Italian Language Lessons
Grammar, spelling, and usage

Italian Present Tense
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The Italian present tense (presente) is happening right now. It's a simple tense—that is, the verb form consists of one word only. The present tense of a regular Italian verb is formed by dropping the infinitive ending and adding the appropriate endings to the resulting stem.

The present tense of a regular -are verb is formed by dropping the infinitive ending -are and adding the appropriate endings to the resulting stem (-o, -i, -a, -iamo, -ate, -ano). See the table below for a sample conjugation of amare (to love).

PRESENT TENSE CONJUGATION OF AMARE (TO LOVE)
PERSON SINGULAR PLURAL
I (io) amo (I love) (noi) amiamo (we love)
II (tu) ami (you love, familiar) (voi) amate (you love, familiar)
III (Lei) ama (you love, formal) (Loro) amano (you love, formal)
(lui/lei) ama (he/she loves) (loro) amano (they love)

The infinitive of first-conjugation Italian verbs (those ending in -are) and the conjugated forms of the present tense are pronounced like most Italian words: the stress falls on the next-to-last syllable. The one exception is the third person plural form amano, which is pronounced AH-mah-noh, with stress falling on the first syllable. A few first-conjugation verbs are listed in the following table.

COMMON FIRST-CONJUGATION VERBS
arrivare to arrive
ascoltare to listen
aspettare to wait
ballare to dance
camminare to walk
cantare to sing
dimenticare to forget
guidare to drive
imparare to learn
insegnare to teach
lavorare to work
nuotare to swim
parlare to speak
pranzare to dine, to have lunch
suonare to play (a musical instrument)
telefonare to telephone
visitare to visit

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