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Avere: Italian grammar 2

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To practice this grammar topic, take Lesson 2 of Ripeti Con Me!

Table of Contents

Avere: whis is it so important?

Avere is the equivalent of the English verb to have and is used to indicate ownership or possession.

It translates to the obvious uses of ownership and possession (to have a sister or a cat, or a house, or a doubt, or a cold).

It can also translate in English to such things as to get, to have received (a package, say, or news) and to hold (a memory dear, for example).

In addition, it has a long list of daily uses beyond the obvious parallel ones in English: to be right or wrong, to be cold or scared.

It is also one of the two auxiliary verbs (the other one is essere – to be) in Italian.

This means that avere is also used to help conjugate transitive verbs in order to form compound tenses.

It means that avere enables the conjugation of all compound tenses of all transitive verbs (including itself).

Think of all verbs whose action has an object outside of the subject, like mangiare (to eat), baciare (to kiss), bere (to drink), vedere (to see), scrivere (to write), fare (to do), amare (to love).

However, transitive and intransitive verbs do not match exactly in English and Italian.

This makes avere is one of the most important verbs in the Italian language.

That’s why you should learn the conjugation of avere.

Italian verb avere: verb conjugation

In this post, you’ll learn the Italian grammar of avere with rules, sentences, examples, and links to practice.

Together with essere, avere is one of the two most common verbs in the Italian language. They are used in a wide variety of situations and serve as a grammatical aid in many situations.

In English, you’re hungry. In Italian, you have hunger.

Italian Verbs - AVERE and ESSERE in the PASSATO PROSSIMO

So, you need to learn the present tense of the verb avere (“To have”).

Present tense of avere

Here is the verb conjugation of the present tense of avere:

  • io ho
  • tu hai
  • lei / lui / Lei ha
  • noi abbiamo
  • voi avete
  • loro hanno

Avere is not regular in all tenses, therefore it does not have a fixed pattern nor does it have the same suffixes that are used for regular verbs.

A simple sentence with avere meaning “to have” in Italian:

  • io ho un gatto (I have a cat)
  • tu hai un gatto
  • lei / lui / Lei ha un gatto
  • noi abbiamo un gatto
  • voi avete un gatto
  • loro hanno un gatto

In Italian, you can actually leave out the personal pronoun in front, unless you really want it for emphasis or clarity. There’s enough information in the Italian verbs to understand the subject.

Learn more about Italian verb conjugation.

avere sentences

Past tense of avere (passato prossimo)

The most used past tense in Italian grammar is the passato prossimo.

How to conjugate the past tense of avere?

The present perfect tense of avere is formed by the present simple of the auxiliary verb avere (to have) + its past participle: avuto.

Passato prossimo of avere
io ho avuto I had / have had
tu hai avuto you had / have had
egli ha avuto he/she had / have had
noi abbiamo avuto we had / have had
voi avete avuto you had / have had
essi hanno avuto they had / have had
  • Ho avuto una giornata lunga.
    I had a long day.

Future tense of avere

The conjugation of the Italian future tense (futuro semplice) of avere corresponds to the English “will have” or “going to have”.

  • io avrò – I will have
  • tu avrai you –  will have
  • egli avrà – he/she will have
  • noi avremo – we will have
  • voi avrete – you will have
  • essi avranno – they will have

Some examples of the future tense of avere:

  • Quando avrò la patente, potrò guidare
    When I will have a driver’s license, I will be able to drive
  • Se l’esame andrà bene, entrerai all’università
    If the exam goes well, you will enter university

Uses of the Italian verb avere

There are many other instances where Italian speakers “have”, instead of “be” in English.

For example, you can also have thirst, sleepiness, hotness, and coldness.

Here are some sentences:

  • Stefano ha sete (Stefano is thirsty)
  • Abbiamo freddo (we’re cold)
  • I bambini hanno sonno (the children are sleepy)
  • Hai caldo (you’re hot, i.e. not sexy)

Is anyone hungry here?

  • Io ho fame (I’m hungry)
  • Tu hai fame
  • Lui ha fame
  • Noi abbiamo fame
  • Voi avete fame
  • Loro hanno fame

These forms of avere don’t exist in English.

avere italian

Pronunciation of avere

As you might have noticed, there is an H.

The reason is that this verb was spelt with an H in Latin (HABĒRE) (as it still is in English – HAVE).

As Italian evolved it lost the use of H for most words and, as you know, now H is always silent.

The reason AVERE still has H in some of its forms is purely for disambiguation.

You see, in Italian we have the following words:

  • o (or)
  • ai (to the)
  • a (to)
  • anno (year)

It would be very unclear if these words also meant:

  • I have
  • You have
  • He/she has
  • They have

For this reason, we kept the H in those forms of the Present Tense for the verb AVERE.

You don’t need to remember this bit of information. What you do have to remember is which forms of the present tense have the H and which ones don’t (noi and voi are the only forms without the H).

to have in italian

Practice with Quizlet

Here's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.

Italian sentences using avere

In English, you have breakfast, a bath, a shower, a nap, a cigarette, a coffee, etc.

In Italian, you don’t use avere for those things. We use it mainly to refer to possession. Remember this when you speak Italian!

Some examples to use avere:

  • Io ho un gatto (I have a cat)
  • Quante macchine hai? (How many cars do you have?)
  • Non ho amici! (I have no friends!) (literally: I don’t have friends!)
  • Avete informazioni? (Do you guys have any information?)

Avere is also needed to talk about your age: in Italian we are not an age, we have years of age.

  • Ho trentadue anni (I’m 32)
  • Alberto ha venti anni (Alberto is 20)
  • Quanti anni hai? (How old are you?)

Next, some examples not to use avere, but prendere (to take) or fare (to do, to make), instead:

  • Prendo una birra! (I’ll have a beer)
  • Faccio il bagno! (I’ll have a bath)
  • Facciamo colazione! (Let’s have breakfast!)

avere conjugation italian

To practice this grammar topic, take Lesson 2 of Ripeti Con Me!

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