Vocabulary (Review)

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Lesson Transcript


Hi everybody! Marika here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Italian questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: How do reflexive verbs work?
Reflexive verbs are one of those elements that don't really have an English counterpart.
A verb in Italian is reflexive when the subject carries out the action on itself. Please note that not all verbs can be reflexive.
The infinitive form of a reflexive verb is made by dropping the infinitive ending -e from -are, -ere, and -ire and adding the pronoun -si. For example:
Svegliare - svegliarsi (“to wake up”)
Reflexive verbs, when conjugated, are preceded by a reflexive pronoun that complies with the subject.
Let’s see an example.
Vestire (“to dress”) VS vestirsi, reflexive form (“to get dressed”)
Maria veste il manichino. VS Maria si veste.
In the first example, the object of the verb vestire is the mannequin, while in the second sentence, the object is Maria herself (subject and object coincide).
The reflexive pronoun -si is conjugated as follows:
Io mi vesto (“I get dressed”)
Tu ti vesti (“You get dressed”)
Lei si veste (“She gets dressed”)
Noi ci vestiamo (“We get dressed”)
Voi vi vestite (“You get dressed”)
Loro si vestono (“They get dressed”)
In compound tenses, reflexive verbs have essere (“to be”) as auxiliary verb, so we always form the passato prossimo of the reflexive verbs with essere. Let’s see some examples:
Maria si è vestita. (“Maria has got dressed.”)
Ci siamo svegliati. (“We have woken up.”)
We can also use reflexive verbs as reciprocal verbs. The subject is always plural. The reciprocity of the action that the verb expresses often translates in English as "each other." For example:
Noi ci amiamo. (“We love each other.”)
Loro si salutano. (“They say hello to each other.”)


It’s easier than you thought, right?
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
A presto! “See you soon!”