Italian verbs are largely inflected and generally follow three systems of conjugation, though there are some exceptions. These conjugation patterns are used to establish grammatical context and function in each verb. The conjugation pattern that is selected for each verb is affected by:
• Gender, in specific situations
The three conjugation systems are (as related to the end of the verb root):
This form is used in Italian to define events that are currently happening or are habitual actions. It is also used for the current state of being as well as definable conditions.
The Present Progressive
This form is used to discuss actions that are still in the process of occurring rather than just actions that are in the present time frame.
The Present Perfect
This form is actually a form of the past tense which describes actions that have only recently been completed. Within this form are transitive verbs that are constructed using the auxiliary verb for “to have” in its present tense form with the past participle of the transitive verb. There are also intransitive verbs that are formed with the auxiliary verb for “to be” in its present tense form with the past participle of the intransitive verb. In this case the intransitive verb must agree with the number and gender following the same pattern as the applicable adjectives and nouns.
This form is used for actions that were repeated or were habitual actions in the past. This includes ongoing actions and those that were interrupted in the past. The imperfect is also used to describe age, weather, and time from the past and states of being or condition that existed in the past.
The Past Absolute
This form is used to discuss events that were completed a long time ago.
The Imperfect Progressive
This form illustrates events that were at one time in the progress of happening, such as in the context of a narrative.
This form describes activities that were performed prior to the completion of another activity. There are also transitive and intransitive verbs within this category. Transitive verbs use the auxiliary verb “to have” in its imperfect form and the past participle of the transitive verb, while the intransitive verb uses the auxiliary verb “to be” in its imperfect form with the past participle of the intransitive verb.
This form is used when discussing events that are intended to occur in the future.
The Future Perfect
This form illustrates events that will happen when something else is happening, or after something else is happening in the future.
This form is used for events that are dependent upon the occurrence of another event or when requesting something.
The Past Conditional
This form discusses events that should, could, or would have happened.