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!