Prefix “Ri-” : Italian grammar lesson 79


Unlock the secrets of the Italian language by mastering the versatile prefix Ri-! This guide will show you how to add layers of meaning, from repetition to intensity, to your Italian verbs. 🇮🇹✨

  • Get Repetitive: Just like “Re-” in English, the Italian Ri- can turn any verb into an action you’re doing all over again. Rifare (redo), Riscrivere (rewrite), Riusare (reuse) – it’s déjà vu in verb form!
  • Call Back, Watch Again: Need to say “call back” or “watch again” in Italian? Easy peasy with Richiamare and Rivedere. The prefix Ri- has got your back for all things rerun.
  • Tricky Verbs Alert: Watch out! Some Italian verbs with Ri- are lone wolves – their root verbs don’t exist or mean something totally different. Language quirks at their finest!
  • Return to the Scene: Lost something? Ri- to the rescue! Use it to express regaining or finding something lost, like Riacquistare (regain) or Ritrovare (find again). It’s like a linguistic boomerang!
  • Turn Up the Heat: When you want to emphasize the oomph in an action, slap on a Ri-. Riscaldare (heat up), Ricercare (research), Ripulire (clean up) – it’s like hitting the action with a lightning bolt of intensity!

My thoughts

What is a prefix?

A prefix is usually made up of a few letters and can be placed at the beginning of a word to modify its meaning. Prefixes are used in English and Italian all the time, even if you might not have realized it before!

In this lesson, we will look at the prefix Re- and how to use it in Italian. We can find this prefix in English as well in words such as redo, rewrite, reuse, etc.

Yes, you have guessed well: the prefix Re- is used to add a sense of repetitiveness to verbs, it conveys the meaning of doing something again.

The Italian equivalent of Re- is Ri-. Pretty easy, right?

Let’s look at some examples of the Italian prefix Ri- in use:







How to use the prefix Ri- in Italian?

The prefix Ri- in Italian has a similar meaning to the prefix Re- in English, but of course, it is used in a great number of verbs, even when it does not appear in English.

You can use it, for example, to say to call back (richiamare), and to watch or listen again (rivedere, riascoltare, etc.)

Richiama più tardi, sono occupata.

Call me back later; I am busy.

Vogliamo rivedere quel film, ci è piaciuto molto.

We want to watch that film again, we liked it.

Devo riascoltare il podcast di ieri perché mi sono addormentato.

I need to listen to yesterday’s podcast again because I fell asleep.

Be careful, some verbs in Italian start with the prefix Ri-, but the verb without the prefix does not exist or has a completely different meaning!

This is because the verbs come from a Latin origin or have come to take on a different meaning with time and the evolution of the Italian language.

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Let’s see some examples:


Obtain, acquire


Withdraw, retreat



Practice with Quizlet

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

What are other meanings of the prefix Ri-?

The prefix Ri- in Italian can also be used to indicate a return to a previous phase after an action opposite to that of the verb without the prefix.

For example, riacquistare or riguadagnare (to regain) means to get back what has been lost. While rialzare means to pick up what has fallen and ritrovare to find what was lost, etc.

Let’s see some examples:

Voglio riguadagnare la sua fiducia.

I want to regain his trust.

Con il tuo aiuto ho ritrovato il coraggio di viaggiare da sola.

With your help I found once again the courage to travel alone.

Sometimes, Ri- can also add intensity to the action described, as in:


Heat up




Clean up

What is the purpose of the prefix "ri-" in Italian verbs?

The prefix "ri-" in Italian verbs is used to indicate repetition, a return to a previous state, or a reversal of an action. It can be attached to various verbs to modify their meaning, emphasizing the idea of doing something again or undoing a previous action.

Are there any rules for attaching the prefix "ri-" to Italian verbs?

Generally, the prefix "ri-" can be attached to many Italian verbs without altering their stem. However, there may be some irregular verbs or cases where the spelling or pronunciation changes slightly. It is essential to become familiar with the specific verbs and their conjugations to use the prefix "ri-" correctly.

How does the prefix "ri-" affect verb conjugation in Italian?

The prefix "ri-" does not usually affect the conjugation of the verb it is attached to. You would conjugate the verb as you would without the prefix, only with the added meaning provided by "ri-".

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