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Hot Tip: Mastering Italian Auxiliary Verbs

When in doubt, here are four simple rules for when you need to use the verb ‘essere.’
Hot Tip: Mastering Italian Auxiliary Verbs

When you’re just starting out on your Italian journey, it can be a little dispiriting to learn that the most common verbs are almost all irregular. This includes the Italian auxiliary verbs essere (“to be”) and avere (“to have”), which are used alongside other verbs to indicate the tense.

In addition to having to memorize their irregular forms, you also have to remember when to use essere versus another auxiliary verb.

Babbel Live teacher Mariacristina says, “I find that one of the most painful points of learning Italian [for] students is the correct auxiliary to use in complex verbs.”

To help her students remember the verbs that need the auxiliary essere, Mariacristina gives them four simple rules.

Complex verbs that go with essere include those that describe:

  • Movement
  • Change
  • State
  • Reflection
Looking for more tips like this from top language teachers?
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Steph Koyfman
Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. She’s also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but she’s a little rusty on those fronts.
Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. She’s also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but she’s a little rusty on those fronts.

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