Home Italian Language When to Use ‘Essere’ or ‘Avere’ in Italian

When to Use ‘Essere’ or ‘Avere’ in Italian

When to Use ‘Essere’ or ‘Avere’ in Italian


Fortunately for learners, Italian and English are two languages shut sufficient to have a reasonably comparable use of the verbs essere (to be) and avere (to have).

Normally, an intuitive use of those two verbs could also be appropriate, however should you want to enhance your information of Italian, it’s essential to level out some necessary variations.

With a view to handle this matter in a transparent means, I’ll divide this clarification into six components and some shorter paragraphs.

when to use avere or essere in italian

PART 1. Variations within the Use of ‘Essere’ and ‘Avere’ in On a regular basis Sentences

1.1 Once you introduce your self in Italian, you should use the verb essere to say your title, career, and nationality:

  • Sono Roberto = I’m Roberto
  • Sono insegnante di matematica = I’m a math instructor
  • Sono svizzero = I’m Swiss

However with regards to speaking your age (should you actually need to) keep in mind to make use of avere:

  • Ho 45 anni = I’m 45 years previous

This actually corresponds to the English: I’ve 45 years.

In a while, it could be applicable to ask How are you?’ which in Italian is perceived as an actual query and never solely as a type of greeting. On this case, keep in mind to translate the verb to be with stare (to remain):

  • Come stai? = How are you?
  • Sto bene, grazie = I’m advantageous, thanks

1.2 You possibly can after all specific your feelings and emotions with the verb essere:

  • Sono felice = I’m glad
  • Sono triste = I’m unhappy

Nevertheless, there’s a totally different means of expressing some necessary bodily wants, which name for the verb avere:

  • Ho fame = I’m hungry
  • Ho sete = I’m thirsty 
  • Ho sonno = I’m sleepy

1.3 When one thing is just not actually clear or doesn’t seem to be the best factor to do, you may say:

  • Non ha senso! = It doesn’t make sense!

On this case you may’t translate make with fare. Which is humorous as a result of fairly often the alternative is true, as in fare la doccia (to have a bathe), fare colazione (to have breakfast), fare una passeggiata (to have a stroll), and so forth.

1.4 Avere voglia di It is a generally used formulation to precise the will to do or expertise one thing. The depth of this need is dependent upon the context by which it’s expressed.

  • Ho voglia di fare una passeggiata = I really feel like (going for) a stroll
  • Non ho voglia di lavorare oggi = I don’t really feel like working in the present day
  • Hai voglia di un gelato? = Would you like/fancy an ice cream?

PART 2. ‘Avercela’ and ‘Esserci’

Avercela and esserci are two ‘verbi pronominali’. A verb known as ‘pronominale’ when a number of pronouns are added to its authentic type, altering its which means. 

On this case:

  • Avere + ci + la = avercela
  • Essere + ci = esserci

New meanings:

  • Avercela (con qualcuno) = to be upset/mad (with/at somebody) 
  • Esserci = to be there 


  • Marco ce l’ha con Paolo perché non l’ha invitato alla festa = Marco is mad at Paolo as a result of he didn’t invite him to the get together
  • Non so se c’è ancora del latte in frigo = I don’t know if there’s any extra milk within the fridge

PART 3. ‘Essere’ and ‘Avere’ in Compound Tenses

3.1 A compound tense is a verb development that makes use of a couple of phrase to precise a which means, whereas a easy tense simply wants one. This occurs each in Italian and English, however with an necessary distinction. In English the auxiliary verb – the primary phrase of a compound tense – is at all times a type of the verb ‘to have‘, whereas in Italian it may be a type of avere or essere.

There may be really one thing extra to say about compound tenses of their progressive type, however we are going to see that within the subsequent paragraph.

Examples of Easy Tenses are the presente indicativo in Italian and the current easy in English:

  • Elisa legge = Elisa reads
  • Noi camminiamo = We stroll

Examples of Compound Tenses are the passato prossimo and the current good :

  • Elisa ha letto = Elisa has learn 
  • Noi abbiamo camminato = We’ve got walked

Because of the similarity between these tenses within the two languages, the next examples on this paragraph will likely be within the passato prossimo accompanied by a most popular translation within the current good. In actual life, although, the previous easy tense could also be the best option.

So how do we all know which auxiliary verb to make use of in Italian? Here’s a doable technique: we assume that avere (to have) is the default auxiliary verb however that we have to change it to essere (to be) in some particular circumstances.

