Chapter 13 - Simple Past Tense

The Simple Past Tense is used to describe an action which occurred at a specified time, and is now over.
The simple past tense is a completed action, such as I went to the storeI called my sister, and so on.  It is almost always accompanied by an expression of time, for example, In 1492, Columbus sailed to the New World, Yesterday, I spoke to Helen.  On Tuesday, we ate at an Italian restaurant.  This tense is used to recount a story or an historical event.  In ordinary speech, it is seldom used.

The simple past tense is the most complex of the tenses in the Italian language, with many irregularities and exceptions to general rules.  An attempt was made here to include many, but not all of the irregular verbs, as many verbs are merely compounds of base verbs.  For example, aggiụngere, congiụngere, disgiụngere, and so on are compounds of giụngere.  For the full list of verbs, the reader should consult the appendix.  The endings for this tense are added to the stems.  There are three sets of endings, one for each verb group.

Group 1 verbs end in -are.  The model for this group is the verb parlare, to speak; its stem is parl-.  The endings are shown in italics, and they are the same for all of the regular verbs in this group
            I spoke, did speak                   Io                     parl + ai           parlai               (pahr-lAH-ee)
            you spoke, did speak              Tu                    parl + asti        parlasti             (pahr-lAH-stee)
            he, she, spoke, did speak        Lei, lui             parl + ò            parlò                (pahr-lAW)
            we spoke, did speak                Noi                  parl + ammo    parlammo        (pahr-lAHm-moh)
            you spoke, did speak              Voi                  parl + aste        parlaste            (pahr-lAH-stay)
            they spoke, did speak             Loro                parl + ạrono    parlạrono         (pahr-lAH-roh-noh)

Pronunciation in the simple past tense is shown in the group model, and there are some exceptions.  Often, accent marks are not used in written Italian, however, in this text, accent marks will be used when departures from the usual pronunciation rules occur.

In group 1, the following verbs are irregular in the past tense
dare, to give:  detti, dẹsti, dette, dẹmmo, dẹste, dẹttero
                Like dare                                                               ridare, to give back
                ristare, to stop, desist                                          stare, to stand
fare, to do, make:  fẹci, facẹsti, fẹce, facẹmmo, facẹste, fẹcero
                [the endings -ẹci, -acẹsti, -ẹce, -acẹmmo, -acẹste, and -ẹcero are added to the stems]
                Like fare:                                              assuefare, to accustom, inure                           contraffare, to counterfeit
                disassuefare, to give up a habit        disfare, to undo                                                   liquefare, to liquify
                putrefare, to putrify                            rarefare, to rarefy                                               rifare, to do over, repeat
                sfare, to undo, to thaw, melt             soddisfare, to satisfy                                          soprafare, to overwhelm
                strafare, to do too much, overdo     stupefare, to stupefy                                           torrefare, to roast
                tumefare, to swell

 

Group 2 verbs end in -ere or -rre.  The model for this group is the verb credere, to believe; its stem is cred-.  The endings are shown in italics, and they are the same for all regular verbs in this group.
I believed, did believe                                    Io                     cred +ẹi           credẹi              (cray-dAY-ee)
You believed, did believe                   Tu                    cred + ẹsti        credẹsti            (cray-dAYs-tee)
He, she, it believed, did believe          Lei, Lui           cred + è           credè               (cray-dEH)
We believed, did believe                    Noi                  cred + ẹmmo   credẹmmo       (cray-dAYm-moh)
You believed, did believe                   Voi                  cred + ẹste       credẹste           (cray-dAYs-tay)
They believed, did believe                  Loro                cred + ẹrono    credẹrono        (cray-dAY-roh-noh)
Pronunciation in the simple past tense is shown in the group model, but in group 2 there are many exceptions.  Often, accent marks are not used in written Italian, however, in this text, accent marks will be used when departures from the usual pronunciation rules occur.

