How to use “sembrare”: Italian grammar lesson 95


Key Takeaways

Dive into the Italian verb sembrare and master the art of expressing opinions! From conjugation to context, this guide has you covered with practical examples and the clever use of indirect object pronouns. 🇮🇹✨

  • Get the Basics: Sembrare means “to seem” or “to appear” in Italian. It’s your go-to verb for sharing how things come across to you, like “sembra facile” (seems easy).
  • Conjugation Is Key: Just like its buddies parlare and cucinare, sembrare is a regular -are verb. Nail the present tense: sembro, sembri, sembra, sembriamo, sembrate, sembrano.
  • It’s All About Perspective: Add oomph to your opinion with indirect object pronouns. Say “mi sembra” (it seems to me) to personalize your statement. It’s all about who’s perceiving what!
  • Context Matters: Spot the difference: “Lei sembra carina” is just an observation, but “Lei mi sembra carina” adds that personal touch, revealing it’s your impression. Subtle but powerful!
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Whip out sembrare in various tenses and scenarios. Describe your grumpy neighbor or the plot twist in the latest Italian drama. “Sembra incredibile, no?” (Seems incredible, right?)
  • Listen and Learn: Tune in to Italian media. When characters say “sembra,” pause and repeat. Mimic their inflection. You’ll sound like a local in no time!

Quick facts

When is "sembrare" typically used in Italian?

"Sembrare" is used to express personal opinions about someone or something, often followed by an adjective like "carino" (nice) or "stanco" (tired).

How does "sembrare" function in a sentence?

"Sembrare" is usually followed by an adjective that describes the subject, such as in "Sembri stanca" (You seem tired).

Can "sembrare" be used in different tenses?

Yes, "sembrare" is a regular verb and can be conjugated in past and future tenses, making it versatile for various contexts.

What is the conjugation of "sembrare" in the present tense for "noi"?

In the present tense, "sembrare" conjugates as "noi sembriamo," meaning "we seem."

How do you express "to me" using indirect object pronouns in Italian?

The indirect object pronoun for "to me" is "mi," used to specify the person to whom something seems a certain way.

How would you say "She seems very nice to me" in Italian?

In Italian, you would say "Lei mi sembra tanto carina," indicating the personal opinion of the speaker.

What is the difference between "Lei sembra tanto carina" and "Lei mi sembra tanto carina"?

The first sentence states a general observation, while the second specifies that the observation is from the speaker's perspective.

How do you say "You looked angry tonight" using "sembrare"?

Using "sembrare," you would say "Stasera sembravate arrabbiate," indicating that the subjects appeared angry in the evening.

How do you ask someone how another person seemed to them?

You would ask, "Come ti è sembrato il suo fidanzato?" meaning "How did her boyfriend seem to you?"

How can "sembrare" be used to express surprise?

You can use "sembrare" as in "Sembri sorpreso. Non lo sapevi?" meaning "You seem surprised. Did you not know?"

My Thoughts

What is the meaning of sembrare in Italian?

We use sembrare when we want to give a personal opinion about something or someone.

Usually, it’s followed by an adjective (a word that describes something or someone), such as carino (nice), strano (strange), or stanco (tired).

Let’s have a look at some examples:

Sembri stanca. Stai bene?

You seem tired. Are you ok?

Loro sembrano simpatici.

They seem nice.

Tua mamma sembrava arrabbiata.

Your mum seemed angry.

How to conjugate sembrare?

Sembrare is a regular verb ending in –are such as parlare, camminare, cucinare, etc. This means its conjugation is pretty simple.

Let’s have a look at it in the present:

  • Io sembro (I seem)
  • Tu sembri (You seem)
  • Lui/lei sembra (He/She seems)
  • Noi sembriamo (We seem)
  • Voi sembrate (You seem)
  • Loro sembrano (They seem)

Of course, this verb can also be used in past and future tenses.

How to use mi sembra?

If we want to specify who something seems nice too, we need an indirect object pronoun.

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Let’s have a look at all of them:

  • mi: (to) me
  • ti: (to) you
  • gli/le: (to) him/ her
  • ci: (to) us
  • vi: (to) you
  • gli: (to) them

Have a look at these two very similar sentences, but with a very slight difference:

Lei sembra tanto carina.

She seems very nice.

Lei mi sembra tanto carina.

She seems very nice to me.

Practice with Quizlet

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

Sembrare: examples

Now that you know the conjugation and the role of indirect object pronouns let’s have a look at some more examples:

Ci sembra inutile parlare con il professore.

It seems useless to us to talk to the teacher.

Stasera sembravate arrabbiate.

You looked angry tonight.

Come ti è sembrato il suo fidanzato?

How did her boyfriend seem to you?

Sembri sorpreso. Non lo sapevi?

You seem surprised. Did you not know?

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions

What does "sembrare" mean in Italian?

The word "sembrare" is an Italian verb that is commonly used in the third person to convey the meaning of to seem.

How to use "mi sembra"?

For specifying who something seems nice too, an indirect object pronoun is needed.

Italian word of the day
Hai la febbre! Sì, mi è venuta l’influenza.
You have a fever! Yes, I got influenza.
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