The present participle: Italian grammar lesson 241

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What is the present participle?

You might be familiar with this term or you might have never heard of it because you won’t usually find the Italian present participle in any Italian language books for foreigners.

The Italian present participle is the equivalent of the English -ing form.

Think about the following words:

  • Irritating
  • Falling
  • Following

They basically come from the verbs to irritate, to fall, and to follow, but we can use them as adjectives (words describing nouns). Some examples can be: That person is very irritating or I’ll go the following week.

In Italian, the present participle is also usually used as either a noun or an adjective.

The Italian present participle

How to form the Italian present participle?

The Italian present participle is formed by dropping the ending of the verb in the infinitive (-are, -ere, or -ire) and replacing it with the appropriate participle ending (either singular or plural).

Here are the rules:

  • For are verbs, the endings are ante (singular) and anti (plural).
  • For ere and ire verbs, the endings are ente (singular) and enti (plural)

Here are some examples:

  • Cantare (to sing): cantante, cantanti (noun: singer)
  • Cadere (to fall): cadente, cadenti (adjective: falling)
  • Bollire (to boil): bollente, bollenti (adjective: boiling)

As we already mentioned, present participles can be nouns or adjectives.

How to form the present participle in Italian

What are some Italian present participles as adjectives?

Let’s have a look at some of the most common Italian present participles used as adjectives:

  • Allucinante: shocking or appalling, from allucinare (to hallucinate)
  • Bollente: boiling, from bollire (to boil)
  • Brillante: brilliant, from brillare (to shine)
  • Cadente: falling, from cadere (to fall)
  • Commovente: moving or touching, from commove (to move, to touch)
  • Potente: powerful or potent, from potere (to be able, can)
  • Rinfrescante: refreshing, from rinfrescare (to refresh)
  • Sorridente: smiling, from sorridere (to smile)
  • Trasparente: transparent, from trasparire (to transpire, to shine through)
  • Vivente: living, from vivere (to live)

How to form present participles in Italian

What are some Italian present participles as nouns?

Here’s a list of some of the most common present participles used as nouns:

  • Amante: the lover, from amare (to love)
  • Assistente: the assistant, from assistere (to assist)
  • Cantante: the singer, from cantare (to sing)
  • Comandante: the commander, from comandare (to command)
  • Commerciante: the dealer or trader, from commerciare (to trade, to deal)
  • Colorante: the dye, from colorare (to colour, to dye)
  • Conservante: the preservative, from conservare (to preserve)
  • Corrente: the current (both electrical and water), from correre (to run, to flow)
  • Insegnante: the teacher, from insegnare (to teach)
  • Presidente: the president, from presiedere  (to preside)

Italian present participle

How to use Italian present participles as linking words?

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There are a few past participles that work as linking words, as you can see below:

  • Avente: that has, from avere (to have)
  • Contentente: that contains, from contenere (to contain)
  • Proveniente: that comes from, from provenire (to come from)
  • Derivante: that derives, from derivare (to derive)

Present participle in Italian

Italian present participle: examples

Let’s now have a look at some examples of Italian present participles used as nouns, adjectives, and linking words:

È stata un’esperienza allucinante.

It was a shocking experience.

Ho visto una stella cadente!

I saw a shooting star (literally “a falling star”).

Vorrei una bibita rinfrescante.

I’d like a refreshing drink.

Laura ha un amante!

Laura has a lover!

La mia insegnante è sempre in ritardo.

My teacher is always late.

Il presidente non ha risposto a tutte le domande.

The president didn’t answer to all the questions.

Abbiamo una scatola contenente delle lettere.

We have a box that contains letters.

Questo è uccello proveniente dall’America Latina.

This is a bird that comes from Latin America.

Repubblica è una parola derivante dal latino.

Republic is a word that derives from Latin.

Italian present participles

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FAQs on The present participle: Italian grammar lesson 241

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One Response

  1. Lesson 241
    As you suggested, most Italian courses for foreigners don’t cover the Participio Presente. This lesson really brought together the many aspects of ‘-ing’ phrases and how they can be approached via the Present Indicativo (mangio: I eat, I am eating), the gerund via -ando, -endo endings, and now the Participio Presente while subtly different from gerunds per se. I found this note helpful: “Gerunds are specifically placed in the noun position of a sentence whereas present participles are placed with the verb phrase (can be used as noun or adjective), usually as modifiers ie…Ha scommesso sul cavallo vincente e ha vinto un sacco di soldi.”

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