In group 2, the following verbs are irregular in the simple past tense
accẹndere, to light:  accesi, accendẹsti, accese, accendẹmmo, accendẹste, accẹsero
                [The stems are shortened, and the endings -si, -ẹsti, -se, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -sero are added to the
                [stems.  The reduced stem is shown in bold type.  Compound forms of a verb (for example,
                [aggiụngere, congiụngere, disgiụngere, which are compounds of giụngere ) have the same
                [irregularities as the root verb.  Some, but not all, of the compound verbs are listed here.]
NOTE  The infinitive of these verbs is stressed on the stem, and an accent mark was used to show the stress.
                Like accẹndere:
                acclụdere, to include                                          accǫrgersi, to perceive                       aggiụngere, to add
                allụdere, to allude                                               appẹndere, to append                        apprẹndere, to learn
                ạrdere, to burn                                                     ascẹndere, to ascend                          aspẹrgere, to sprinkle
                assịdersi, to sit down                                          attẹndere, to wait                                                attịngere, to attain
                attǫrcere, to twist                                                                avvǫlgere, to wrap, wrap up              capovǫlgere, to overturn
                chiẹdere, to ask                                                   chiụdere, to close                                                cịngere, to gird
                coincịdere, to coincide                                       coinvǫlgere, to involve                      collịdere, to collide
                comprẹndere, to comprehend                           conclụdere, to conclude                     condiscẹndere, to condescend
                condivịdere, to share                                          contẹndere, to contend                      contụndere, to bruise
                cọrrere, to run                                                      cospạrgere, to sprinkle, strew            costrịngere, to compel
                decịdere, to decide                                              decọrrere, to elapse                            delụdere, to delude
                derịdere, to deride, mock                                   detẹrgere, to wash off or away        difẹndere, to defend
                dipẹndere, to depend                                          dipịngere, to depict                             disattẹndere, to disregard
                discẹndere, to descend                                       dischiụdere, to disclose                      discọrrere, to talk about
                disgiụngere, to disjoin, sever                            disillụdere, to disillusion                    dispẹrdere, to disperse
                dissǫlvere, to dissolve                                         dissuadere, to dissuade                      distẹndere, to distend
                distịnguere, to distinguish                                  distǫrcere, to distort                            divẹrgere, to diverge
                divịdere, to divide                                               elịdere, to elide                                    elụdere, to elude
                emẹrgere, to emerge                                           ẹrgere, to raise, lift up                         esclụdere, to exclude
                esplǫdere, to explode                                         estịnguere, to extinguish                    evạdere, to evade
                fịngere, to feign                                                   frạngere, to break, smash                  fụngere, to act as someone
                giụngere, to arrive                                               illụdere, to deceive                             immẹrgere, to immerse
                incịdere, to engrave                                            incọrrere, to incur                               indụlgere, to indulge
                infrạngere, to infringe                                        intercọrrere, to elapse                        intrụdere, to intrude
                invạdere, to invade                                             mǫrdere, to bite                                   mụngere, to milk
                nascọndere, to hide                                             occọrrere, to occur                              offẹndere, to offend
                persuạdere, to persuade                                     piạngere, to weep                                pǫrgere, to offer
                precọrrere, to precede                                        predilịgere, to prefer something       prẹndere, to take
                pụngere, to prick                                                 rạdere, to shave                                   rẹndere, to give back
                ricongiụngere, to rejoin                                     rịdere, to laugh                                    rimanere, to stay
                rispọndere, to respond                                       risǫlvere, to resolve                             scẹndere, to descend
                sọrgere, to rise                                                      spạndere, to spread                             spạrgere, to disperse
                spịngere, to push                                                 strịngere, to press                                tẹndere, to stretch
                tẹrgere, to wipe                                                    tịngere, to tint, dye                              tǫrcere, to twist
                trascọrrere, to pass or spend time                    uccịdere. to kill                                    ụngere, to oil, grease
                vịncere, to win                                                      vǫlgere, to turn
addurre, to adduce:  addussi, adducẹsti, addusse, adducẹmmo, adducẹste, addụssero
                [the stems vary from ~du- to ~duc-, and alternate set of endings ( -ssi, -ẹsti, -sse, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -ssero) is used]
                Like addurre:
                addurre, to adduce                             circondurre, to lead around              condurre, to conduct
                dedurre, to deduce                              indurre, to induce                                                introdurre, to introduce
                produrre, to produce                          reintrodurre, to reintroduce              ricondurre, to bring, take again
                ridurre, to reduce                                                riprodurre, to reproduce                    ritradurre, to retranslate
                sedurre, to seduce                               tradurre, to translate                          trasdurre, to transduce

