The present participle: Italian grammar lesson 241


Unlock the charm of Italian with the versatile present participle! Learn how to transform verbs into descriptive adjectives and nouns, and spice up your sentences with this essential grammar tool used by natives.

  • Grasp the Basics: The Italian present participle turns verbs into adjectives or nouns. Just like the English -ing form, it’s a game-changer for vivid descriptions!
  • Forming the Participle: Drop the -are, -ere, or -ire from infinitives and add -ante or -ente for singular, and -anti or -enti for plural. Easy peasy!
  • Adjective Magic: Turn up the flair in your Italian chats with participles as adjectives. Imagine calling someone allucinante (shocking) instead of just interesting!
  • Noun Power: Need to name a person or thing? Present participles have got your back. From amante (lover) to presidente (president), they’re super handy!
  • Linking Like a Pro: Some participles are perfect as linking words, adding a sophisticated twist to your sentences. Use proveniente (that comes from) to connect ideas smoothly.
  • Real-Life Examples: See the present participle in action with examples that’ll stick in your brain. They’re not just grammar; they’re your ticket to sounding like a local!

My thoughts

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.

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.

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)

What are some Italian present participles as nouns?

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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)

How to use Italian present participles as linking words?

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)

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.

What is the present participle in Italian?

The Italian present participle is the equivalent of the English -ing form. It can also be used as a noun, an adjective, or can be used for linking words.

How to form the Italian present participle?

By eliminating the ending of the infinitive (-are, -ere, -ire) and replacing it with: -ante or -anti for -are and -ente or -enti for -ere and -ire.

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Do you feel like going for a walk?
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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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