There are so many irregular Italian verbs, it can sometimes feel like you’ll never learn them all. But don’t worry, it really is possible!
There are many tips and tricks to getting the hang of irregular verbs. It depends how best you learn but some of my students write them down again and again until they start to remember them. Others prefer to learn them orally, reciting them in the car on the way to work for example. It’s best to start with the most frequently used ones, making sure you get those right first.
Another trick is to learn them in groups. Whenever you come across an irregular verb, try to see how it is similar to other verbs. This can help you remember them in groups, rather than trying to recall each one individually.
One small collection of irregular present tense verbs all end in -gliere. The most common verb in this group is scegliere – to choose, to select. Here are some example sentences:
Scelgo sempre un albergo con un bel panorama– I always choose a hotel with a beautiful view
Scegli tu tra pizza e pasta! – You choose between pizza or pasta!
Scegliamo di andare in vacanza in montagna quest’estate – We are choosing to go on holiday in the mountains this summer
Gli sposi scelgono la chiesa perfetta per il matrimonio – The bride and groom choose the perfect church for their wedding
Devi scegliere il momento giusto per dirglielo – You have to choose the right moment to tell him
This verb is irregular in the first person (io) and third person plural (loro), where the letters ‘gl’ change to ‘lg’. Let’s look at this in more detail:
Scegliere – to choose
Io scelgo – I choose
Tu scegli – You choose
Lui / lei sceglie – He / she chooses
Noi scegliamo – We choose
Voi scegliete – You (pl) choose
Loro scelgono – They choose
Another verb that follow this exact same pattern is:
Togliere – to take off, to remove
Io tolgo – I take off
Tu togli – You take off
Lui / lei toglie – He / she takes off
Noi togliamo – We take off
Voi togliete – You (pl) take off
Loro tolgono – They take off
Io tolgo il cappotto – I take my coat off
Tolgono le scarpe in casa – They take their shoes off in the house
The third verb in this group is:
Cogliere – to pick, to gather
Io colgo – I pick
Tu cogli – You pick
Lui / lei coglie – He / she picks
Noi cogliamo – We pick
Voi cogliete – You (pl) pick
Loro colgono – They pick
La bimba coglie il fiore – The child picks the flower
Cogliamo la frutta nell’orto – Let’s pick fruit in the garden
Once you can see the similarities between these verbs, you can learn three irregular verbs in one hit. Go on, you can do it!