 

afflịggere, to afflict:  afflissi, affliggẹsti, afflisse, affliggẹmmo, affliggẹste, afflịssero
                [the stems are shortened, and the endings -ssi, -ẹsti, -sse, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, -sseroare added to the stems]
                [the reduced stem is shown in bold type; compound forms (compiangere, ritịngere, and so on) have ]
                [the same irregularities as the root verb.  Some of the compound verbs are listed here.]
NOTE  The infinitive of these verbs is stressed on the stem, and an accent mark was used to show the stress.
                Like afflịggere:
                affịggere, to affix                               annẹttere, to annex                             circonflẹttere, to bend around
                circoscrịvere, to circumscribe           concẹdere, to concede                        confịggere, to nail
                connẹttere, to connect                        corrẹggere, to correct                         corrispǫndere, to correspond
                crocifịggere, to crucify                      deflẹttere, to deflect                            descrịvere, to describe
                discụtere, to discuss                            distrụggere, to destroy                       elęggere, to elect
                figgere, to fix, stick                             frịggere, to fry                                     infịggere, to drive, thrust
                lęggere, to read                                    inflịggere, to inflict                             prefịggere, to arrange in advance
                prescrịvere, to prescribe                     proscrịvere, to proscribe                    protẹggere, to protect
                rẹggere, to hold                                   rescịndere, to rescind                          rielęggere, to re-elect
                riflẹttere, to reflect                              rifrịggere, torefry                               rilęggere, to read again
                rivịvere, to revive                                                scịndere, to separate                           sconfịggere, to defeat, vanquish
                sconnẹttere, to disconnect                                 scrịvere, to write                                  strụggere, to melt, thaw
                trafịggere, to transfigure                   vịvere, to live
assụmere, to assume:  assunsi, assumẹsti, assunse, assumẹmmo, assumẹste, assụnsero
                [the stem varies, and the endings -si, -ẹsti, -se, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, -sero are added to make the verbs]
                Like assụmere:                                                     consụmere, to consume                      desụmere, to deduce, infer, gather
                presụmere, to presume                                       riassụmere, to resume
avere, to have:  ẹbbi, avẹsti, ẹbbe, avẹmmo, avẹste, ẹbbero
bẹvere, to drink:  bẹvvi, bevẹsti, bẹvve, bevẹmmo, bevẹste, bẹvvero
                Like bevere:                                                                          imbevere, to imbibe
cadere, to fall:  caddi, cadẹsti, cadde, cadẹmmo, cadẹste, cạddero
                Like cadere:                                                          accadere, to befall                              decadere, to decay
                ricadere, to relapse, fall again                          scadere, to decline, deteriorate
cǫgliere, to gather:  colsi, cogliẹsti, colse, cogliẹmmo, cogliẹste, cǫlsero
                [the stem varies, and a different set of endings -si, -ẹsti, -se, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, -sero is used]
                Like cǫgliere:                                          accǫgliere, to welcome                      disciǫgliere, to dissolve
                distǫgliere, to withdraw                                     equivalere, to be equivalent              invalere, to become fashionable
                prevalere, to be prevalent, to prevail               riaccǫgliere, to readmit someone    ritǫgliere, to take away again
                scẹgliere, to choose                                            sciǫgliere, to untie, to loosen            tǫgliere, to take away
                valere, to be worth
conọscere, to know :  conọbbi, conoscẹsti, conọbbe, conoscẹmmo, conoscẹste, conọbbero
                [the stem varies, and a different set of endings, -bbi, -ẹsti, -bbe, -ẹmmo, ẹste, -bbero is used]
                Like conọscere:                                                    crẹscere, to grow                                  decrẹscere, to decrease
                disconọscere, to disclaim                                   incrẹscere. to regret                             riconọscere, to recognize
                rincrẹscere, to grow again
cuǫcere, to cook:  cossi, cocẹsti, cosse, cocẹmmo, cocẹste, cǫssero
                [the stem varies, and the endings -ssi, -ẹsti, -sse, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -ssero are used]
                Like cuǫcere:                                                        percuǫtere, to strike                            ricuǫcere, to recook
                riscuǫtere, to collect, draw a salary                 scuǫcere, to overcook                        scuǫtere, to shake
                stracuǫcere, to overdo
dirịgere, to direct:  dirẹssi, dirẹsti, dirẹsse, dirigẹmmo, dirigẹste, dirẹssero
                [the stem is changed, and the endings -ssi, -ẹsti, -sse, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -sseroare used]
                Like dirịgere:                                                         erịgere, to erect                                    neglịgere, to neglect
