Regular and Irregular Italian Verbs Ending in ‘-ire’

Thu, 07/22/2021 - 05:45

In our previous articles, we’ve learned how to conjugate Italian verbs ending in –are and ending in –ere, and have reviewed their regular and irregular forms. This time we’re going to look at the verbs with an infinitive ending in –ire and their conjugation. 

Regular -ire Verbs

Let’s take two Italian verbs like “partire” and “finire”. Though these verbs are both regular, their conjugation patterns are not the same. Let’s see the differences:

Partire [par-tee-reh] – to depart, to leave 

We take off the –ire ending and add:

(io) part-o I leave/am leaving
(tu) part-i  you leave/are leaving
(lei/lui/Lei) part-e  she/he leaves/is leaving
  you (formal) leave/are leaving
(noi) part-iamo We leave/are leaving
(voi) part-ite you leave/are leaving
(loro) part-ono they leave/are leaving


The stress is on the first syllable in the first three persons of the verb. It is on the “a” of the ending in the “noi” form, the “i” of the ending in the “voi” form, and the first syllable in the “loro” form.

Venerdì prossimo parto per la Sicilia. – Next Friday I’m leaving for Sicily.

A che ora partite domani? – What time are you leaving tomorrow?

Now, we do the same with the verbs dormire [dor-mee-reh] (to sleep) and aprire [ap-ree-reh] (to open).

(io) dormo I sleep   
(tu) dormi you sleep  
(lei/lui/Lei) dorme she/he sleeps
  you (formal) sleep
(noi) dormiamo we sleep
(voi) dormite you sleep 
(loro) dormono they sleep 


(io) apro I open   
(tu) apr you open  
(lei/lui/Lei) apre she/he opens
  you (formal) open 
(noi) dormiamo we open
(voi) dormite you open
(loro) dormono they open 


Gli telefono dopo, a quest’ora dormono. – I’ll call them later, they’re sleeping now.

Ultimamente non dormo bene. – I don’t sleep well lately.

Fa caldo! Apriamo la finestra? – It’s so hot! Let’s open the window.

There is a second set of –ire verbs like finire (to finish), capire (to understand), preferire (to prefer) that take the following endings: 

- isco

- isci

- isce

- iamo

- ite

- iscono

Do you remember the pronunciation of these particular combinations of letters? In the first and the last case, the “c” is pronounced like [k]; in the second and in the third case, it sounds like [sh].

Finire [fee-nee-reh] – to finish

(io) finisco – I finish   I finish  
(tu) finisci – you finish you finish
(lei/lui/Lei) finisce she/he finishes  
  you (formal) finish   
(noi) finiamo   we finish
(voi) finite you finish 
(loro) finiscono   they finish 


Capire [ka-pee-reh] – to understand 

(io) capisco I understand
(tu) capisci you understand
(lei/lui/Lei) capisce she/he understands
  you (formal) understand
(noi) capiamo we understand
(voi) capite you understand
(loro) capiscono they understand


Quando finisci di lavorare? – When do you get off work?

Il film finisce alle 10 di sera. – The movie finishes at 10 o’clock in the evening.

Mi scusi, non capisco l’italiano. – Sorry, but I don’t understand Italian.

Mi capite? – Do you understand me?

How do you know which set of endings a verb takes? A good dictionary should give you an indication if the verb works like partire or like finire. Otherwise, as with everything else, you learn as you go along!

Irregular –ire Verbs

Just like with the Italian verbs that end in –are and –ere, the -ire verbs can be irregular. As we already know, irregular verbs don’t follow the same rules of conjugation and have to be learned by heart. Luckily, there aren’t many of them. Let’s see how to conjugate some of the most frequently used irregular verbs ending in -ire:

 Venire [ve-nee-reh] – to come    

(io) vengo  I come/am coming
(tu) vieni  you come/are coming
(lei/lui/Lei) viene  he/she comes/is coming
  you (formal) come/are coming      
(noi) veniamo we come/are coming
(voi) venite you come/are coming
(loro) vengono they come/are coming

Vengo spesso qui quando voglio rilassarmi. – I often come here when I want to relax.

I tuoi amici vengono con noi al lago? – Are your friends coming with us to the lake?

(io) esco I go out
(tu) esci  you go out 
(lei/lui/Lei) esce – she/he goes out  she/he goes out 
  you (formal) go out
(noi) usciamo  we go out
(voi) uscite  you go out
(loro) escono  they go out


Salire [sa-lee-reh] – to climb, to go up

 (io) salgo I go up
(tu) sali  you go up
(lei/lui/Lei) sale she/he goes up
  you (formal) go up
(noi) saliamo  we go up
(voi) salite  you go up
(loro) salgono  they go up


Usciamo stasera? – Should we go out tonight?

Ho freddo. Salgo a prendere la giacca. – I’m cold. I’m going upstairs to get a jacket.

Practice Your -ire Verbs

Now see if you can insert the verb correctly in these sentences. We have indicated the “–isco” type of verbs that work like finire.


Ma [io] non [capire]! [like finire] capisco
Giorgio [partire] alle tre. parte
Oggi loro [pulire] la casa. [like finire.] Puliscono
Mario [offrire] un caffè a Maria. Offre
Tu [seguire] il calcio. Segui
Quando [finire] la lezione? Finisce
Cosa fanno i ragazzi? [Dormire]. Dormono
[Noi] [aprire] la finestra. Apriamo
Voi [capire]l'italiano? [like finire.] Capite
Claudia [uscire] con Alessio stasera. Esce


There’s no reason to fear Italian verbs ending in – ire! It may seem like a lot of work to get the hang of them at the beginning, but if you practice, their conjugation gradually becomes automatic. In moments of doubt, you can always look up the verb in a dictionary or ask an Italian about the correct conjugation. 

Keep reading our weekly language articles to learn more about Italian grammar and how to apply it in everyday situations!

(Note: This article was originally written for Italy Magazine by Pat Eggleton on July 5th 2010. It has been updated and expanded.)


This language article is curated by the expert instructors from L'Italiano Porticando Italian language and culture school located in the heart of historic Turin. Accredited by the ASILS (Association of Schools Teaching Italian as a Second Language), L'Italiano Porticando offers individual and group lessons, themed courses, and cultural classes on everything from Italian cinema to Turin’s famed chocolate.