Three Irregular Verbs with Stem Changes

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 13:37
Three Irregular Verbs with Stem Changes

There are many irregular verbs to learn when studying Italian. We have all struggled with them at some points! It can help to find patterns or similarities among groups of irregular verbs. For example, grouping irregular verbs according to their -are, -ere, or -ire ending. Or learning all the modal or helper verbs together.  We’ve looked at some irregular verbs already, like bere (to drink), dire (to say) and uscire (to leave).

This week we’re going to look at another grouping of irregular verbs – ones that have changes in the stem. The endings are regular but the verb is irregular thanks to changes at the beginning of some of the verb forms.  The io and loro stem changes are often similar. The noi and voi parts of the verb often don’t have any changes in their stem.


Let’s start with the verb ‘sedere’ which means ‘to sit’. 



Io siedo – I sit

Tu siedi – You sit

Lei/lei siede – he/she sits

Noi sediamo – We sit

Voi sedete – You (pl) sit

Loro siedono – They sit


As you can see, the noi and voi parts do not have any changes whereas the rest of the verb has a change in the beginning of the verb. Here are some example sentences:


Siedono sempre vicino al banco – They always sit near the bar

Siedi un po’ con me? – Will you sit with me a little?

Noi sediamo alla scrivania tutto il giorno – We sit at the desk all day

Chi siede qui? – Who sits here?


The next verb we’ll look at has more changes in the stem throughout the verb, it’s ‘morire’: to die.



Io muoio – I die

Tu muori – You die

Lui/lei muore – He/she dies

Noi moriamo – we die

Voi morite – You (pl) die

Loro muoiono – They die 


It has both literal and figurative meanings, such as:


Lui muore in mare – He dies in the sea

Muoio di fame – I’m so hungry

Moriamo di sonno – We’re dead tired

Morite di paura! – You’re scared to death!


The third verb is ‘apparire’, which means to appear or to emerge.



Io appaio – I appear

Tu appari – You appear

Lui/lei appare – He/she appears

Noi appariamo – We appear

Voi apparite – You (pl) appear

Loro appaiono – They appear


Appari scontento della notizia – You seem disappointed by the news

A settembre appaiono le pere al mercato – In September the pears show up at the market

Voi apparite sempre nei miei sogni – You always appear in my dreams

I primi sintomi della malattia appaiono – The first symptoms of the illness are appearing


It’s worth learning these verbs, reciting them until they’re easy to remember. Irregular present tense verbs can be tricky but learning them sets a good base for your Italian as you progress to other tenses. The other tenses have irregular verbs too!