eccẹllere, to excel:  eccẹlsi, eccellẹsti, eccẹlse, eccellẹmmo, eccellẹste, eccẹlsero
                [the stem is shortened, and the endings -si, -ẹsti, -se, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -sero are used]
                Like eccẹllere:      divellere, to uproot                             svẹllere, to tear out
dolere, to suffer, ache:  dolsi, dolẹsti, dolse, dolẹmmo, dolẹste, dǫlsero
espẹllere, to expell:  espulsi, espellẹsti, espulse, espellẹmmo, espellẹste, espụlsero
                [the stem varies, and the endings -si, -ẹsti, -se, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -sero are used]
                Like espẹllere:                                                                      repẹllere, to repel
ęssere, to be:  fui, fọsti, fu, fummo, fọste, fụrono
fọndere, to fuse, smelt:  fusi, fondẹsti, fuse, fondẹmmo, fondẹste, fụsero
                [the stem varies, and the endings -si, -ẹsti, -se, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -sero are used]
                Like fọndere:                        confọndere, to confuse                                                      diffọndere, to diffuse
                                                                effọndere, to pour out, effuse                                           infọndere, to infuse
giacere, to lie down:  giạcqui, giacẹsti, giạcque, giacẹmmo, giacẹste, giạcquero
                [the stem varies; and the endings -i, -ẹsti, -e, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -eroare used]
                Like giacere:                                                         compiacere, to delight                        dispiacere, to displease
                nascere, to be born (nacqui, etc.)                     nuǫcere, to injure (nocqui, etc.)        piacere, to please
                rinascere, to be reborn (rinacqui, etc.)            tacere, to be silent
imprịmere, to impress:  imprẹssi, imprimẹsti, imprẹsse, imprimẹmmo, imprimẹste, imprẹssero
                [the stem varies, and the endings -ssi, -ẹsti, -sse, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -ssero are used]
                Like imprịmere:                                                   comprịmere, to compress                   decomprịmere, to decompress
                deprịmere, to depress                                          esprịmere, to express                          opprịmere, to oppress
mẹttere, to place, put:  misi, mettẹsti, mise, mettẹmmo, mettẹste, mịsero
                [the stem is changed, and the endings -si, -ẹsti, -se, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -sero are used]
                Like mẹttere:                                                        ammẹttere, to admit                            ammẹttere, to admit, to let in
                annẹttere, to annex                                             commẹttere, to commit                       compromẹttere, to compromise
                connẹttere, to connect                                        dimẹttere, to discharge                       dismẹttere, to discard
                emẹttere, to emit                                                  estromẹttere, to exclude, to oust       frammẹttere, to insert
                immẹttere, to put in                                             inframmẹttere, to interpose                inframmettersi, to interfere, to meddle
                interconnẹttere, to interconnect                       intromẹttere, to insert                         intromettersi, to intervene
                manomẹttere, to tamper with                            omẹttere, to omit                                 permẹttere, to permit
                premẹttere, to state first                                     promẹttere, to promise                       radiotrasmẹttere, to broadcast, to radio
                riammẹttere, to readmit                                      ricetrasmẹttere, to transmit and receive
                ricommẹttere, to commit again                         riemẹttere, to re-issue                          rimẹttere, to put back
                ripromẹttere, to promise again                         ritrasmẹttere, to rebroadcast             scommẹttere, to disconnect, to wager
                smẹttere, to stop, to quit                                     sottomẹttere, to subjugate                                 teleradiotrasmẹttere, to simulcast
                trasmẹttere, to pass on or down                        videotrasmẹttere, to broadcast on television; to telecast
muǫvere, to move:  mossi, muovẹsti, mosse, muovẹmmo, movẹste, mǫssero
                [the stem varies, and the endings -ssi, -ẹsti, -sse, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -sseroare added to the stems]
                                Like muovere:                                                                      commuǫvere, to move emotionally
                                promuǫvere, to promote                                                    rimuǫvere, to remove
nuǫcere, to harm:  nǫqui, nocẹsti, nǫcque, nocẹmmo, nocẹste, nǫcquero
parere, to seem:  parvi, parẹsti, parve, parẹmmo, parẹste, pạrvero
pọrre, to put:  pọsi, ponẹsti, pọse, ponẹmmo, ponẹste, pọsero
                [the stem varies, and the endings -si, -ẹsti, -se, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -seroare used]
                Like pọrre:                                            antepọrre, to place or put before                     appọrre, to append
