Placing Pronouns at the end of the verb: Italian grammar lesson 166

Key Takeaways

Dive into the nifty world of Italian pronouns with this guide! Learn how to slickly attach them to verbs, making your Italian sound as smooth as a gelato on a hot Rome afternoon. 🍨 Whether it’s the infinitive or imperative, we’ve got you covered!

  • Infinitive Attachments: When using verbs like potere or volere, you can tack the pronoun right onto the end. Drop the final -e and merge like a pro. Fare + lo = farlo. Easy peasy!
  • Imperative Musts: Giving orders? Stick that pronoun on the end like a stamp on a postcard. Remember, it’s a must-do, no exceptions. Say “compralo” not “buy it” to sound authentically Italian!
  • Double Trouble: Got two pronouns? No sweat. The indirect object pronoun always gets dibs and goes first. Think of it as the VIP of pronouns.
  • Formal Speak: When you’re being all fancy and formal, flip it and reverse it. The pronoun precedes the verb. Keep it classy with “Lo faccia“, not “Do it”.
  • Consonant Doubling: Got a one-syllable imperative? Double the consonant for that pronoun (except for gli). It’s like giving your verb a little extra Italian love. ❤️

Quick facts

What are pronouns in Italian?

Pronouns in Italian refer to objects or people and are used to avoid naming them directly, often because it's clear who or what is being referred to.

When can pronouns be attached to verbs in Italian?

Pronouns can be attached to verbs in the infinitive and imperative forms, creating a single word where the pronoun follows the verb.

How does attaching a pronoun affect infinitive verbs?

When attaching a pronoun to an infinitive verb, the final -e of the infinitive is dropped, such as fare + lo becoming farlo.

Can pronouns be placed before infinitive verbs in Italian?

Yes, pronouns can precede infinitive verbs, offering flexibility in sentence structure without changing the meaning.

What happens when both direct and indirect pronouns are attached to a verb?

When both pronouns are attached, the indirect object pronoun precedes the direct object pronoun, as in "dirglielo" (say it to him/her).

How do imperative verbs handle pronouns?

Imperative verbs always attach pronouns at the end, which is mandatory, and if the verb is monosyllabic, the pronoun's initial consonant is doubled.

Are there exceptions to pronoun placement with imperative verbs?

In formal address using "lei," the pronoun precedes the verb, such as "Lo faccia subito!" (Do it now!).

How do double pronouns work in the imperative form?

With imperative verbs and double pronouns, the indirect pronoun precedes the direct, and both are attached to the verb, e.g., "diglielo" (tell it to him/her).

Can pronouns be attached to either of two infinitive verbs?

Yes, when two infinitive verbs are close together, pronouns can attach to either verb, providing flexibility in sentence structure.

What is the rule for pronouns in single-syllable imperative verbs?

For single-syllable imperative verbs, double the consonant of the pronoun's initial letter, like "Fallo subito!" (Do it now!), except for "gli."

My Thoughts

What is a pronoun?

To get started with today’s lesson, have a look at the following sentences:

Ho perso la mia borsa. Fammi sapere se la trovi.

I lost my bag. Let me know if you find it.

Perché non gli dici di venire?

Why don’t you tell him to come?

In the examples above, la and gli are pronouns and mean it and him, respectively.

Pronouns are those tiny words that refer to objects or people. We use them when we don’t need or want to name someone or something directly.

This might be because we have just mentioned them (like what we just did with “them” referring to “pronouns”) or because it’s obvious who or what we’re referring to.

If you need to review Italian pronouns, we recommend having a look at the following two posts:

Learn more about Direct object pronouns

Learn more about Indirect object pronouns

In today’s post, we’re going to focus on pronouns at the end of the verb.

🔊
Sistemala bene.

How to use pronouns at the end of the verb?

In Italian, in certain cases (not always), we can place the pronouns at the end of the verb.

This means the pronoun is joined onto the verb. There are two specific cases when we can do this:

  1. With a verb in the infinitive (like fare or vedere)
  2. With a verb in the imperative (like fai! or vedi!)

Have a look at some examples:

Voglio vederla.

I want to see her.

Perché non vuoi comprarmelo?

Why don’t you want to buy it to me?

Per piacere, prendilo.

Please, take it.

Daglielo oggi. Non ti dimenticare.

Give it to her today. Don’t forget.

🔊
Parlami subito.

🔊
Portami il libro.

How to use infinitive + pronoun?

