to do)

Present tense conjugation for fare

iofaccio
tufai
lui, leifa
noifacciamo
voifate
lorofanno

Faccio colazione con uova e pancetta.
I have breakfast with eggs and bacon.

I bambini fanno una torta insieme alla nonna.
The kids make a cake together with their grandmother.


Piacere (to like)

Present tense conjugation for piacere

iopiaccio
tupiaci
lui, leipiace
noipiacciamo
voipiacete
loropiacciono

Io piaccio a te, ma tu non piaci a me!
You like me, but I don’t like you!

A Sara piace ascoltare la musica sul balcone.
Sara likes to listen to music on the balcony.


Tacere (to be silent)

Present tense conjugation for tacere

iotaccio
tutaci
lui, leitace
noitacciamo
voitacete
lorotacciono

Quel pappagallo non tace proprio mai!
That parrot is just never silent!

La foresta tace. Tutti gli animali dormono.
The forest is silent. All the animals are asleep.

smiling dog with a finger in front of its mouth

Italian irregular verbs that add -G-

Italian irregular verbs that add a -g- to the stem of the first and last subject pronouns.

Venire (to come)

Present tense conjugation for venire

iovengo
tuvieni
lui, leiviene
noiveniamo
voivenite
lorovengono

Vieni con noi? Andiamo allo stadio.
Are you coming with us? We’re going to the stadium.

I miei zii vengono da noi a cena stasera.
My aunt and uncle are coming over for dinner tonight.

Marcello viene da Milano.
Marcello comes from Milan.


Tenere (to keep, to hold)

Present tense conjugation for tenere

iotengo
tutieni
lui, leitiene
noiteniamo
voitenete
lorotengono

Dove teniamo le chiavi della macchina?
Where do we keep the car keys?

Tengo sempre il cane al guinzaglio quando passeggio.
I always keep the dog on a leash when walking.

La ragazza tiene un gatto tra le braccia.
The girl holds a cat in her arms.


Rimanere (to stay)

Present tense conjugation for rimanere

iorimango
turimani
lui, leirimane
noirimaniamo
voirimanete
lororimangono

Io rimango qui. Voi andate avanti senza di me.
I am staying here. You go on without me.

Sergio rimane dalla nonna per un paio di settimane.
Sergio stays with his grandmother for a couple of weeks.

Rimaniamo fermi mentre il lupo ci annusa.
We stand still while the wolf sniffs us.

man raising his arms to signal to stop - irregular verbs in italian complete guide

Italian irregular verbs in -IRE

Italian irregular verbs ending in -ire that add a -ISC- cluster to the stem in all subjects pronouns but noi/voi, which are regular.

Capire (to understand)

Present tense conjugation for capire

iocapisco
tucapisci
lui, leicapisce
noicapiamo
voicapite
lorocapiscono

Non capisco. Cosa significa questa frase?
I don’t understand. What does this sentence mean?

Ettore capisce quattro lingue.
Hector understands four languages.

I bambini capiscono più di quello che pensiamo.
Children understand more than we think.


Finire (to finish, to end)

Present tense conjugation for finire

iofinisco
tufinisci
lui, leifinisce
noifiniamo
voifinite
lorofiniscono

Oggi finisco di dipingere la cassettiera.
Today I will finish painting the dresser.

Finiamo di lavorare alle cinque del pomeriggio.
We finish work at five o’clock in the afternoon.

Finché non finiscono i lavori nella via, non ci sarà corrente.
Until the construction work in the street is finished, there will be no power.


Preferire (to prefer)

Present tense conjugation for preferire

iopreferisco
tupreferisci
lui, leipreferisce
noipreferiamo
voipreferite
loropreferiscono

Preferisco la montagna alla spiaggia.
I prefer mountains to beaches.

Luca preferisce trascorrere le ferie in città.
Luca prefers to spend his vacation in the city.

Preferiamo una stanza con vista mare, grazie.
We prefer a room with a sea view, please.


Pulire (to clean)

Present tense conjugation for pulire

iopulisco
tupulisci
lui, leipulisce
noipuliamo
voipulite
loropuliscono

Io pulisco la macchina, tu tagli l’erba.
I clean the car, you cut the grass.

Marco non pulisce quasi mai camera sua.
Marco hardly ever cleans his room.

I ragazzi puliscono il pavimento con uno straccio bagnato.
The boys wipe the floor with a wet rag.

man cleaning the interior of his car

Italian irregular verbs with a short stem

Italian irregular verbs where the stem is so short it undergoes a change.

Dire (to say)

Present tense conjugation for dire

iodico
tudici
lui, leidice
noidiciamo
voidite
lorodicono

Io dico che sarebbe meglio non entrare.
I say it would be better not to get in.

Lorenzo dice di aver lasciato un piatto di pasta in frigo.
Lorenzo says he left a plate of pasta in the fridge.

Come si dice “gatto” in inglese?
How do you say “cat” in English?


Dare (to give)

Present tense conjugation for dare

iodo
tudai
lui, lei
noidiamo
voidate
lorodanno

Diamo un regalo a nostra mamma.
We give a gift to our mom.

Cosa mi dai in cambio del portachiavi?
What will you give me for the key ring?

Ti do tre euro se tu mi dai una fetta della tua pizza.
I’ll give you three euros if you give me a slice of your pizza.


Bere (to drink)

Present tense conjugation for bere

iobevo
tubevi
lui, leibeve
noibeviamo
voibevete
lorobevono

La bambina beve un succo d’arancia.
The child drinks orange juice.

