False reflexives II: Italian grammar lesson 154


Dive into the world of Italian with our lesson on false reflexives! Uncover the secrets of reciprocal reflexive verbs and learn how to express mutual actions with flair. Get ready to chat like a local! 🇮🇹✨

  • Reciprocal reflexives are your go-to when you want to talk about actions shared between people. Think of them as the Italian way of saying “each other” – si aiutano means “they help each other”. 🔄
  • Remember, these verbs are all about the plural life. You’ll only use them with noi, voi, or loro – that’s “we”, “you all”, and “they” for us non-Italians. 🌟
  • Get your grammar game on! These verbs are transitive, so they’re always paired with a direct object, which, in this case, is the pronominal particle itself. 📚
  • Conjugation is key! For present tense, it’s ci aiutiamo for “we help each other”, and for past tense, it’s ci siamo aiutati/e. Yes, the endings change based on gender and number! 🤓
  • When asking why, don’t forget to flip it. Perché vi odiate? translates to “Why do you hate each other?” – it’s all about the context. 🤔

My thoughts

False reflexives in Italian

As we have seen in the previous lesson, the riflessivi impropri, or false reflexives are verbs that look like reflexives but are not. They can take 3 forms:

  • la forma riflessiva apparente;
  • la forma riflessiva reciproca;
  • la forma pronominale.

In this lesson, we’ll look at the second one, la forma riflessiva reciproca (reciprocal reflexives.)

Reciproci: Explained

As you can probably guess from the name, in this form, the verbs will express a reciprocal action. In this case, the action is both performed and experienced by the subject.

Voi non vi salutate.

You do not say hi to each other.

I ragazzi si sono picchiati.

The guys beat each other.

Fabio e Massimo si salutano.

Fabio and Massimo say hi to each other.

As you can see from the translations, in this form the pronominal particles (ci, si, vi) have the meaning of “each other”.

Reciproci: Rules

Since we are talking about a reciprocal action, in this form, we will only be able to conjugate the verb in the plural, with the personal pronouns noi, voi, and loro (we, you plural, they).

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The verbs that can be conjugated in this form are always transitive, which means they take a direct object. In this case, the direct object is the pronominal particle ci, vi, or si, (each other).

Loro si aiutano.

They help each other.

Noi ci siamo lasciati.

We broke up – We left each other.

Perché vi odiate?

Why do you hate each other?

Reciproci: Conjugation

(to help e.o.)
(to hate e.o.)
(to greet e.o.)
noi ci aiutiamo ci odiamo ci salutiamo
voi vi aiutate vi odiate vi salutate
loro, Loro si aiutano si odiano si salutano


Passato Prossimo
(to help e.o.)
(to hate e.o.)
(to greet e.o.)
noi  ci siamo aiutati/e ci siamo odiati/e ci siamo salutati/e
voi  vi siete aiutati/e vi siete odiati/e vi siete salutati/e
loro, Loro si sono aiutati/e si sono odiati/e si sono salutati/e

What are reflexive and reciprocal verbs in Italian?

Reciprocal reflexive verbs use ci, vi, and si to describe a mutual action between two people. For example, "capirsi" means to understand each other and "amarsi" means to love each other.

What are reflexive verbs in Italian?

A verb that ends in -si in its infinitive form is known as a reflexive verb in Italian. The reflexive pronoun -si at the end of the infinitive can be interpreted as “to self” or “to oneself”, indicating that the action is directed at the subject itself.

What is the difference between reflexive and non reflexive in Italian?

In Italian, there is only one thing that distinguishes a reflexive verb from a non-reflexive verb in non-compound tenses, which are those tenses that do not need an auxiliary verb; that is, the addition of the reflexive pronoun.

Italian word of the day
Hai voglia di fare una passeggiata?
Do you feel like going for a walk?
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