“Portare” and “prendere”: Italian grammar lesson 63

Stefano

Italian language tutor, course author. MEng, MBA. Member of the International Association of Hyperpolyglots (HYPIA). After learning 12 languages, I can tell you that we all master languages by listening and mimicking. I couldn't find an app to recommend to my students, so I made my own one. With my method, you'll be speaking Italian from Lesson 1.

Summary

Get ready to master the Italian verbs portare and prendere! This guide will clear up the confusion and show you exactly when to use each verb, with practical examples that’ll have you sounding like a native in no time. 🇮🇹✨

  • Bring vs Get: Remember, portare is your go-to for ‘to bring’ something to someone, while prendere is all about ‘getting’ or picking up something. Don’t mix them up!
  • Destination Matters: Use portare when you’re taking someone to their destination. Think of it as ‘taking’ them to where they need to go. 🚗
  • Starting Point: Flip it around with prendere when you’re fetching someone from a place. It’s all about the starting point, like ‘getting’ someone from the airport. ✈️
  • Forget ‘To Drive’: In Italian, ditch the verb ‘to drive’ for these situations. You’re not ‘driving’ someone somewhere; you’re portare-ing them!
  • Context is Key: Always consider the context of the action. Are you focusing on where someone is going to end up, or where they’re coming from? That’s your clue for which verb to use. 🔍
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Try out these verbs in different scenarios. Ask a friend if you can portare them somewhere or if they can prendere something for you. Get comfortable with the usage!
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What does portare and prendere mean in Italian?

The verb portare is usually translated in English as the verb to bring, while prendere is normally translated with the verb to get.

Let’s have a look at some examples:

Mi puoi portare un libro?

Can you bring me a book?

Alessandra ha detto che porterà una bottiglia di vino.

Alessandra said she will bring a bottle of wine.

Vieni a prendere le tue cose.

Come and get your things.

Puoi prendere quella scatola?

Can you get that box?

Practice with Quizlet

Here's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.

When to use portare and prendere?

Some uses of prendere and portare are less straightforward. This happens especially when a location is specified, and someone is accompanied or driven to or from that location.

The main cause of confusion is that in English, we can use other kinds of verbs to express this type of action, such as verbs of manner of motion, like to drive or to walk.

They do not indicate any specific direction but only the way the action is carried out, such as by car or on foot.

For example, an English speaker can say I will drive you to the airport. But in Italian, we cannot use the verb guidare (to drive) to translate this sentence.

So how do we know when we should use the verb prendere and when we should use the verb portare?

Let’s find out!

We use portare when the location indicates the end destination of the motion action (the place people are moving to or toward).

In English, we can translate these sentences with the verb to take.

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For example:

Domani mattina ti porto alla stazione.

I’m taking you to the station tomorrow morning.

Maria mi ha chiesto se la posso portare a scuola.

Maria asked me if I can take her to school.

Ti posso portare a casa.

I can take you home.

We use prendere when the location indicates the origin of the motion action (the place people are moving from).

In English, we can translate these sentences with the verb to get.

For example:

Chi ti viene a prendere all’aeroporto?

Who is coming to get you at the airport?

A che ora devi andare a prendere tua figlia a scuola?

What time do you have to go get your daughter at school?

A che ora ti vengo a prendere a casa domani mattina?

What time should I come and get you (from your house) tomorrow?

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FAQs on “Portare” and “prendere”: Italian grammar lesson 63

What does "portare" and "prendere" mean in Italian?

The verb "portare" is translated in English as to bring. And "prendere" is translated as to get.

When to use "portare"?

When the location indicates the end destination of the motion action. In English it would be using the verb to take.

When to use "prendere"?

When the location indicates the origin of the motion action. In English it would be to get.

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Example
Finalmente abbiamo finito! Sono proprio contento.
Finally we’re done! I’m really glad.
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