The present subjunctive (or congiuntivo)

In Italian, the congiuntivo presente (present subjunctive) is a common form, used both in more archaic as well as modern Italian. Rather than stating facts (as with the indicative mood), it expresses doubtpossibilityuncertainty, opinion, or personal feelings. It can also express emotiondesire, or suggestions.

The endings of first-conjugation verbs in the present subjunctive are –i, –i, –i, –iamo, –iate, –ino.

The endings for the second and third conjugations and all irregular verbs are –a, –a, –a, –iamo, –iate, –ano.

I II III III (-isc-)
parl i vend a sent a finisc a
parl i vend a sent a finisc a
parl i vend a sent a finisc a
parl iamo vend iamo sent iamo fin iamo
parl iate vend iate sent iate fin iate
parl ino vend ano sent ano finisc ano

The subjunctive endings are attached to the stem of the verb in all cases.

The only exception is in cases of the –isc– verbs (ex. finire, pulire, spedire, restituire, etc.) of the third conjugation, in which case the –isc– of the present indicative appears in the first, second, and third persons singular and the third person plural.

Note: The “present tense” discussed in previous units is technically called the “present indicative.” The present (and the other indicative tenses) state facts.

The subjunctive is less objective and is essentially a mood of doubt, uncertainty, emotions and personal reaction to facts, rather than a statement of them.

NOTE: In the irregular verbs, it is the stem that is irregular, but the verb is usually easily recognized if you know the present indicative. For example, observe the similarities between the indicative and the subjunctive of the verbs andare and venire.


Indicative                                    Subjunctive

vado        andiamo                       vada        andiamo

vai           andate                          vada        andiate

va             vanno                           vada        vadano



Indicative                                   Subjunctive

vengo       veniamo                     venga       veniamo

vieni         venite                         venga       veniate

viene       vengono                      venga       vengano


Uses and translations of the subjunctive will be taken up in subsequent sections.


aduggi            overshadows (3d sing. pres. subj., aduggiare) agitarsi
to bustle
worthy, deserving
double, twofold
to swarm
gay, merry, cheerful
to arrive, to come (along)
muro  (pl. muri, mura)
was born (3d sing. past abs., nascere)
daily, everyday
tale, story
sia stata
has been (3d sing. f. pres. perf. subj., essere)




Italian for Reading & Translation Copyright © by Lauren Surovi and Carleton W. Carroll. All Rights Reserved.

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