This week we’re going to provide an introduction to Italian present and past participles. In modern Italian, the present participle is usually used as either a noun or an adjective. The past participle is integral to many verb forms. Compound tenses, including the perfect tenses, are constructed from some combination of the past participle and the auxiliary verbs avere (to have, to own, or to wear) and essere (to be).
Conjugating the Present Participle
The present participle is formed by dropping the ending to the infinitive of the verb and replacing it with the appropriate participle ending. Which ending the infinitive stem takes depends on the ending of the infinitive and whether the participle is intended to be singular or plural. For –ARE verbs, the endings are –ante (singular) and –anti (plural). For –ERE and –IRE verbs, the endings are –ente and –enti.
Conjugating the Past Participle
Past participles have their own set of endings based on the ending of the infinitive. Unlike present participles, there are distinct participle endings for –ERE and –IRE verbs. –ARE verbs take the ending –ato. –ERE verbs take the ending –uto. –IRE verbs take the ending –ito.
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