The subjunctive – irregular verbs: Italian grammar lesson 204

To master this grammar topic, take Lesson 204 of the audio course Ripeti Con Me!
the italian subjunctive essere avere fare

The present of the subjunctive: a quick recap

Here we are again with the subjunctive. Before we carry on with irregular verbs, let’s just recap.

We use the present of the subjunctive to talk about hopes, hypotheses, desires, fears, possibilities, and doubts.

We find it mostly after the main clause and it’s usually preceded by the conjunction “che” and expressions like “a meno che non” (unless), “affinché” (so that), prima che (before).

the subjunctive irregular verbs

Irregular verbs

Those verbs that are irregular in the present of the indicative are also irregular in the subjunctive.

You’ll notice again that for “io“, “tu” and “lui/lei” the ending is exactly the same; for “noi“, the subjunctive looks exactly like the present of the indicative, and the recurrence of the letter “i” in some cases.

Make sure you pay attention to this because it will help you memorize them.

Let’s start with some irregular verbs!

the italian subjunctive irregular verbs

Essere, andare, avere

Essere, andare and avere are the most common irregular verbs in Italian. Here’s their conjugation in the present of the subjunctive:

  • Essere: io sia, tu sia, lui/lei sia, noi siamo, voi siate, loro siano.
  • Andare: io vada, tu vada, lui/lei vada, noi andiamo, voi andiate, loro vadano.
  • Avere: io abbia, tu abbia, lui/lei abbia, noi abbiamo, voi abbiate, loro abbiano.

Let’s have a look at some examples:

Mi sembra che voi siate stanchi, volete andare a dormire?

It looks like you’re tired. Do you want to go to sleep?

Spero che Lucia vada dal dottore.

I hope Lucia goes to the doctor’s.

Non credo che loro abbiano voglia di venire.

I don’t think they want to come.

il congiuntivo verbi irregolari

Dare, fare, stare

With these verbs, you’ll notice the recurrence of the letter “i”.

  • Dare: io dia, tu dia, lui/lei dia, noi diamo, voi diate, loro diano.
  • Fare: io faccia, tu faccia, lui/lei faccia, noi facciamo, voi facciate, loro facciano.
  • Stare: io stia, tu stia, lui/lei stia, noi stiamo, voi stiate, loro stiano.

Here are some examples:

Spero che Luca mi dica la verità.

I hope Luca tells me the truth.

Non credo che facciano una festa.

I don’t think they’ll have a party.

È meglio che stiate a casa dato che piove.

It’s better that you stay at home since it’s raining.

essere avere fare dare congiuntivo

Dovere and sapere

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These two verbs are quite irregular and have double consonants. The verb dovere has two possible options for “io”, “tu”, “lui/lei”, and “loro”, so you can choose the one that’s easier for you!

  • Dovere: io debba/deva, tu debba/deva, lui/lei debba/deva, noi dobbiamo, voi dobbiate, loro debbano/devano.
  • Sapere: io sappia, tu sappia, lui/lei sappia, noi sappiamo, voi sappiate, loro sappiano.

Here are some more examples:

Non penso che lei debba venire.

I don’t think she has to come.

È meglio che lei sappia cosa ci hanno detto.

It’s better that she knows what they told us.

essere avere fare subjunctive

Practice with Quizlet

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

Other irregular verbs

Like with regular verbs, in order to form the present of the subjunctive of the following irregular verbs, you have to keep the root of the verb in the present of the indicative and add the corresponding endings which are the following:

io a
tu a
lui/lei a
noi iamo
voi iate
loro ano / –iano
  • Bere: io beva, tu beva, lui/lei beva, noi beviamo, voi beviate, loro bevano.
  • Dire: io dica, tu dica, lui/lei dica, noi diciamo, voi diciate, loro dicano.
  • Potere: io possa, tu possa, lui/lei possa, noi possia, voi possiate, loro possano.
  • Rimanere: io rimanga, tu rimanga, lui/lei rimanga, noi rimaniamo, voi rimaniate, loro rimangano.
  • Scegliere: io scelga, tu scelga, lui/lei scelga, noi scelgiamo, voi scelgiate, loro scelgano.
  • Uscire: io esca, tu esca, lui/lei esca, noi usciamo, voi usciate, loro escano.
  • Venire: io venga, tu venga, lui/lei venga, noi veniamo, voi veniate, loro vengano.
  • Volere: io voglia, tu voglia, lui/lei voglia, noi vogliamo, voi vogliate, loro vogliano.

Let’s have a look at some examples:

Spero che lei possa andare in vacanza.

I hope she can go on holiday.

Non credo che loro escano stasera.

I don’t think they’re going out tonight.

Adriano pensa che voi non vogliate venire.

Adiano thinks that you don’t want to come.

the present of the subjunctive irregular verbs

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