Passive voice with the verb “venire”: Italian grammar lesson 233

Summary

Unlock the secrets of Italian elegance with our guide on mastering the passive voice! Learn to shift the spotlight in your sentences and add a touch of formality to your Italian with the versatile verbs essere and venire. 🇮🇹✨

  • Emphasize the Receiver: Use the passive voice to highlight the action’s recipient. Swap il cane ha mangiato la gallina for la gallina è stata mangiata dal cane to focus on the hen.
  • Mystery Actions: When the doer is unknown or irrelevant, the passive voice is your go-to. Say la scuola è stata costruita nel 1920 to keep the constructor a mystery.
  • Passive with Essere: Combine essere with a past participle to go passive. Remember, match the participle’s ending (-o, -a, -i, -e) with the subject’s gender and number.
  • Formality with Venire: Opt for venire over essere in passive sentences for a formal flair. Perfect for rules or legal lingo!
  • Conjugate with Care: Venire is irregular, so nail those conjugations in present, imperfect, and future tenses to avoid sounding like a newbie.
  • Agreement is Key: Whether using essere or venire, ensure your past participle agrees with the subject. It’s the difference between sounding polished or puzzled.
  • By Who? Use Da: Want to specify the action’s doer in passive sentences? Tack on da (by) after the participle. It’s the Italian way to give credit where it’s due.

My thoughts

What is the passive voice?

We use the passive voice when we want to emphasize the person or thing receiving the action or the action itself.

For example, instead of saying il cane ha mangiato la gallina (the dog ate the hen), we can turn the sentence around by saying la gallina è stata mangiata dal cane (the hen was eaten by the dog).

Note how in the second example, the passive voice emphasizes la gallina (the hen).

We also use the passive voice when we don’t know who is responsible for an action, as in la scuola è stata costruita nel 1920 (the school was built in 1920).

In this post, you’re going to learn how we can also form the passive voice with the verb venire.

How to form the passive voice with essere?

To form the passive voice in Italian, we use the verb essere plus the past participle of the main verb, as in the examples below:

Il pranzo è servito alle 12.

Lunch is served at 12.

Questi palazzi sono stati costruiti negli anni 80.

These buildings were built in the 80s.

If we want to specify who something is done by, the past participle is followed by da (by) or its contractions (dal, dalla, etc.).

Also, since we use the verb essere to form the passive voice, the past participle has to agree in gender and number with the subject.

So, the past participle will en in -o, -a, -i, or -e depending on whether the subject is masculine or feminine, and singular or plural.

How to form the passive voice with venire?

In Italian, interestingly, we can also use the verb venire (to come) instead of essere to form a passive sentence in the imperfect, present, or future tense.

We use the verb venire to make the sentence slightly more formal, for example in the case of rules, procedures, or court orders.

In this case, too, the past participle has to agree in gender and number with the subject of the sentence.

Here’s an example:

La bambina verrà affidata alla nonna.

The girl will be placed in the care of her grandmother.

The conjugation of the verb venire

The verb venire is irregular.

Let’s review the conjugation of the verb venire in the present, imperfect, and future tenses.

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Here’s the conjugation of in the present tense:

Io vengo
Tu vieni
Lei/ Lui viene
Noi veniamo
Voi venite
Loro vengono

Here’s the conjugation of the verb in  the imperfect tense:

Io venivo
Tu venivi
Lei/ Lui veniva
Noi venivamo
Voi venivate
Loro venivano

And here’s the verb in  the future tense:

Io verrò
Tu verrai
Lei/ Lui verrà
Noi verremo
Voi verrete
Loro verranno

Now you’re ready to see some more examples of the passive voice with the verb venire.

Passive voice with venire: examples

La cena viene servita alle 20.

Dinner is served at 8 pm.

Le pulizie vengono fatte di mattina.

The cleaning is done in the morning.

Il nuovo libro di Mario verrà pubblicato il mese prossimo.

Mario’s new book will be published next month.

I migliori studenti verranno premiati dal preside.

The best students will be rewarded by the principal.

In passato gli studenti che si comportavano male venivano picchiati.

In the past students who behaved badly were beaten.

Why do we use the passive voice with venire?

We use the verb venire to make the sentence slightly more formal, for example in the case of rules, procedures, or court orders.

How to form the passive voice with venire?

With the verb venire plus the past participle of the main verb

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