This Italian Grammar lesson covers the Italian Reflexive Verbs and the Italian Reflexive Pronouns.
Introduction to Italian Reflexive Verbs
In the Italian language, a verb is considered reflexive if the subject (the performer of the action) and the object (the receiver of the action) are the same.
Here’s an example of a reflexive verb being used in English:
I wash myself.
In the above sentence, the verb “wash” is considered reflexive because the subject or the one performing the action (“I”) and the object or the one receiving the action (“myself”) are the same.
On the other hand, if I said “I wash the baby,” the verb “wash” is no longer reflexive because the subject or the one performing the action (“I”) and the object or the one receiving the action (“baby”) are not the same.
The Italian Reflexive Pronouns
The Italian reflexive verbs consist of a verb and a reflexive pronoun. The following are reflexive pronouns or objects of reflexive verbs:
mi = myself
ti = yourself (tú form)
si = yourself (usted form)
ci = ourselves
vi = yourselves
si = themselves, yourselves
When there is just one verb in the sentence, the reflexive pronoun must come before the reflexive verb:
Mi lavo. = I wash myself.
However, when there are two verbs in the sentence, the reflexive pronoun either comes right before the first verb or follows the second verb (attached to the end):
Mi voglio lavare. = I want to wash myself.
Voglio lavarmi. = I want to wash myself.
Italian Reflexive Verbs – Examples
Here are some examples of Italian reflexive verbs:
Mi raso = I shave myself
Ti pettini = You comb your hair
Si chiama Giovanni = His name is Juan (“He calls himself John”)
Mi diverto = I’m having fun (Literally “I enjoy myself.”)
Si annoiano = They get bored
Se alzano = They get up
Ti lavi i denti = You brush your teeth.
Literally, “i denti” means “the teeth” and not “your teeth.” Since we are using the reflexive pronoun “ti” it is obvious whose teeth we are talking about.
List of Common Italian Reflexive Verbs
Here some common Italian Reflexive Verbs:
addormentarsi = to fall asleep
alzarsi = to get up
ammalarsi = to get sick
arrabbiarsi = to get angry
coricarsi = to go to bed
chiamarsi = to be named, to be called
divertirsi = to enjoy oneself
domandarsi = to wonder
guardarsi = to look at oneself
lavarsi = to wash oneself
lamentarsi= to complain
nascondersi = to hide oneself
pettinarsi = to comb (one’s hair)
rasarsi = to shave oneself
riposarsi = to rest
rompersi = to break (one’s leg, arm…)
sbagliarsi = to be mistaken
seccarsi = to dry one’s self
sedersi = to sit down
sentirsi = to feel
spogliarsi = to get undressed
svegliarsi = to wake up
truccarsi = to put on makeup
vestirsi = to get dressed
Learn Italian Reflexive Verbs – Exercises
Now let’s try a few exercises. Translate the following into Italian. The answers are at the bottom of this page.
1. My name is Patrick
2. You always complain about something. (Use “tu” form)
3. You can wash your feet. (Use “tú” form)
4. Do you always comb your hair like this?
5. He takes off his jacket.
6. We wash our hands before dinner.
7. They wake up very late.
How to Use the Italian Reflexive Verbs – Easy Video Lesson
Italian Reflexive Verbs – The Present Tense of “Lavarsi”
Tu ti lavi
Lui / Lei si lava
Noi ci laviamo
Voi vi lavate
Loro si lavanoI wash myself
You wash yourself
He / She washes
We wash ourselves
You wash yourselves
They wash themselves
Learn Italian Reflexive Verbs – Answers
1. Mi chiamo Patrick.
2. Ti lamenti sempre di qualcosa.
3. Te puoi lavare i piedi. Puoi lavarti i piedi
4. Ti pettini sempre cosi?
5. Lui si leva la giacca.
6. Ci laviamo le mani prima di cena.
7. Loro si alzano molto tardi.