Italian language has different kinds of past tenses. Two of them are the passato prossimo and the passato remoto, which you have to study if you want to speak Italian correctly. The use of these past tenses is not as simple as you think, you have to remember in which cases you need to use the passato prossimo and in which cases the passato remoto is better.
Both these verb tenses can be used to talk about actions in the past, the main difference is that if the action has links with present the passato prossimo is better, instead if the action is in the past and doesn’t have links with present the passato remoto is better.
How to form the passato prossimo
In order to form the passato prossimo you need to know that you have to use two elements. The first is the auxiliary verb to be or to have which has to be at simple present, instead the second is the main verb which has to be at past participle. We suggest you to read our guides about the verb to be and the verb to have in Italian.
Let’s see an example: the sentence I have changed school, now I’m in Rome can be translated in Italian with Io ho cambiato scuola, ora sono a Roma. As you can see the verb to have is at simple present, instead the verb to change is at past participle.
How to form the passato remoto
Let’s see now how to form the passato remoto. In this case the action is in the past and it doesn’t have links with present, for example the sentence He slept at his house and ate pasta can be translated with Lui dormì a casa sua e mangiò la pasta. To form this tense you have to study the specific endings, which are different for verbs that end in -are, -ere or -ire.
The passato remoto of the verb mangiare is:
- Io mangiai
- Tu mangiasti
- Egli mangiò
- Noi mangiammo
- Voi mangiaste
- Essi mangiarono
The passato remoto of the verb correre is:
- Io corsi
- Tu corresti
- Egli corse
- Noi corremmo
- Voi correste
- Essi corsero
The passato remoto of the verb dormire is:
- Io dormii
- Tu dormisti
- Egli dormì
- Noi dormimmo
- Voi dormiste
- Essi dormirono
Where to study Italian past tenses
If you want to study Italian past tenses you can join an Italian language course. One of the best schools in Italy is Clidante, which organizes both courses in classroom and online lessons. Here there is the enrollment form to join Clidante and become a student of this school.