Verb conja-what? Conjugation? Isn't that what people do in prison?

Conjugating a verb simply means applying the correct form of a verb to the subject of a sentence. It's not difficult, but it's one more way that English speakers can often be confused when learning a new language.

Very conjugation in English simply means adding an "s" to the end of verbs in the third-person: I go, you go, we go, he goes; I eat, you eat, we eat, they eat, she eats. This makes speaking English easier, but one could argue that it makes understanding English harder.

Verb conjugation in Italian


Italian verbs are divided into three categories based on their endings: -are is the first conjugation, -ere is the second conjugation, and -ire is the third conjugation.

First conjugation verbs drop the -are ending and add the corresponding ending based on the subject as follows:





























  ending
io -o
tu -i
lui/lei -a
noi -iamo
voi -ate
-loro -ano

All standing first conjugation verb will use these endings. Granted, they may not match identically every time, due to other grammatical rules such as adding the h to retain the hard consonant sound of a c or g (as we learned when studying the alphabet), or other grammatical rules we haven't discovered yet, which require consonant-doubling.

The process works similarly for the second conjugation, except for the third person singular and second person plural. The -ere ending is dropped and the following are added:





























  ending
io -o
tu -i
lui/lei -e
noi -iamo
voi -ete
loro -ono

And the third conjugation also changes for the third person singular and second person plural. The -ire ending is dropped, and the following are added:





























  ending
io -o
tu -i
lui/lei -e
noi -iamo
voi -ite
loro -ono

That's not that hard to remember or understand! Don't make it too hard for yourself. Just six endings, which change in minor ways for different verbs. In fact, the -ere and -ire verbs are almost identical, except for their treatment of the second person plural.

Yes, many conjugated verbs won't look exactly like this, due to other grammatical rules, and we're going to look for and find those rules. But for now, rest confident in the fact that even when you don't know the spelling rule and end up with a slightly incorrect conjugation, any native speaker will know what you were trying to do. You will be corrected, but that will mean you were understood!

Learning something other than Italian?


I easily found these rules by searching for Italian verb conjugation on Google, and you can find the endings for your language in the same way. I also found an online conjugator, though I already have access to a good one at WordReference.com.

Just look for the pattern — there's always a pattern — and learn that. For now, don't worry about getting all the exceptions or details. Those things will come to you naturally as you learn. For now, just get used to the common endings.

 

 

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