How do you use the verb sembra in Italian? What does it mean? How do you pronounce it?
In this lesson, we will look at how to use this word with the help of many audio recordings and example sentences. Read on to learn everything you need to know!
How to use sembra in Italian
What is sembra?
Sembra is a present tense conjugation of the verb sembrare, which means to seem. To be more precise, it’s the third-person present tense conjugation of sembrare, which is a regular verb in Italian, translating as “he/she/it seems”.
Let’s hear how it is pronounced.
Its pronunciation is close to sehm-bruh. If you have trouble pronouncing Italian sounds, especially the rolled R, check out the Italian pronunciation guide.
Now, let’s see some example sentences with sembra in Italian, before we take a look at how to use the verb sembrare along with its other present tense conjugations as well.
Title: Italian All-in-One For Dummies
Language: English / Italian
Publisher: For Dummies
Learn to speak Italian like a native? Easy.
Italian All-in-One For Dummies appeals to those readers looking for a comprehensive, all-encompassing guide to mastering the Italian language. It contains content from all For Dummies Italian language instruction titles, including Italian For Dummies, Intermediate Italian For Dummies, Italian Verbs For Dummies, Italian Phrases For Dummies, Italian Grammar For Dummies, and Italian For Dummies Audio Set.
Mi sembra che il treno sia in ritardo.
It seems to me that the train is late.
Quando ci si diverte, il tempo sembra volare.
When you’re having fun, time seems to fly by.
Il tuo piano non sembra migliore del mio.
Your plan doesn’t seem better than mine.
Nessuno sembra conoscere la risposta.
Nobody seems to know the answer.
Sara sembra nervosa.
Sara seems nervous.
Now let’s see where sembra in Italian comes from.
Use of sembra in Italian
You probably already know that the indicativo presente (present tense) conjugation for the pronoun io adds the ending -o to the root of the verb, or stem (see note for more info).
What’s the stem of a verb?
Italian infinitive verbs end in -ARE, -ERE and -IRE.
Cut off this part and you are left with the root verb.
amare ➡️ am-
prendere ➡️ prend-
mentire ➡️ ment-
Italian verb endings for each tense are added to these root forms of the verb.
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Now, how would you conjugate the present tense of sembrare, “to ask”, if I told you that the ending for io, I, is -o?
Take away the infinitive ending -are and add -o!
Sembrare… ➡️ Sembr-… ➡️ Io sembro?
That’s right! 🙂 This is why we will also say sembra in Italian, because the third-person conjugation adds -e as we will see.
So let’s look at the present tense conjugation of sembrare along with its pronunciation.
Present tense conjugation for sembrare
For example, you could say…
Sembra che siamo arrivati con qualche minuto di anticipo.
We seem to have arrived a few minutes early.
Sembri avere fretta.
You seem to be in a hurry.
Odio le zanzare, ma loro sembrano amarmi.
I hate mosquitoes, but they seem to love me.
Sembrate spaventati. Che cosa è successo?
You look scared. What happened?
Sembri un ottimo nuotatore.
You seem to be a very good swimmer.
And that’s the end of our lesson on how to use sembra in Italian!
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