In this article I want to propose to you 17 verbs useful to talk with any person in Italian regardless of the context in which you are. These are verbs that we Italians use very often when we speak and that therefore you have to know!
Fundamental Verbs for Speaking in Italian!
Let’s start with the first one:
1 – Pensare (to think)
The verb “pensare” can be used to express one’s opinion. For example: “Penso che il tuo comportamento sia impertimente” (“I think your behavior is inappropriate”) or in response to a question we don’t know exactly the answer to, we might say, “Penso di sì” (“I think so”), “Penso di no” (“I think not”). But the verb “pensare” can also be used with the meaning of “reflecting”. For example, when you don’t know what to say or don’t know the answer to a question, you might say,”Fammi pensare” (“let me think”) that is, let me reflect on this matter.
2 -Affrontare (to face/to tackle)
The verb “affrontare” can refer to the act of physically confronting someone or something or when dealing with something. For example:
A: “Il cambio climatico è un problema che bisogna affrontare immediatamente” (“Climate change is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately”)
B: “Sono d’accordo! Ma prima dobbiamo affrontare il problema delle fake news!” (“I agree! But first we have to deal with the fake news issue!”)
3 – Aprire (to open)
The verb “aprire” has several meanings: in a literal sense it means “to break through something” or, more simply, it is the opposite of “to close”; figuratively it takes on a particular meaning, just look at the example.
A:”Puoi aprire la porta, per favore?” (“Can you open the door, please?”)
B: “Aprirò la porta, a patto che tu apra gli occhi e non ti faccia rubare la borsa!” (“I will open the door, as long as you open your eyes and don’t let someone steal your bag!”)
Have you noticed? “Aprire gli occhi” (“open your eyes”) is an expression equivalent to “stare attento/a” (“be careful”).
4 – Chiudere (to close)
“Chiudere” is the opposite of “aprire”, but beware of the expression”chiudere un occhio” (“to turn a blind eye”) because it means “to ignore”. For example:
“Il bambino aveva rubato delle caramelle, ma il proprietario del negozio chiuse un occhio” (“The child had stolen the candy, but the store owner turned a blind eye”).
5 – Alzare (to raise)
It means “to move something or someone up”; for example, “Io ho alzato i libri” (“I raise the books”). Be careful, however, about its reflective form “alzarsi” which means “standing up from a sitting or lying position” or “waking up” after sleeping.
6 – Capire (to understand)
This verb means “to comprehend, to grasp a concept with your mind.” For example:
G: “Non ho capito quello che hai detto…” (“I didn’t understand what you said…”)
7 – Lavorare (to work)
“Lavorare” means “to perform an activity, physical or intellectual, usually in exchange for a certain amount of money.” For example:”Il mio lavoro attuale è insegnare italiano” (“My current job is to teach Italian”).
8 – Trovare (to find)
“Trovare” means “to recover something you want or want.”For example: “Yesterday I searched for my old book for 3 hours, but I couldn’t find it.”
9 -Festeggiare (to celebrate)
“Festeggiare” means “to celebrate, emphasize or remember something through a celebration.” For example, Rocco and I celebrated the achievement of 10 thousand followers with a party! Do you remember that?
10 – Dare (to give)
“Dare” means “to give, pass something on to someone.”
11 – Giocare (to play)
It means “spending time, devoting yourself to something for entertainment, usually a game.”
12 – Dire (to say)
“Dire” simply means “pronounce, articulate with your voice.” For example: “Rosalba mi ha detto che non vuole più parlare con sua madre” (“Rosalba told me she doesn’t want to talk to her mother anymore.”)
13 – Perdere (to lose)
“Perdere” has two main meanings: the first is “to lose”, for example:”Angela è molto sbadata, perde sempre le chiavi della macchina” (“Angela is very careless, she always loses the car keys”); the second meaning is “to be defeated” in a competition, battle, challenge, etc. For example: “Juventus always loses the Champions League finals”.
14 – Scambiare (to swap/exchange)
This verb also has two meanings: the first one is “to give something for something else”. For example:”Da bambina scambiai la mia bambola per un aeroplanino: mi è sempre piaciuto viaggiare!” (“As a child, I exchanged my doll for an airplane: I’ve always liked to travel!”). The second meaning is “confusing someone or something for somebody/something else”. For example, “yesterday I mistook my neighbor for my mother.”
15 – Vedere (to see)
This verb refers to the act of noticing something through the sense of sight. Usually, “vedere” is an involuntary act, while “guardare” (watching) and “osservare” (osservare) indicate the act of noticing something voluntarily and carefully.
In any case, if you want to delve into the difference between these verbs, take a look at the video-lesson about guardare, vedere, osservare and scrutare!
16 – Andare (to go)
This verb means “to move yourself from a place to another”. For example, “Satsera sono andata al cinema a vedere l’ultimo film di Checco Zalone: Tolo Tolo” (“tonight I went to the cinema to watch Checco Zalone’s latest film: Tolo Tolo”). Be careful not to confuse this verb with “venire” (to come). I know that unfortunately these two verbs, “andare e venire”, create a lot of confusion for foreigners because they have a different use in other languages. For this reason, I recommend watching the lesson dedicated to the differences between ANDARE and VENIRE!
17 – Chiamare qualcuno (to call someone)
G: “Rocco! Rocco! Rocco, ti sto chiamando, perché non rispondi?” (“Rocco! Rocco! Rocco, I am calling you, why don’t you turn around and answer me?”)
R: “Perché sto chiamando Laura” (“Because I’m calling Laura!”)
As you can see, this verb can be used both in person and also when you are using the phone, as a synonym for “telefonare” (“calling on the phone”).
“Chiamare” holds the object complement, that is, the direct complement.
“Io sto chiamando qualcuno” = “Lo chiamo”
While “telefonare” holds the term complement, that is, the indirect complement.
“Io telefono a qualcuno” = “Io gli telefono”
If you want to repeat direct and indirect pronouns, take a look at our lesson exclusively dedicated to this topic!