Italian Infinitive Mode
Modo Infinito | (Infinitive Mode)
The infinitive mode has both a present form (infinito presente) and a past form (infinito passato). The interesting characteristic of this mode, similarly to the gerundio, is that it never changes form.
|Present Tense||Past Tense|
(to have spoken)
- Ho voglia di parlare con qualcuno – (I want to speak to someone)
- Dopo avere parlato per ore, ci siamo salutati – (After having spoken for hours, we said goodbye)
Presente | (Present Tense)The infinitive present tense has three main endings: -are, -ere, -ire. Based on these endings we are able to divide all Italian verbs into three classes:
- Verbs ending with –are – (mangiare -> to eat)
- Verbs ending with –ere – (leggere – to read)
- Verbs ending with -ire – (partire -> to sleep)
- Mi piace mangiare la pizza – (I like to eat pizza)
- Luca non vuole leggere il libro – (Luca does not want to read the book)
- Dobbiamo partire domani – (We need to leave tomorrow)
The present infinitive can also be used in the following instances:
- It can be used as a noun:
- Dormire bene è importante – (It is important to sleep well)
- It can be used to give an order or directions instead of the imperative mode:
- Accendere il forno a 180 gradi – (Turn on the oven to 180 degrees)
- It can be used with another verb in a dependent clause to indicate that the action of the dependent clause is happening at the same time or shortly after to the action of the main clause:
- Vorrei andare in Italia per imparare l’italiano – (I’d like to go to Italy to learn Italian)
- It can be coupled with pronouns by dropping its last vowel:
- Mi devo lavare le mani -> Devo lavarmi le mani – (I need to wash my hands)
The past infinitive of transitive verbs is formed with the infinitive of avere + the past participle of the verb.
|Aver(e) mangiato||Aver(e) letto||Aver(e) dormito|
- Aver mangiato tutti quei dolci mi ha fatto stare male – (Having eaten all those sweets made feel sick)
- Non posso credere di avere letto tutto il libro – (I can’t believe I have read the entire book)
- Devo aver dormito per un bel po’ – (I must have slept for a while)
The past infinitive of intransitive verbs is formed with the infinitive of essere + the past participle of the verb.
|Essere andato||Essere piaciuto||Essere partito|
- Essere andato al mare mi ha fatto sentire meglio – (Having gone to the beach made me feel better)
- Ti deve essere piaciuto molto quel libro – (You must have liked that book a lot)
- Mario non può essere partito – (Mario can’t have left)
- Mi sarebbe piaciuto essere andato a trovare la nonna - (I would have liked to go see grandma)
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