Subject pronouns
• As in English, Italian subject pronouns are divided
into three groups of singular and plural forms: first
person, second person, and third person.
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• The English you has multiple equivalents in Italian. When addressing one
person, choose either tu or Lei, depending on the degree of formality
Paolo, tu parli bene.
Paolo, you speak well.
Signor Bruno, Lei parla molto bene.
Mr. Bruno, you speak very well.
• Use voi to address a group of people in both formal and informal settings.
The formal second-person plural form Loro is seldom used, and is
presented here for recognition only.
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The verb essere
• Essere (To be) is an irregular verb because its conjugation
(the set of forms for the different subjects) does not
follow a pattern. The basic form essere is an infinitive,
meaning it does not correspond to any particular subject.
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• Rising intonation at the end of a sentence transforms a
statement into a yes-or-no question. To reply in the
negative, place non (not) directly before the verb. Use no
only as a negative response, equivalent to no in English.
È un dizionario?
Is it a dictionary?
No, non è un dizionario.
No, it’s not a dictionary.
• Note the differences in meaning in these statements.
È un esame.
It is an exam.
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Learning, Inc.
C’è un esame.
There is an exam.
Ecco un esame!
Here is an exam!