                compọrre, to be composed (of), to compose                                                                 contrappọrre, to oppose; to contrast;
                contropropọrre, to counteroffer      decompọrre, to decompose                               depọrre, to put, set, lay down
                dispọrre, to dispose                             espọrre, to expose                                               fotocompọrre, to photocompose
                frappọrre, to interpose                       giustappọrre, to juxtapose                                                impọrre, to impose
                indispọrre, to irritate; to annoy        interpọrre, to interpose                                      oppọrre, to oppose
                pospọrre, to postpone                        predispọrre, to predispose                                 prepọrre, to place before
                presuppọrre, to presuppose               propọrre, to propose                                           ricompọrre, to reassemble, to recompose
                ridispọrre, to rearrange                      riespọrre, to expose, expound again                               ripọrre, to replace
                ripropọrre, to repropose                    scompọrre, to take apart, dismantle                                sottoespọrre, to underexpose
                sottopọrre, to subdue                         sovraespọrre, to overexpose                             sovrappọrre, to superimpose
                sovrimpọrre, to overlay                      suppọrre, to suppose                                          traspọrre, to transpose
riavere, to have again, recover:  riẹbbi, riavẹsti, riẹbbe, riavẹmmo, riavẹste, riẹbbero
redịgere, to edit:  redassi, redigẹsti, redasse, redigẹmmo, redigẹste, redạssero
redịmere, to redeem:  redẹnsi, redimẹsti, redẹnse, redimẹmmo, redimẹste, redẹnsero
rọmpere, to break:  ruppi, rompẹsti, ruppe, rompẹmmo, rompẹste, rụppero
                [the stem varies; and the endings -i, -ẹsti, -e, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -eroare used]
                Like rọmpere:                                       corrọmpere, to corrupt                                       dirọmpere, to brake
                erọmpere, to erupt                               interrọmpere, to interrupt                                  irrọmpere, to burst, break into
                prorọmpere, to break or burst into
sapere, to know:  sẹppi, sapẹsti, sẹppe, sapẹmmo, sapẹste, sẹppero
spẹgnere, to extinguish:  spẹnsi, spegnẹsti, spẹnse, spegnẹmmo, spegnẹste, spẹnsero
tenere, to hold:  tẹnni, tenẹsti, tẹnne, tenẹmmo, tenẹste, tẹnnero
                [the endings -ni, -ẹsti, -ne, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -neroare added to the stems]
                Like tenere:                                           appartenere, to belong to                                  attenere, to be relevant
                contenere, to contain                          detenere, to detain                                              intrattenere, to entertain
                mantenere, to maintain                      ottenere, to obtain                                               ritenere, to retain
                sostenere, to sustain                            trattenere, to restrain
trarre, to draw:  trassi, traẹsti, trasse, traẹmmo, traẹste, trạssero
                [the endings -ssi, -ẹsti, -sse, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -ssero are added to the stems]
                Like trarre:                                            astrarre, to abstract                                            attrarre, to attract
                contrarre, to contract                         decontrarre, to relax                                           detrarre, to detract
                distrarre, to distract                            estrarre, to extract                                              protrarre, to protract
                ritrarre, to retract                                                sottrarre, to subtract
vedere, to see:  vidi, vedẹsti, vide, vedẹmmo, vedẹste, vịdero
                [the stem varies; and the endings -i, -ẹsti, -e, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -eroare used]
                Like vedere:                                          antivedere, to foresee                                         intravedere, to glimpse
                prevedere, to see ahead                     provedere, to provide, look after                      rivedere, to see again
                stravedere, to see things, hallucinate                                                                               travedere, to be misled
vịncere, to win:  vinsi, vincẹsti, vinse, vincẹmmo, vincẹste,vịnsero
                [the stem varies; and the endings -i, -ẹsti, -e, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -eroare added to the stems]
                Like vincere:                                         avvịncere, to charm                                            convịncere, to convince
                convịncersi, to convince oneself      evịncere, to infer                                                  stravincere, to win overwhelmingly
volere, to be willing, to want:  volli, volẹsti, volle, volẹmmo, volẹste, vǫllero
                [the stem varies; and the endings -i, -ẹsti, -e, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -eroare used]
                Like volere:                                           benvolere, to like someone                                                disvolere, to stop liking someone
                malvolere, to dislike someone           rivolere, to want someone or something back

