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 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
|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?
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
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.
|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!
- 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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