What is the present participle?
You might be familiar with this term or you might have never heard of it.
In fact, you won’t usually find the Italian present participle in Italian language books for foreigners.
In any case, in today’s post, we’re going to focus on the Italian present participle.
The Italian present participle is the equivalent of the English -ing form.
Think about the following words:
They basically come from the verbs “to irritate”, “to fall”, and “to follow”, but we can use them as adjectives (words describing nouns), as in “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’re 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.
Italian present participles: adjectives
Let’s have a look at some of the most common Italian present participles used as adjectives:
- Allucinante: shocking/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/touching, from commuovere (to move, to touch)
- Potente: powerful/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)
Italian present participles: 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/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)
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.
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