There are three verbs that are usually followed by a verb in the infinitive:

  • Potere (can or to be able to)
    Example: Posso venire? (Can I come?)
  • Dovere (must or to have to)
    Example:Devi finire tutto. (You have to finish everything)
  • Volere(to want to)
    Example: Non voglio uscire. (I don’t want to go out)

Now that you know this, have a look at these two examples and see if you notice anything:

Lo puoi fare tu?

Can you do it?

Puoi farlo tu?

Can you do it?

You probably noticed both sentences mean exactly the same.

This is because both options are correct: we can place the pronoun before the verb in the infinitive or at the end of it.

It’s up to you to choose how to do it. But if you decide to attach the pronoun to the verb, here’s one rule you need to know:

The final -e of the infinitive is dropped. Meaning fare + lo becomes farlo.

Infinitive + pronoun: examples

Let’s have a look at some more examples with a pronoun at the end of the verb in the infinitive:

Puoi aiutarli per piacere?

Can you help them, please?

Devo farlo per forza?

Do I really have to do it?

Dovrei scrivergli.

I should write to him.

Non voglio parlarle.

I don’t want to speak to her.

We can also have both pronouns at the end of the verb. In this case, the indirect object always goes before the direct object pronoun.

Let’s have a look at some examples with both pronouns at the end of the verb:

Puoi dirglielo tu?

Can you say it to him?

Ho dei regali per voi. Vorrei darveli stasera.

I have a present for you. I’d like to give them to you tonight.

Also, sometimes it’s possible to have two infinitive verbs close to each other, so you’re free to place the pronoun at the end of either, like in the examples below:

Puoi venire a prendermi?
or
Puoi venirmi a prendere?

Can you come to pick me up?

How to use the imperative + pronoun?

We also place pronouns at the end of verbs in the imperative. And we use the imperative to give orders and instructions.

Unlike with the infinitive, with the imperative, this is obligatory, which means placing the pronoun before the verb in the imperative is wrong.

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Here’s one example:

Compralo dopo.

Buy it later.

Here’s a rule you need to keep in mind: If the verb consists of just one syllable, we double the consonant the pronoun starts with (except in the case of gli).

And here are two examples:

Fallo subito!

Do it now!

Dille la verità!

Tell her the truth!

There’s only one exception to this rule concerning the imperative: when we’re addressing someone in a formal way and we use the formal lei.

Only in this case, the pronoun goes before the verb like in the examples below:

Lo faccia subito!

Do it now!

Glielo dica il prima possibile.

Say it to him as soon as possible.

Imperative + pronoun in Italian: Examples

Let’s have a look at some more examples with a pronoun at the end of the verb in the imperative:

Dimmi dove sono.

Tell me where they are.

Dacci i documenti.

Give us the documents.

Puliscila subito! Cosa aspetti?

Clean it now! What are you waiting for?

And here are some examples with both pronouns at the end of the verb:

Se volete la televisione, prendetevela pure.

If you don’t want the TV, go ahead and take it yourself.

Diglielo appena puoi.

Say it to him (her or them) as soon as you can.

Again, when we add both pronouns at the end of the verb, the indirect object goes before the direct object pronoun.

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions

FAQs

What are pronouns?

Pronouns are those words that refer to objects or people. We use them when we don’t need or want to name someone or something directly. Either because we have just mentioned them or because it’s obvious who or what we’re referring to.

How to use pronouns at the end of the verb?

Pronouns at the end of the verb are joined into them. There are two cases: With a verb in the infinitive and with a verb in the imperative.

How to use infinitive + pronoun?

We can place the pronoun before the verb in the infinitive or at the end of it. If you decide to attach the pronoun to the verb, you need to drop the final -e of the infinitive and add the pronoun. You can also have both pronouns at the end of the verb but the indirect object one always goes before the direct object pronoun.

How to use imperative + pronoun?

The pronoun is never placed before the verb in the imperative. If the verb consists of just one syllable, we double the consonant the pronoun starts with. And when we’re addressing someone in a formal way, the pronoun goes before the verb. If we add both pronouns at the end of the verb, the indirect object goes before the direct object pronoun.

Italian word of the day
capivo
Example
Non capivo più niente dal sonno.
I was so tired that I couldn’t think.
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3 Responses

  1. For sentences #11 and #19, they both say “And the bill? You didn’t pay it, did you?” is translated as “E il conto? Non avrai pagato tu!”, but shouldn’t it be “E il conto? Non l’avrai pagato tu!” so the sentence properly refers to “it”?

  2. With due respect I do not think that ‘If you don’t want the TV, go ahead and take it for yourself is good English. I suggest
    “If you don’t want the TV, go and ahead and take it yourself’.

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