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Essere: Italian grammar 1

Essere: conjugation, present tense

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

Together with avere, essere 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.

“Essere, o non essere, questo è il dilemma”, says Shakespeare’s Hamlet in Italian. Here’s how to conjugate the irregular verb “essere”.

  • Io sono – I am
  • Tu sei – You are
  • Lui, lei è – He, she is
  • Noi siamo – We are
  • Voi siete – You are
  • Loro sono – They are
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My secret to learn languages faster!

In Italian, unlike in English, the use of personal pronouns like io (I), tu (you) etc. with verbs is not required. On the contrary, it makes you sound like a textbook. You don’t need that because the verb itself indicates who it is referring to.


  1. Sei americano?
    Are you American?
  2. No, sono canadese.
    No, I’m Canadian.
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Learn more about Italian verb conjugation.

Basic uses of essere

Essere is used with di name of a city to indicate city of origin (the city someone is from). To indicate country of origin, an adjective of nationality is generally used: He is from France + He is French = È francese.

  1. Di dove sei?
  2. Io sono di Chicago

Essere + di + proper name is used to indicate possession. No apostrophe s is used in Italian to indicate possession: It is Stefano’s = It is of Stefano’s = È di Stefano.

To find out who the owner of something is, ask Di chi è singular or Di chi sono plural.

  1. Di chi è questo gatto?

For more practice, check out the free preview of the first 10 lessons of the course.

To practice Essere: Italian grammar 1, take lesson

of the audio course “Ripeti con me!”

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