6.2 Conjugation in the present tense

To conjugate a verb means that you add some extra information to the infinitive. If you do not conjugate it, you need a personal pronoun in order to add this information. Let's explain it with an example.

They swim.

In this case it is very clear who is swimming, they. If you don't add the pronoun, you only know what someone is doing, but you don't know who is doing it, swim alone does not tell you who is swimming. The situation changes if you have something like


In this case you know that he, she or it is swimming. You may think that this is irrelevant, but here the author doesn't agree because there are languages, which indicates who is actually doing the action described by the verb through conjugation, for example Italian. In Italian every person has its own declension, meaning there is a different ending, depending on whether we are talking about 'I', 'you', 'he', 'she', 'we', 'you', 'they'.

So there is no need to put a pronoun and normally there is no pronoun in front of the verb. We are still going to use pronouns for a while, but we will stop doing it later.

verbs ending on -are verbs ending on -ere verbs ending on -ire
infinitive translation   infinitiv translation   infinitiv translation  
  parlare to speak
vendere to sell
partire to leave
  comprare to sell
vedere to see
aprire to open
  saltare to spring
credere to believe
soffrire to suffer

To conjugate a verb it is necessary to know the stem, because the respective endings are added to the stem. You get the stem if you take away the endings of the infinitive (-are, -ere, -ire).

  Formation of the stem    
  verbs on -are verbs on -ere verbs on -ire
verb stem ending verb stem ending verb stem ending
  parlare parl are vendere vend ere partire part ire
  comprare compr are vedere ved ere aprire apr ire
  saltare salt are credere cred ere soffrire soffr ire

To the stem is added the ending and these endings are different for each type of verb.

  Pronoun verbs on -are verbs on -ere verbs on -ire
stem ending stem ending stem ending
io parl o vend o part o
  tu parl i vend i part i
  lui parl a vend e part e
  lei parl a vend e part e
  noi parl iamo vend iamo part iamo
  voi parl ate vend ete part ite
  loro parl ano vend ono part ono

And know we can built our first simple sentences.

Some sentences  
  Io compro la casa. => I buy the house.
  Noi vediamo la ragazza. => We see the girl.
  La ragazza mangia una mela. => The girl eats an apple.
  I ragazzi scrivono una lettera. => The boys write a letter.
  Le donne aprono la porta. => The women open the door.
  Voi vendete la vostra macchina. => You sell your car.

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