Credere di: Italian grammar lesson

Lesson 190

Key Takeaways

In this lesson, you’ll learn the nuances of using credere di in Italian grammar and when to use it correctly.

  • Use credere di when the subject in both clauses is the same and you need an infinitive verb.
  • In English, credere di often translates to a simple “think” without the “of.”
  • For different subjects in each clause, use credere che instead of credere di.
  • After di, use either the present infinitive or the past infinitive based on the time reference.
  • Examples include phrases like Credo di volere venire (I think I want to come) and Non credono di aver fatto (They don’t think they did).

Quick facts

When do you use "credere di" in Italian?

Use "credere di" when the subject in both clauses is the same and you want to continue with another action in infinitive form.

What’s the structure for using "credere di"?

The structure is Subject + credere/pensare conjugated + di + verb in the infinitive.

Can you use the past infinitive after "credere di"?

Yes, depending on whether you refer to the past or present, you can use the present infinitive (e.g., mangiare) or the past infinitive (e.g., aver mangiato).

When should you use "credere che" instead of "credere di"?

Use "credere che" when the subject in the first clause is different from the subject in the second clause.

Does the subject need to be repeated in the second clause after "credere di"?

No, it’s unnecessary to repeat the subject in the second clause because it is implied to be the same as the first.

Why isn't "credere di" translated as "think of" in English?

Translating "credere di" as "think of" sounds odd in English; it's more natural to say "think" or "don’t think."

Can "pensare di" follow the same rules as "credere di"?

Yes, "pensare di" follows the same grammatical rules as "credere di" in Italian.

What does "Credi di essere divertente?" mean in English?

"Credi di essere divertente?" translates to "Do you think you’re funny?" in English.

How do you say "I think I understood" using "credere di"?

"I think I understood" translates to "Credo di aver capito" using "credere di."

How do you express "They don’t think they did anything serious" in Italian using "credere di"?

"They don’t think they did anything serious" is expressed as "Non credono di aver fatto nulla di grave" in Italian using "credere di."

Audio images

🔊
Crediamo di vedere un film stasera.
🔊
Non crediamo di sapere tutto.
🔊
Loro credono di conoscere la verità.

Vocab

credere
di
verbo
preposizione
congiunzione
frase
soggetto
oggetto
complemento
reggente
infinitivo
indicativo
congiuntivo
espressione
significato
esempio
uso
contesto
grammatica
transitivo

Sentences

Credo di aver capito.

I think I understood.

Non credo di poter venire.

I don't think I can come.

Lei crede di sapere tutto.

She thinks she knows everything.

Crediamo di essere in ritardo.

We think we are late.

Credi di essere divertente?

Do you think you are funny?

My Thoughts

What is the meaning of credere di in Italian?

In today’s post, we’re going to focus on when we say credere di. And, just so you know, the same rules apply for pensare di.

Have a look at the following example:

Noi non crediamo di potere andare in vacanza.

We don’t think we can go on holiday.

As you can see, in English we didn’t translate non crediamo di as “don’t think of” but just as didn’t think, since otherwise it would just sound odd.

🔊
Crediamo di vedere un film stasera.

When do we say credere di?

You might be wondering why, then, we use credere di instead of just credere or credere che.

Basically, we use credere di when we want to carry on talking about another action and, thus, we use another verb in the infinitive (its base form, like potere).

Also, we use credere di when the subject in the first clause is the same as the subject in the second clause, as you can see below:

(1) Noi non crediamo di (2) potere andare in vacanza.

(1) We don’t think (2) we can go on holiday.

The subject is noi (we) in both clauses: the people who “don’t think” are the same who cannot “go on holiday”.

However, in Italian we don’t need to add a subject in the second clause (right after di) because, for us, it’s obvious it’s the same as the one in the first clause.

Here’s the structure: Subject +credere or pensare conjugated +di + verb in the infinitive.

By the way, after di we can use the present infinitive (mangiare) or the past infinitive (aver mangiato), depending on whether we’re referring to the present or the past.

🔊
Non crediamo di sapere tutto.

When do we say credere che?

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We wouldn’t use credere di if the subject in the first clause was different to the subject in the second clause, like in the sentence below:

(1) Noi non crediamo che (2) loro possano andare in vacanza.

(1) We don’t think (2) they can go on holiday.

In this case, the subject is noi (we) in the first clause and loro (they) in the second clause, so we cannot use credere di. We use credere che instead.

But don’t worry about credere che for now.

Just make sure you understand when we use credere di.

🔊
Loro credono di conoscere la verità.

Credi di: examples

Let’s now have a look at some more examples:

Credi di essere divertente?

Do you think you’re funny?

Credo di volere venire anche io.

I think I want to come too.

Cosa credete di fare?

What do you think you’re doing?

Credo di aver capito.

I think I understood.

Non credono di aver fatto nulla di grave.

They don’t think they did anything serious.

Lei crede di aver fatto la cosa giusta.

She thinks she did the right thing.

Non credo di mangiare tanto.

I don’t think I’m eating too much.

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions

FAQs

What is the meaning of "credere"?

It literally means to believe but in Italian is used with the sense of to think.

When do we use "credere di"?

When we want to carry on talking about another action and when the subject in the first clause is the same as the subject in the second clause.

How's the structure of "credere di"?

Subject +  credere or pensare conjugations + di + past or present infinitive. Note that in Italian adding a subject in the second clause is not necessary because it's implicit.

When do we use "credere che"?

When the subject in the first clause is different to the subject in the second clause.

Italian word of the day
aziende
Example
Dalla crisi, molte aziende hanno chiuso.
Because of the financial crisis, many companies shut down.
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