22.1 Introduction- irregular verbs

Here and in other places we have already said that some verbs are conjugated in an irregular way, that's true especially for the passato remoto and the participio perfecto, very seldom for the imperfetto. Some very frequent verbs like fare, essere, dire, conoscere we have already shown. The fact that there are irregular verbs are bad news, that's obvious because you have to learn them by heart. But the problem is not as big as it may appear at first glance because there are regularities inside the irregularities. You can find on the market very thin books, more or less 64 pages, which contains all the Italian verbs, the regular ones as well as the irregular ones. The trick they use is very simple. In Italian, and most languages, there are more or less 2500 verbs, you find them listed at the end of these thin books you can buy everywhere together with a number. The number refers to a pattern and a verb that is conjugated following this pattern and all the other verbs with the same number are conjugated the same way. So you have 2500 verbs, but only 60 patterns and most of this patterns are a mixture of several irregularities and this reduces the problem drastically. With a little bit of practice you can even guess the pattern a verb is conjugated with. In the following chapters we are going to show some of this irregularities, not all of them. We only want to show how these little books are organized.

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