Piacere means ‘to like’ in English but a more literal translation would be ‘to be pleasing’. In English we say ‘I like Italian’ but in Italian we would say ‘Italian is pleasing to me’ - Mi piace l’italiano.

 

Piacere is commonly used in two forms: piacein the singular and piacciono in the plural. For example:

 

Mi piace il gelato - I like ice cream (literally ice cream is pleasing to me)

Mi piacciono le carote - I like carrots (literally carrots are pleasing to me)

 

The singular form is used for infinitive verbs:

 

Mi piace cantare - I like singing (singing is pleasing to me)

Mi piace dormire - I like sleeping (sleeping is pleasing to me)

 

If you would like to talk about someone else liking something, you can add‘a’ before their name:

 

A Marco piacciono i biscotto - Marco likes biscuits

A mio zio piace cucinare - My uncle likes cooking (cooking is pleasing to my uncle)

Agli studenti piace uscire - Students like going out (going out is pleasing to students)

 

The pronouns to use after ‘a’are:

Me (me)

Te (you)

Lui (him) 

Lei (her, you formal)

Noi (us)

Voi (you plural)

Loro (them)

 

A lui piacciono i film - He likes films (films are pleasing to him)

A noi piace andare in bicicletta - We like going for a bike ride (going for a bike ride is pleasing to us)

 

You can also the following pronouns before the verb to explain who is doing the liking. For these ones you do not use ‘a’:

 

Mi (to me)

Ti (to you)

Gli (to him)

Le (to her, to you formal)

Ci (to us)

Vi (to you plural)

Gli (to them)

 

Ti piace studiare? Do you like studying? (is studying pleasing to you?)

Ci piacciono gli italiani - We like Italians (Italians are pleasing to us)

 

To make a negative, you add ‘non’ before the pronoun:

 

Non mi piace la pizza - I don’t like pizza (pizza isn’t pleasing to me)

Non mi piacciono i funghi - I don’t like mushrooms (mushrooms aren’t pleasing to me)

 

However, if you are using the sentence structure with ‘a’, the ‘non’goes before the piacere:

 

A Sofia non piace la televisione - Sofia doesn’t like the television (the television isn’t pleasing to Sofia)

A noi non piace andare in aereo - We don’t like going by plane (going by plane isn’t pleasing to us)

 

 

In the past tense, you use essere with piacereand it needs to agree in gender and number. In the singular the endings are -o for masculine and -a for feminine:

 

Mi è piaciuta la caramella - I liked the sweet (the sweet was pleasing to me)

Mi è piaciuto il vestito - I liked the dress (the dress was pleasing to me)

 

In the plural the endings are -i for masculine and -e for feminine:

 

Mi sono piaciute le caramelle - I liked the sweets (the sweets were pleasing to me)

Mi sono piaciuti i vestiti - I liked the dresses (the dresses were pleasing to me)

 

Piacere can also be conjugated like other Italian verbs:

Piaccio

Piaci 

Piace

Piacciamo

Piacete

Piacciono

 

Mi piaci - I like you (you are pleasing to me)

Ti piaccio - Do you like me? (am I pleasing to you?)

A Marina piacciamo - Marina likes us (we are pleasing to Marina)

Al cane non piacciono i gatti - The dog doesn’t like cats (the cats are not pleasing to the dog)

 

Don’t forget piacere also means ‘nice to meet you’. Here are a couple of expressions using piacere:

A piacere - of your choosing, as you like

Il piacere è tutto mio - my pleasure / the pleasure is mine

 

 

There are some other verbs to be aware of that have a similar construction to piacere:

bastare - to be sufficient, to suffice

dispiacere - to displease, to upset

mancare - to be lacking, to miss

occorrere - to require, to need

servire - to serve, to be of use

 

Here is an exercise to practise what you have learnt. Turn the following into present tense sentences with the correct form of piacere:

 

Andrea / fare le fotografie __________________________________________

(io) / le zucchine __________________________________________

(voi) / il libro __________________________________________

loro / le ragazze __________________________________________

lui / disegnare __________________________________________

Le / bere il vino __________________________________________

Ti / mangiare la pasta __________________________________________

Mi / il pane __________________________________________

A Patrizia / molto la torta __________________________________________