For this week’s lesson, we’re going to look at the conjugations and uses of some of the most common Italian irregular verbs. These include first conjugation irregular verbs, as well as the irregular auxiliary verbs avere (to have, to own, or to wear) and essere (to be).
First Conjugation Irregular Verbs
Italian has about ten third conjugation (-ire ending) and dozens of second conjugation (-ere ending) verbs that do not follow standard conjugation rules. However, there are only three irregular first conjugation (-are ending) verb: andare (to go), dare (to give), and stare (to stay).
The small number of –are verbs makes memorizing their conjugations relatively easy. Here are the present tense conjugations of these verbs.
Andare can be followed by another verb to create expressions equivalent to English expressions such as “to go shopping” and “to go hiking.” These expressions follow a andare + a + infinitive construction. In other words, andare is conjugated while the second verb is not. The verbs must always be separated by a. Andare can also help express a means of transportation. In this role, andare and the noun must be separated with in. Finally, when andare is followed by the name of a city and a country, the verb must be followed by a and in, respectively.
Stare is commonly-used in idiomatic expressions. As such, the word’s exact translation can change depending on the adjective or adverb that accompanies it.
Avere and Essere
The auxiliary verbs avere (to have, to own, or to wear) and essere (to be) are used in many grammatical constructions, including compound tenses. Because these verbs play such a large role in the Italian language, memorizing their present tense conjugations is a necessity.