MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

557 views

In the perfect tense, when should I use Avere and when should I use Essere?

Avere and Essere are both auxiliary verbs. In other words they are the 'helper verbs' which have to be there in order to form compound tenses.

So, if we take the perfect tense then, just to recap, we need to remember that there are 2 separate parts:

1) The auxiliary- Avere or Essere (such as 'ho', 'sono stato' )

2) The past participle - 'mangiato' or 'andata' for instance.

In simple terms, Avere (to have) is used for:

1) All transitive verbs- these are verbs that always take a grammatical direct object- in other words we can ask the questions, what? or who? after them.

For example: ho mangiato due pizze, ha già studiato la lezione.

2) But sadly there are some exceptions so some Intransitive verbs also take Avere. Some common examples are:

CAMMINARE (to walk), PASSEGGIARE (to stroll), VIAGGIARE (to travel), NUOTARE (to swim), BALLARE (to dance), DORMIRE (to sleep).

eg: Ho dormito molto ieri.

Essere is used for: Intransitive verbs - those that don't take a direct object, and can't give an answer to who? what? Also, rememeber: The past participles have to AGREE.

So these are:

1) All verbs of movement (I like to remember this by thinking that Essere has two 's's and well, if we imagine a stick man, these could look like a runner!) Eg: sono partito presto

2) Verbs that show a change of state. For instance: sono cresciuto(-a) (remember that when we use Essere, all the past participles must agree with the person who is doing the action. So here, -o is the singular masculine ending and -a is the singular feminine one.)

3) Reflexive verbs also use Essere. For instance, we could say: ci siamo alzati/e alle 7, (again here the -i/-e, this is for agreements- the -i is the plural masculine ending and the -e is the plural feminine ending).

There are a few odd cases though, and either can be used depending on the meaning

These are:

1) The Weather: can use either

2) Cominciare: - in the sense of a state or to describe when something started = Essere. Eg: Il programma è gia cominciato. In the Iniziare sense- the actual act of starting, use Avere. Eg: Ho cominciato un nuovo libro.

3)Finire: - in the sense of a state or to describe when something finished= Essere. Eg: A che ora è finita la lezione? But, if the verb shows an act of finishing and in the majority of cases is followed by a 'di', use Avere. Eg: Ho appena finito di leggere il libro.

4) Correre: - if a specific destination is mentioned use Essere. Eg: Sono corso alla stazione. For anything else, use Avere.

5) Cambiare:- to describe a state use Essere: La vita è cambiata molto per i giovani. But to describe an act of changing use Avere: Ha cambiato la macchina- He physically changed his car.

6) Salire/ Scendere: For the descriptive sense, or to describe a state, use Essere: Sono salita sull'autobus. For the act, use Avere: Ho salito le scale a piedi.

7) Aumentare/ Diminuire: For the state, or a description use Essere: I prezzi sono molto aumenti. For the acts, use Avere: Il governo ha aumentato le tasse. The government are actually rising the....

One other thing to be aware of: Modal verbs- Dovere, Volere and Potere- these use the auxiliary that the following verb needs. Perhaps we can imagine it this way, modal verbs are 'super helper verbs' and even use the 'helper verb' that the verb they are helping needs. So, for instance:

- Ho dovuto mangiare una pizza- mangiare is a transitive verb and needs Avere, so Dovere takes avere too

To sum up: If a verb is transitive it takes Avere, if a verb is intransitive it takes Essere.

There are a few exceptions where both are possible- with finire, cominciare, correre, cambiare, salire, scendere, aumentare, diminuare- if the verb is indicating more of a state, use Essere, more of an action, use Avere.

Charlotte S. GCSE Biology tutor, GCSE French tutor, A Level French tu...

1 year ago

Answered by Charlotte, a GCSE Italian tutor with MyTutor


Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

34 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£20 /hr

Elizabeth M.

Degree: Ancient and Modern History (Bachelors) - Oxford, Brasenose College University

Subjects offered:Italian, Maths+ 6 more

Italian
Maths
Latin
History
German
.HAT.
-Personal Statements-
-Oxbridge Preparation-

“History student with a relaxed and friendly teaching style, giving students the best possible understanding of, and confidence in, their subjects”

£20 /hr

Krisztian B.

Degree: Law (Masters) - Bristol University

Subjects offered:Italian, Maths+ 3 more

Italian
Maths
Mandarin
Law
Government and Politics

“Tutor from the University of Bristol studying in the school of law with a wide international background. Being bilingual in Italian and Hungarian and having studied 2 years in China my main focus is on tutoring languages.”

£18 /hr

Valentina G.

Degree: Biology (Masters) - York University

Subjects offered:Italian, Biology

Italian
Biology

“Studying Biology is extremely interesting but also challenging, that is why I want to help to allow students to look past challenging and focus on interesting!”

MyTutor guarantee

About the author

Charlotte S.

Currently unavailable: for regular students

Degree: Modern Languages with a Year Abroad (French and Italian) (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered:Italian, Maths+ 4 more

Italian
Maths
French
Extended Project Qualification
Biology
.MLAT (Modern Languages)
-Personal Statements-

“I'm a modern languages student studying French and Italian at Durham University . I have ahuge passion for languages and absolutely love anything French or Italian related- from road signs to medieval French literature; I am mesmerised ...”

You may also like...

Posts by Charlotte

In the perfect tense, when should I use Avere and when should I use Essere?

What are possessive adjectives in Italian and how to I use them?

What is the passive in French and how does it work?

Other GCSE Italian questions

Why do you say 'penso che sia...?'

Present Indicative Tense (Presente Indicativo): regular verbs of the three conjugations (-are, -ere, -ire and verbs in -isc-)

What is the difference between the passato prossimo, the passato remoto and the imperfetto?

How do I phrase questions in Italian?

View GCSE Italian tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok