In this comprehensive Italian lesson, we will learn the most used Italian past participles and their different uses.
Although this lesson is actually briefer than other verbs lessons, the Past Participle is very important to learn.
Its formation is quite simple.
As in English, the Past Participle in Italian is a central element in most topics of discussion.
In general, the Past Participle is best understood as having 4 distinct uses that include past and present actions, and adjectives.
Although this range in usage seems broad, understanding each particular use can be learned and applied rather easily with practice.
Italian Past Participle Of -ARE Verbs
The Past Participle is rather simple to form. For -are verbs, an -ato is added to the verb’s stem.
For example: The stem of the verb andare (to go) is and-. With this in mind, an –ato is added to and– to form the Past Participle for andare: andato.
Italian Past Participle Of -ERE Verbs
The formation of the Past Participle for -ere verbs follows the same pattern. An -uto is added to the -ere or verb’s stem.
For example: In the case of the verb vedere (to see), its stem is ved-.
An -uto is then added to ved- to form its Past Participle: “veduto”.
Italian Past Participle Of -IRE Verbs
Now you can follow the same method to form the Past Participle for partire (to leave) an -ito is added to its stem, part-.
Its Past Participle is “partito”. With the Past Participle’s basic format in mind, what follows are examples of it for both regular and irregular verbs:
More Examples of the Italian Past Participle of Regular Verbs
InfinitivePast ParticipleInfinitivePast Participlestare (to be/stay)statocantare (to sing)cantatoamare (to love)amatosaltare (to jump)saltatoguardare (to look)guardatocredere (to believe)credutosedere (to sit)sedutovendere (to sell)vendutoperdere (to lose)perdutosentire (to feel/hear)sentitofinire (to end)finitocapire (to understand)capito
Italian Past Participle of Some Italian Irregular Verbs
InfinitivePast Participleessere (to be)stato (been)vedere (to see)visto (seen)dire (to say)detto (said)prendere (to take)preso (taken)risolvere (to resolve)risolto (resolves)scrivere (to write)scritto (written)aprire (to open)aperto (opened)fare (to make)fatto (made)chiudere (to close)chiuso (closed)morire (to die)morto (dead)mettere (to put)messo (put)coprire (to cover)coperto (covered)
The Uses of the Italian Past Participle
The 4 main uses of the Past Participle are as follows:
1. The Past Participle is often used in compound tenses with the auxiliary verb “essere” (to be) or “avere” (to have).
In the present perfect tense, the past participle of the sentence’s main verb is added to “essere” or “avere” to express a past action that has not completely elapsed.
Here are some examples with the present perfect:
Giovanni è stato a casa tutto il giorno.
(John has been home all day.)
Lui ha voluto partire.
(I have wanted to leave.)
Mario ha vissuto a Roma.
(Mario has lived in Rome.)
Here’s an insightful video about the Italian “passato prossimo” (present perfect):
2. The Past Participle is used for the passive voice and usually follows the verbs essere or venire (to come). When the Past Participle reflects the passive voice, it must agree with the subject’s gender and number. For example:
Il soldato viene ferito
(The soldier is hurt.)
La casa è distrutta dal tifone.
(The house is destroyed by a typhoon.)
3. The Past Participle in Italian can also be used as an adjective. Keep in mind that for this use, the Past Participle acts as an adjective and must agree in gender and number with the noun. For example:
Un vestito fatto a mano
(A dress made by hand)
Un bambino educato
(An educated child)
Un bambino viziato
(A spoiled baby)
Italian Past Participle – Exercises
Now let’s try a few exercises. Translate the following phrases into Italian. The answers follow the exercises:
1. An opened door
2. A cleaned room
3. We have spoken.
4. Juan has cooked.
5. A cooked chicken
6. Anna’s brother is gone.
7. The shop is closed.
8. I’ve sold the car.
9. She has opened the window.
10. Have you seen Paul?
Italian Past Participle – Answers to Exercises
1. Una porta aperta
2. Una stanza pulita
3. Abbiamo parlato.
4. Giovanni ha cucinato.
5. Un pollo cucinato
6. Il fratello di Anna è andato.
7. Il negozio è chiuso.
8. Ho venduto la macchina.
9. Lei ha aperto la finestra.
10. Hai visto Paolo?