Italian Classroom-Reflexive Verbs

Spoken Italian

Reflexive Verbs

This lesson is about reflexive verbs! A reflexive verb is used when the subject and object of the verb are the same. For example, “kill yourself”. Reflexive verbs are more common in Italian than in English – verbs which in English are too “obvious” to be used in the reflexive form (wake up, get up, wash, clean your teeth, and so on..) do need the reflexive form in Italian. So, for example, in Italian you might “suicide yourself”, absurd as it sounds in English! Many Italian verbs have reflexive forms. You can recognise them because they end in “-si”. For example: alzarsi (get yourself up) svegliarsi (wake yourself up) vestirsi (dress yourself) lavarsi (wash yourself) riposarsi (rest yourself) mettersi (put yourself) fermarsi (stop yourself) sedersi (sit yourself) When you use a reflexive verb you have to put the correct reflexive pronoun before the verbs. The reflexive pronouns are: io – mi tu – ti lui/lei/Lei – si noi – ci voi – vi loro – si Here are two examples of the conjugation of reflexive verbs in Italian: svegliarsi – to wake yourself up (io) mi sveglio (tu) ti svegli (lui/lei/Lei) si sveglia (noi) ci svegliamo (voi) vi svegliate (loro/Loro) si svegliano alzarsi – to get yourself up (io) mi alzo (tu) ti alzi (lui/lei/Lei) si alza (noi) ci alziamo (voi) vi alzate (loro/Loro) si alzano
Reflexive Verbs in the Present Perfect Tense Since all reflexive verbs use essere as the auxiliary verb, the past participle must agree with the subject. The word order is reflexive pronoun + essere + past participle. Mi sono divertita. I had fun. Si è sentito male. He felt bad. Prepositions & adverbs of place
at, to a over / above sopra
in in under / below sotto
on / up su inside dentro
from, by da outside fuori
of di around intorno a
with con between tra
without senza among fra
for per near vicino a
next to accanto a far lontano da
behind dietro before prima (di)
in front of davanti a after dopo (di)
across attraverso against contro
down giù toward verso

Reflexive Verbs:

Reflexive verbs express actions performed by the subject on the subject.  These verbs are conjugated like regular verbs, but a reflexive pronoun precedes the verb form.  This pronoun

always agrees with the subject.  In the infinitive form, reflexive verbs have -si attached to them with the final e dropped.  Lavare is to wash, therefore lavarsi is to wash oneself.  (Note that some verbs are reflexive in Italian, but not in English.)

Reflexive Pronouns
mi ci
ti vi
si si

Common reflexive verbs:

to be satisfied with accontentarsi di to graduate (from college) laurearsi
to fall asleep addormentarsi to wash up lavarsi
to get up alzarsi to put on mettersi
to be bored annoiarsi to get organized organizzarsi
to get angry arrabbiarsi to make a reservation prenotarsi
to be called chiamarsi to remember to ricordarsi di
to forget to dimenticarsi di to make a mistake sbagliarsi
to graduate (from high school) diplomarsi to feel (well, bad) sentirsi (bene, male)
to have a good time divertirsi to specialize specializzarsi
to shave (the face) farsi la barba / radersi to get married sposarsi
to stop (oneself) fermarsi to wake up svegliarsi
to complain about lamentarsi di to get dressed vestirsi

Io mi lavo. I wash myself. Noi ci alziamo presto.  We get up early. Si sveglia alle sette. She wakes up at seven.

The plural reflexive pronouns (ci, vi, si) can also be used with non-reflexive verbs to indicate a reciprocal action.  These verbs are called reciprocal verbs and are expressed by the words each other in English.

to embrace abbracciarsi to run into incontrarsi
to help aiutarsi to fall in love with innamorarsi
to kiss baciarsi to greet salutarsi
to understand capirsi to write to scriversi
to meet conoscersi to phone telefonarsi
to exchange gifts farsi regali to see vedersi
to look at guardarsi

Ci scriviamo ogni settimana.  We write to each other every week. Vi vedete spesso?  Do you see each other often?


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