We’ve got to make use of the verb essere within the following instances: 

Compound tenses of the verb essere itself:

  • Io sono stato = I’ve been
  • Noi siamo stati = We’ve got been

Compound tenses of verbs that describe a change or transformation:

  • Crescere → io sono cresciuto = I’ve grown
  • Diventare → io sono diventato = I’ve turn into
  • Cambiare → io sono cambiato = I’ve modified
  • Dimagrire → io sono dimagrito = I’ve misplaced weight
  • Ingrassare → io sono ingrassato = I’ve placed on weight

Compound tenses of verbs that point out a “directional” motion, however don’t describe how the motion occurs:

We use essere with: 

  • Andare → io sono andato = I’ve gone
  • Uscire → io sono uscito = I’ve gone out/exited 
  • Arrivare → io sono arrivato = I’ve arrived
  • Tornare → io sono tornato = I’ve come again

However we use avere with:

  • Camminare → io ho camminato = I’ve walked
  • Ballare → io ho ballato = I’ve danced
  • Correre → io ho corso = I’ve run 

Compound tenses that point out your location:

  • Stare → io sono stato = I’ve stayed
  • Rimanere → io sono rimasto = I’ve remained

Compound tenses of reflexive verbs:

  • Svegliarsi → io mi sono svegliato = I’ve woken up
  • Ricordarsi → io mi sono ricordato = I’ve remembered
  • Presentarsi → io mi sono presentato = I’ve launched myself

3.2 Progressive tenses are a particular kind of compound tenses that describe ongoing actions prior to now, current, and future. It sounds sophisticated however simply check out the next English / Italian examples and attempt to discover what occurs within the translation:

Previous: I used to be consuming = io stavo mangiando

Current: I’m consuming = io sto mangiando

Future: I’ll be consuming = io starò mangiando

Effectively, moreover the truth that the English suffix -ing turns into -ando in Italian (and in different instances -endo), probably the most exceptional factor is that to be right here is just not translated with essere, however with stare / to remain.

This occurred earlier than, do you keep in mind when? In case you don’t, you need to learn this text yet one more time!

PART 4. ‘Essere’ and ‘Avere’ as Auxiliary of Modal Verbs

Modal verbs are specific verbs that may have an autonomous which means or be linked to a different verb to ‘modulate’ its which means. When they’re autonomous, volere (to need), dovere (should / to need to), potere (can / to give you the option) and generally sapere (to know / to understand how) at all times have avere as their auxiliary verb:

  • Marco ha voluto il gelato e non la torta = Marco wished the ice cream, not the cake

However after they consult with different verbs it’s higher to make use of the auxiliary of the verb whose which means they modulate. Within the following examples, you may see that two totally different auxiliaries are used due to the verbs that observe dovere.

  • Sono dovuto andare in ufficio prima = I needed to go to the workplace earlier
  • Hanno dovuto prendere una decisione = They needed to decide

PART 5. Impersonal Types

Impersonal varieties are used to precise basic actions and might be constructed in numerous methods. More often than not, they want essere aside from verbs used to speak concerning the climate (see paragraph 5.4.)

5.1 Essere + adjective / adverb:

  • È possibile riprogrammare la lezione? = Is it doable to reschedule the lesson?
  • È necessario scaricare l’app = It’s essential to obtain the app
  • È bene ripeterlo = It’s good to repeat it

5.2 Verbs that type what known as ‘proposizione soggettiva’ in Italian:

  • È successo molti anni fa = It occurred a few years in the past
  • È sembrato inusuale a tutti = It appeared uncommon to everybody
  • È consigliato mangiare verdure = It’s endorsed to eat greens

5.3 The frequent impersonal development ‘si+verb’ additionally requires the auxiliary essere in compound tenses:

  • Si mangia Sì è mangiato
  • Si visita Siena Si è visitato Siena
  • Si dicono tante cose Si sono dette tante cose

5.4 Once you need to use climate verbs, though you should use essere as an auxiliary verb more often than not, it’s preferable to modify to avere once you need to emphasise the period of the motion.

  • È piovuto un po’ stamattina = It rained a bit of this morning
  • Ieri ha piovuto per due ore = Yesterday it rained for 2 hours

PART 6. Passive Types

In Italian the passive type is rarely constructed on the verb avere, however on the verb essere, and in some instances additionally on the verb venire (provided that venire is employed as a easy tense):

  • La carota è / viene mangiata dal coniglio = The carrot is eaten by the rabbit
  • La riunione è stata rinviata = The assembly has been postponed

Do you are feeling a bit of extra snug with the variations between avere and essere in Italian? Tell us within the feedback beneath!

Written by Nicco Curini, licensed instructor of Italian since 2016, working on-line since 2019. Web site: ditelab.blogspot.com | Social media: InstagramFbTwitter