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Past Infinitive – Infinito passato: Italian grammar lesson 192

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Past infinitive in Italian

The infinitive form of the verb (amare – to love; correre – to run; dormire – to sleep; etc.) actually have a past tense in Italian: the infinito passato, or infinito composto (past infinitive).

Have a look at the examples below, in which you will see the present infinitive and the past infinitive of some common Italian verbs.

  • mangiare – aver mangiato
    to eat to have eaten
  • andare – essere andato
    to go to have gone
  • bere – aver bevuto
    to drink to have drunk

This form is very simple, and it never changes: as it still an infinitive form, it has no conjugation. With the following tips you’ll be using it correctly with no problems.

Let’s have a look at how to form the infinito passato with both transitive and intransitive verbs.

 Infinito passato Italian

Infinito passato with transitive verbs

Transitive verbs are verbs that take a direct object. To form the past infinitive of these verb, we simply use the auxiliary verb avere (to have) in the infinitive form followed by the past participle of the verb in question.

  • Infinito passato with transitive verbs: AVERE + Past Participle
Infinito Infinito passato
cantare (to sing) avere cantato (to have sung)
ridere (to laugh) avere riso (to have laughed)
leggere (to read) avere letto (to have read)
  • Dopo aver riso così tanto mi faceva male la pancia.
    After having laughed so much my belly hurt.
  • Come ti senti dopo avere letto la poesia che ti ha dedicato?
    How do you feel after having read the poem she dedicated to you?

Transitive and intransitive Italian

Infinito passato with intransitive verbs

Intransitive verbs do not require a direct object, and they usually take the auxiliary verb essere (to be).

  • Infinito passato with intransitive verbs: ESSERE + Past Participle
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In this case, however, there is one more thing to pay attention to: the past participle must agree in gender and number with the subject described.

  • Mi dispiace essere andata a casa presto.
    I am sorry to have gone home early. – I am sorry I went home early.
  • Ci siamo resi conto di essere stati maleducati.
    We realised to have been unpolite. – We realised we were unpolite.
Infinito Infinito passato
andare (to go) essere andato/a/e/i (to have gone)
essere (to be) essere stato/a/e/i (to have laughed)
venire (to come) essere venuto/a/e/i (to have come)

Infinito passato with reflexive verbs

With reflexive verbs, and all the verbs that behave like reflexive verbs, the construction is the same as with intransitive verbs (ESSERE + past participle), but the reflexive particle jumps to the infinitive auxiliary verb essere (to be), which becomes esser –mi/-ti/-gli/-le/-ci/-vi/-gli, depending on the subject.

Remember also that the past participle must agree with the gender and number of the subject!

Subject Infinito Infinito passato
io perdermi essermi perso/a
tu perderti esserti perso/a
lui/lei perdersi essersi perso/a
noi perderci esserci persi/e
voi perdervi esservi persi/e
loro perdersi esservsi persi/e
  • Quando mi accorsi di essermi persa, era troppo tardi.
    When I realised to have been lost (that I was lost), it was too late.
  • Sei stato fortunate a non esserti ferito seriamente nell’incidente.
    You were lucky not to have been seriously hurt in the accident.

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