As part of my irregular present tense verb series, today we are going to look at a very common irregular present tense verb - ‘bere’ - which means ‘to drink’.

 

A verb is a doing or action word and we need to use them to speak Italian correctly. Here you can see three example sentences with the verb ‘bere’:

 

Io bevo una birra - I drink a beer

Tu bevi un succo di frutta - You drink a fruit juice

Noi beviamo un espresso - We drink an espresso

 

Italian verbs are grouped into three types, -are verbs, -ere verbs and -ire verbs. At Italy Magazine we have covered these regular present tense verbs so you can read all about them. Regular verbs follow a pattern. Irregular verbs, on the other hand, don’t follow one pattern. You just have to learn each irregular verb individually. You may already have done this with two very common irregular verbs – ‘essere’ (to be) and ‘avere’ – (to have). If you need a reminder, have a look here and here

 

I have also covered some other common irregular verbs if you’d like a recap: ‘fare’ (to do), ‘stare’ (to be) and ‘dare’ (to give).

 

So, returning the verb ‘bere’ (to drink) - see it in full below:

 

Io bevo - I drink

Tu bevi - You (singular) drink

Lui / lei beve - He / she drinks

Noi beviamo - We drink

Voi bevete - You (plural) drink

Loro bevono - They drink

 

As you can see, the endings are the same as regular -ere verbs. It’s the beginning of the word which is different, in grammar terms this is called the root.

 

Here are some sentences using the verb ‘bere’:

 

Io bevo un cappuccino ogni mattina - I drink a cappuccino every morning

Tu bevi troppo - You drink too much

Lui non beve mai - He never drinks

Lei beve molti caffè - She drinks lots of coffees

Noi beviamo spesso l’aranciata - We often drink fizzy orange

Voi bevete il digestivo dopo la cena - You drink a digestif after dinner

Loro bevono il vino rosso - They drink red wine

 

There are some fun Italian expressions using this irregular verb. They are idiomatic expressions, which means they can’t be translated word for word into English. You just translate the sense and learn them. You can then use them when speaking with Italians, as it brings colour and life to your language.

 

Bere come una spugna

Literal meaning: to drink like a sponge

Real meaning: to drink in excess. In English, it would be ‘to drink like a fish’.

 

O bere o affogare

Literal meaning: to drink or to drown

Real meaning: a choice between two difficult options. This could be translated in English as ‘to sink or swim’, or even ‘to like it or lump it’.

 

È facile come bere un bicchiere d’acqua 

Literal meaning: it’s as easy as drinking a glass of water

Real meaning: it’s extremely easy and simple. In English this would be ‘it’s a piece of cake’, ‘it’s as easy as pie’, or even ‘it’s plain sailing’.