Reflexive Verbs in the Passato Prossimo

To conjugate a reflexive verb in the past tense (passato prossimo) we need:



1. a subject

The subjects in Italian are:
io = I
tu = you (informal) 
lui = he
lei = she
Lei = you (formal)
noi = we
voi = you (plural)
loro = they
Loro = You (plural and formal)

2. a matching reflexive pronoun (each subject has its own matching pronoun)

The subjects with their matching pronouns are
io - mi
tu - ti
lui - si
lei - si
Lei - si
noi - ci
voi - vi
loro - si
Loro - si

3. a form of the verb "essere"

Essere
Io sono = I am
Tu sei = you (informal) are
Lui/Lei è = he/she is
Noi siamo = we are
Loro sono = they are

4. the past participle of the verb

Here is how to form a past particple
To form a past partciple, start from the infinitve form of the verb. Infinitives end in either "are" "ere" or "ire" 

If the infinitive ends in "are" then you cut off the "are" and add the letters "ato" parlare ---> parl ---> parlato = spoken

If the infinitive ends in "ere" then you cut off the "ere" and add the letters "uto" vedere ---> ved ---> veduto = seen

If the infinitive ends in "ire" then you cut off the "ire" and add the letters "ito" finire ---> fin ---> finito = finished

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Let's say we wanted to translate this sentence: They woke up. The verb to wake up in Italian is svegliarsi

1. Find your subject. The subject is They or Loro in Italian. (see 
above chart)

2. Match the subejct with its special reflexive pronoun...Loro always matches 
with si (see above chart)

3. Now we must find the proper form of "essere" to match the subject Loro...the "Loro" form of essere is sono (see above chart)

4. now get your past particple: svegilarsi ---> svegli ---> svegliato

5. remember though that when using "essere" in the past tense we must 
make the past particple agree in number and gender with the subejct. 
Since my subject (Loro) is masculine and plural, I must change svegliato 
to svegliati

6. Now put the 4 bold words together:

Loro si sono svegliati. = They woke up

Note: if the subject is masculine and singular then the past particple ends in "o". (svegliato) If the subject is feminine and singular then the past participle ends in "a" (svegliata) If the subject is masculine and plural then the past particple ends in "i' (svegliati) If the subject is feminine and plural then the past participle ends in "e" (svegliate.)

Now here are some common reflexive verbs in Italian:

Addormentarsi
To fall asleep or go to sleep

Alzarsi
To get up

Annoiarsi
To be bored

Asciugarsi
To dry off

Chiamarsi
To be called / named

Divertirsi
To enjoy oneself

Farsi la barba
To shave oneself (beard)

Farsi il bagno
To bathe oneself (take a bath)

Fermarsi
To stop

Lavarsi
To wash oneself

Leggere il giornale
To read the paper

Mettersi
To put on clothing

Mettersi a [+ inf]
To begin / start

Pettinarsi
To comb one's own hair


Preoccuparsi (di)
To worry (about)

Preparasi per [+ inf]
To prepare oneself for

Salutarsi
To greet each other (reciprocal reflexive)

Sentirsi
To feel

Svegliarsi
To wake up

Truccarsi
To put on makeup

Vestirsi
To get dressed

 

 

Article by Giacomo DePasquale

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