4 Ways to Form Compound Verb Tenses in Italian

Of the fourteen verb tenses in Italian, four are compound. A compound verb tense means that more than one verb is involved: You form them with a helping verb (essere, to be, or avere, to have), which is conjugated, and the past participle of another verb (mangiato, eaten; stato, was; dormito, slept).

You translate Italian compound tenses according to the tense of the helping verb.

Form the present perfect tense in Italian

To form the present perfect tense in Italian, conjugate essere or avere in the present indicative tense and add a past participle. Notice that when you use essere, the ending of the past participle changes to show number and gender (singular, plural, masculine, feminine) of the subject.

Essere (present tense) + past participle = present perfect

  • Tu sei + venuto = You came (venuto is masculine and singular)

  • Loro sono + venuti = They came (venuti is masculine and plural)

  • Avere (present tense) + past participle = present perfect

  • Riccardo ha + trovato = Riccardo found, has found

Form the pluperfect tense in Italian

To form the pluperfect tense in Italian, conjugate essere or avere in the imperfect indicative tense and add a past participle.

  • Essere (imperfect) + past participle = pluperfect

  • Laura era + arrivata = Laura had arrived

  • Avere (imperfect) + past participle = pluperfect

  • Voi avevate + mangiato = You all ate

Form the future past tense in Italian

To form what is called the future past tense in Italian: Conjugate essere or avere in the future indicative tense and add a past participle.

  • Essere (future) + past participle = future past

  • Noi saremo + partiti = We will have left

  • Avere (future) + past participle = future past

  • Gli studenti avranno + letto = The students will have read

Form the conditional past tense in Italian

To form the conditional past tense in Italian: Conjugate essere or avere in the conditional mood and add a past participle.

  • Essere (conditional) + past particple = conditional past

  • Io sarei + andato = I would have gone

  • Avere (conditional) + past participle = conditional past

  • Io avrei + cercato = I would have looked for

blog comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement

Inside Dummies.com

Dummies.com Sweepstakes

Win $500. Easy.