We're coving the 10 most important things to know to get by in Italian. First, we looked at Italian greetings, at the common courtesies, and asking questions. Last week, we looked at things you will need, numbers, and directions.
7. Basic action verbs
There is an incredible amount of communication that can be done before you ever learn any verbs. But there is also an incredible amount of additional things that can be done after learning a few basic verbs. Here are a few really useful verbs for Italian:
- to be
- be able to
- avere bisogno di
- to please
I've already covered verb conjugation in Italian on this site, so I won't go into great detail. The simple summary is as follows.
There are three verb endings: -are, -ere, and -ire. When you conjugate an Italian verb in the present tense, you drop the ending and replace it with one of the following...
This is a generalization that's good enough for the 10 things list. It will be more than enough to get by in Italian. Even if you occasionally conjugate an exception incorrectly, people will understand.
The one final note about conjugation is that Italian (like many foreign languages) does not have the word "like", as in to like something. Instead, you say it pleases me. So the verb piacere is typically conjugated in the third-person as mi piace, which means I like (literally: it pleases me).
Putting it to use
This is the most info-packed point, so far, on the 10 things you need to know list. But it's also the most powerful, because now you can say a lot of really useful things!
For example, even without learning to say I'm hungry, we can say io voglio mangare, or I want to eat. Volere is one of those exceptions that doesn't follow the normal conjugation... but you already know the first-person conjugation from when you learned how to ask for the things you need.
There are many more ways to combine these words with other words we've already covered, such as Scusi, io devo sapere dov'è l'albergo, or, excuse me, I need to know where the hotel is. Or you can say devo andare in ospedale, to let someone know that I have to go to the hospital.
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