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How do you use the Passato Prossimo?

The ‘passato prossimo’ tense is the ‘near past’ and the most frequently used past tense in the Italian language, especially used in conversation.

The passato prossimo is formed with the auxiliary ‘To be’ or ‘To have’ + the past participle.

ESSERE(TO BE)

Io sono

Tu sei

Lui/Lei è

Noi siamo

Voi siete

Loro sono

AVERE (TO HAVE)

Io ho

Tu hai

Lui/Lei ha

Noi abbiamo

Voi avete

Loro hanno

When to use ESSERE and when to use AVERE

Most verbs in the passato prossimo use the auxiliary AVERE e.g. Carla ha cantato una canzone (Carla sang a song)

The auxiliary ESSERE is used with:

-Reflexive verbs

-Verbs of movement

- Verbs of changing state

e.g. Io sono andato a scuola (I went to school)

Elena si è lavata (Elena washed herself)

NB When using the auxiliary TO BE we always AGREE the verb with the gender

Mario è andato a scuola

Maria è andata a scuola

PARTICIPIO PASSATO (Past Participle)

With verbs ending in –ARE, take off the ‘ARE’ and add –ATO e.g. CANTARE= CANTATO

With verbs ending in –ERE take off the ‘ERE’ and add –UTO e.g. AVERE=AVUTO

With verbs ending in –IRE take off the ‘IRE’ and add –ITO e.g. SALIRE=SALITO

As always, there are some irregular past participles. Here are some examples:

VENIRE= VENUTO

ESSERE= STATO/A

FARE=FATTO

DIRE=DETTO

VEDERE=VISTO

Sian W. GCSE Italian tutor, A Level Italian tutor, GCSE Spanish tutor

3 months ago

Answered by Sian, a GCSE Italian tutor with MyTutor

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