How to use “servire a”: Italian grammar lesson 93

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

Unlock the secrets of the Italian language with our guide on using “servire a”! Discover how to express purpose and utility like a native, whether you’re talking about objects or actions. 🇮🇹✨

  • Grasp the Basics: “Servire a” is your go-to phrase for explaining what something is used for in Italian. It’s a must-know for sounding like a local! 🗝️
  • Conjugation is Key: Remember to conjugate servire correctly! Use the 3rd person singular or plural to match your subject, and you’re golden. 📚
  • Infinitive Insight: After “servire a”, an infinitive verb usually follows. It’s like setting the stage for the action that’s being described. 🎭
  • Noun Nuances: Sometimes, “servire a” can be followed by a noun instead of a verb. It’s a handy shortcut when the action is clear from context. 🧩
  • Positive or Negative: Whether you’re affirming or negating, “servire a” has got you covered. Use it to highlight usefulness or lack thereof. 👍👎
  • Real-Life Relevance: Dive into everyday Italian with examples that show how “servire a” is used in common scenarios. It’s practical language learning at its best! 🛠️
  • Question Formulation: Curious about an object’s purpose? “A cosa serve” is your phrase for inquiry. Just add the item in question, and voilà! 🔍
  • Context is Crucial: Keep in mind the context when using “servire a”. It’ll guide you in choosing between singular or plural forms. 🌐
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Try using “servire a” in your Italian conversations. The more you practice, the more naturally it’ll come to you. 💬
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What is servire a in Italian?

The expression servire a is used in Italian to describe the purpose something serves (yes, servire on its own can also mean to serve).

Let’s have a look at some examples first:

A che cosa serve questo?

What is this used for?

Non serve a niente.

It is useless. (It does not serve any purpose.)

How to use servire a?

serve a italian

This expression might be a bit tricky to use, but it is really common to hear it in Italian conversations, and it will make you a little closer to sounding like a native speaker!

You can use it, for example, if you want to know what is the purpose of an object or action.

Let’s have a look at the following examples:

A cosa serve questa corda?

What is this rope (made or used) for?

A cosa servirebbe dirglielo?

What would be the use of telling him?

For using servire a, in a positive or negative sentence, you need to conjugate the verb servire in the 3rd person singular (lei serve, lui serve) or plural (loro servono) according to the subject and add an infinitive verb after the preposition a.

Il cavatappi serve ad aprire le bottiglie di vino.

The corkscrew is used to open wine bottles.

Queste corde servono a scendere dalla montagna in modo sicuro.

These ropes are made or used for descending the mountain safely.

This expression is usually followed by a verb in the infinitive, but it can sometimes be followed by a noun, for example with niente (nothing) or a pronoun, if referring to something already mentioned or implied.

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In both cases, it is as if the verb fare were omitted.

Non serve a (fare) niente.

It is useless.

Attento, non serve a (fare) quello.

Be careful, it isn’t used for that.

Servire a: more examples

a che cosa serve italian

As we already mentioned, servire a can be used both with objects or actions, in the singular or plural form.

Have a look at some more examples of how to use it in context.

Un coltellino svizzero può servire a fare mille cose diverse.

A Swiss knife can be used for many different things.

Questo tubo serve a far arrivare l’acqua fino alla casa.

This pipe is used to get the water all the way to the house.

Non serve a niente andare adesso, è troppo tardi.

It is useless to go now, it is too late.

A che cosa serve questo pulsante?

What is this button for?

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FAQs on How to use “servire a”: Italian grammar lesson 93

What does "servire a " means?

To be made or used for

How is "servire a" composed?

Conjugate the verb in the 3rd person singular or plural and add an infinitive verb after the preposition a.

"Servire a" can be followed by

Infinitive verb, a noun or a pronoun.

Italian word of the day
lunga
Example
È una giornata lunga.
It’s a long day.
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One Response

  1. This is such a helpful lesson! Grazie mille for breaking down how to use “servire a” in Italian grammar. Can’t wait to practice using it in conversation!

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