Bevo almeno sei bicchieri d’acqua al giorno.
I drink at least six glasses of water a day.

Il terreno beve molta acqua.
The soil drinks a lot of water.

kid drinking a glass of water

Other common Italian irregular verbs

Italian irregular verbs that have no shared pattern.

Accogliere (to welcome)

Present tense conjugation for accogliere

ioaccolgo
tuaccogli
lui, leiaccoglie
noiaccogliamo
voiaccogliete
loroaccolgono

Accogliamo gli ospiti in salotto.
We welcome guests to the living room.

Il re accoglie la richiesta con un cenno del capo.
The king grants the request with a nod.

Questo centro di assistenza accoglie solo donne e bambini.
This care center takes in only women and children.


Spegnere (to turn off)

Present tense conjugation for spegnere

iospengo
tuspegni
lui, leispegne
noispegniamo
voispegnete
lorospengono

Spengo la TV e vado a mangiare.
I turn off the TV and go to eat.

Le luci si spengono automaticamente dopo un minuto.
The lights automatically turn off after one minute.

Spegniamo il fuoco con un secchio d’acqua.
We put out the fire with a bucket of water.


Apparire (to look)

Present tense conjugation for apparire

ioappaio
tuappari
lui, leiappare
noiappariamo
voiapparite
loroappaiono

Il problema appare più grave di quanto sia davvero.
The problem appears more serious than it really is.

Alcune luci appaiono all’orizzonte.
Some lights appear on the horizon.

Appari sempre all’improvviso. Come fai?
You always appear out of the blue. How do you do that?


Tradurre (to translate)

Present tense conjugation for tradurre

iotraduco
tutraduci
lui, leitraduce
noitraduciamo
voitraducete
lorotraducono

Cosa fai nella vita? – Traduco.
What do you do for a living? – I translate.

Nicola traduce testi dal tedesco all’italiano.
Nicola translates texts from German to Italian.

I ragazzi traducono le frasi alla lavagna.
The children translate the sentences on the blackboard.


Salire (to go up)

Present tense conjugation for salire

iosalgo
tusali
lui, leisale
noisaliamo
voisalite
lorosalgono

Quando salgo sull’autobus, mi accorgo di aver dimenticato il quaderno.
When I get on the bus, I realize I forgot my notebook.

I passeggeri salgono sul treno.
Passengers board the train.

La marea sale e sommerge la spiaggia.
The tide rises and floods the beach.


Morire (to die)

Present tense conjugation for morire

iomuoio
tumuori
lui, leimuore
noimoriamo
voimorite
loromuoiono

Muoio dalla voglia di mangiare un gelato al cioccolato.
I’m dying for chocolate ice cream.

Le api muoiono quando perdono il pungiglione.
Bees die when they lose their sting.

L’ultima luce del giorno muore e si fa buio.
The last light of the day dies and it gets dark.


Scegliere (to choose)

Present tense conjugation for scegliere

ioscelgo
tuscegli
lui, leisceglie
noiscegliamo
voiscegliete
loroscelgono

Scelgo sempre la pizza con tonno e cipolle.
I always choose pizza with tuna and onions.

I ragazzi scelgono di trascorrere il sabato in piscina.
The boys choose to spend Saturday at the pool.

Paola sceglie di non uscire venerdì sera.
Paola chooses not to go out on Friday night.

woman who doesn't know which direction do go, left or right

Italian irregular modal verbs

There are four modal verbs in Italian: potere, volere, dovere and sapere. They usually precede a verb in the infinitive tense and they are all Italian irregular verbs.

Potere (can)

Present tense conjugation for potere

ioposso
tupuoi
lui, leipuò
noipossiamo
voipotete
loropossono

Puoi chiudere la finestra, per favore?
Can you close the window, please?

Federico si è sposato? Non può essere vero!
Federico got married? It can’t be true!

Possiamo ordinare un antipasto prima dei primi?
Can we order an appetizer before the first courses?


Volere (to want)

Present tense conjugation for volere

iovoglio
tuvuoi
lui, leivuole
noivogliamo
voivolete
lorovogliono

Voglio ridipingere la cameretta del bambini.
I want to repaint the children’s bedroom.

Giorgio vuole andare in vacanza in Thailandia.
Giorgio wants to go on vacation to Thailand.

Vuoi un passaggio fino a casa?
Do you want a ride home?


Dovere (must, need, have to)

Present tense conjugation for dovere

iodevo
tudevi
lui, leideve
noidobbiamo
voidovete
lorodevono

Devo ancora lavare i piatti da ieri sera.
I still have to wash the dishes from last night.

Dobbiamo consegnare il saggio entro il prossimo mercoledì.
We have to turn in the essay by next Wednesday.

I ragazzi devono ancora alzarsi.
The boys have yet to get up.


Sapere (to know, to be able to)

Present tense conjugation for sapere

ioso
tusai
lui, leisa
noisappiamo
voisapete
lorosanno

So che Grazia ha avuto un incidente con la bici. Ora sta bene?
I know that Grace had a bike accident. Is she okay now?

Sapete dove posso trovare una risma di fogli di carta?
Do you know where I can get a ream of paper?

Tu sai tante cose, ma non puoi sapere tutto.
You know many things, but you cannot know everything.

➡️ What’s the difference between conoscere and sapere?

That’s it! Now you know all the most common Italian irregular verbs. Make sure you frequently practice them and don’t forget to take a peek at the Verb Trainer where you will find plenty of exercises for verbs, including Italian irregular verbs!


What next?

Now that you’ve seen how the Italian irregular verbs work, you might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

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