The Italian present tense is pretty simple and one of the best things to master first with your grammar.
This is because it expresses things like: I am going to the store, I want to listen to music, or I like your face.
Like right now – in this moment – I like your face.
Looooophole: There is a tense that expresses what is happening in that exact moment, and it’s called the gerund, which I prefer to call ‘this is so awesome because it’s all happening RIGHT NOW’ tense, but that’s for another day.
Ready? Here we go.
There are three kinds of verbs in Italian.
Verbs that end in -are, -ere, and -ire.
The verbs that end in -are go like this.
Cantare – to sing
Verbs that end in -ire go like this:
Sentire – to hear, to feel, to smell
Verbs that end in -ere go like this:
Credere – to believe, to think
— Parliamo di Giulia. – We’re talking about Giulia. (verb = parlare – to speak)
— Preferisci mangiare il pesce o la carne? – Do you prefer to eat fish or meat? (verb = preferire – to prefer)
— Lo senti quel profumo? È meraviglioso! – Do you smell that scent? It’s amazing! (verb = sentire – to hear, to feel, to smell)
— Studio l’italiano ogni giorno. – I study Italian every day. (verb = studiare – to study)
— Lavoro sette giorni su sette. – I work seven days a week. (verb = lavorare – to work)
— Scrivo un messaggio a mia sorella. – I’m writing a message to my sister. (verb = scrivere – to write)
Now. That’s all you need to know ever to express yourself in the present tense.
Ha. That’s a lie. There’s always more.
But I thought that maybe it would be nice to let you think that you were done, sort of.
Before I make you sad again, I’ll give you a little tip as a gift.
Did you notice a pattern in the previous verb conjugations? Take a look at the first one and the last one.
TIP: They’re basically just adding -ano and -ono to the last one. So if you ever forget either of them, remember that little tip to keep you from looking dumbstruck too often during conversation with fluent Italian speakers.
There are these pesky little, but still really cool, verbs called irregular verbs.
And despite what the popular masses and the propagandists might say, they are not our enemy.
I mean, once you start learning all about them, starting here first, you might think so. But I like to think of them as verbs with a whole lotta’ diversity and character. Like verbs that refuse to conform. They’re rebels!
And rebels are cool.
Rebels change the world.
And while these verbs might not be changing the world anytime soon, they’re still really cool, and we should treat them as such.
Have questions on how to use this tense? Let me know below!