Group 3 verbs end in -ire.  The model for this group is the verb finire, to finish; its stem is fin-.  The endings are shown in italics, and they are the same for all regular verbs in this group.
            I finished, did finish                           Io                     fin + ii             finii                  (feen-EE-ee)
            You finished, did finish                      Tu                    fin + isti           finisti               (feen-EEs-tee)
            He, she, it finished, did finish                        Lei, Lui           fin + ì              finì                   (feen-EE)
            We finished, did finish                       Noi                  fin + immo      finimmo           (feen-EEm-moh)
            You finished, did finish                      Voi                  fin + iste          finiste              (feen-EEs-tay)
            They finished, did finish                     Loro                fin + ịrono       finịrono           (feen-EE-roh-noh)
Pronunciation in the simple past tense is shown in the group model, and there are some exceptions.  Often, accent marks are not used in written Italian, however, in this text, accent marks will be used when departures from the usual pronunciation rules occur.
In group 3, the following verbs are irregular in the past tense
            dire, to say:  dissi, dicisti, disse, dicimmo, diciste, dịssero
                [the stem varies; and the endings -ssi, -ẹsti, -sse, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -sseroare used]
                Like dire:                                               benedire, to bless                                 contraddire, to contradict
                disdire, to retract                                 interdire, to interdict, prohibit           maledire, to curse
                predire, to predict                                ribenedire, to bless again                   ridire, to repeat
venire, to come;  vẹnni, venisti, vẹnne, venimmo, veniste, vẹnnero
                [a different set of the endings -ni, -ẹsti, -ne, -ẹmmo, -ẹste, and -neroare used]
                Like venire:                                           addivenire, to come to                       avvenire, to happen
                circonvenire, to circumvent           contravenire, to contravene              convenire, to convene
                divenire, to become                            intervenire, to intervene                     pervenire, to reach
                prevenire, to prevent                          riconvenire, to reconvene                  ridivenire, to become again
                rinvenire, to rediscover, recover       risoveniresi, to recollect                     rivenire, to come back
                sconvenire, to be unbecoming          sovvenire, to help                                                svenire, to faint