Mi Piace! – Part 1. Posted by Geoff on May 7, 2018 in Grammar
In my last couple of articles we’ve been focusing on pronomi personali indiretti (indirect personal pronouns). Today, we’ll put what we’ve learnt into practice with the important verb piacere (to please).
You won’t get far in Italy without the verb piacere: Ti piace l’Italia? (Do you like Italy?) you’ll be asked, and hopefully you’ll reply: Sì, l’Italia mi piace! (Yes, I like Italy). But isn’t it frustrating that one of the most common and important verbs should be so back to front and complicated?
Well, perhaps it’s not as complicated as it seems. Let’s take a look.
The fundamental thing to accept about using piacere with the meaning of ‘to like’ is that from the perspective of an English speaker it really is back to front. In Italian it’s not the person that does the liking, but the thing that pleases the person. Let’s take another look at that common question, but this time with a literal translation: Ti piace l’Italia? (Does Italy please you?) Sì, l’Italia mi piace! (Yes, Italy pleases me!).
So, if you want to get to grips with piacere you’ll need to stop liking things and start being pleased by them!
This will become more apparent once we move beyond the simple mi piace that we learn as beginners and get into the complicated conjugations.
But let’s begin at the beginning by revising the basic use of piacere with the forme atone of the indirect personal pronouns.
N.B. Understanding how indirect personal pronouns work is a prerequisite for the correct use of piacere. So if you’re not clear about this then you’ll need to go over my article: Italian Indirect Personal Pronouns
Piacere Level 1. Present Tense Singular.
mi piace = it pleases me (I like it)
ti piace = it pleases you singular informal (you like it)
gli piace = it pleases him (he likes it)
le piace = it pleases her (she likes it)
ci piace = it pleases us (we like it)
vi piace = it pleases you plural (you like it)
gli piace = it pleases them (they like it)
N.B. to transform the above into questions simply add a question mark or change your tone of voice: gli piace? = does it please him? (does he like it?), and so on.
mi piace sentire dai lettori = it pleases me to hear from the readers (I like hearing from the readers)
ti piace la mia casa? = does my house please you? (do you like my house?)
gli piace guidare = driving pleases him (he likes driving)
le piace andare al mare = going to the sea pleases her (she likes going to the sea)
ci piace molto il vostro regalo = your present really pleases us (we really like your present)
vi piace camminare? = does walking please you? (do you like walking?)
gli piace Pontremoli? = does Pontremoli please them? (do they like Pontremoli?)
Piacere Level 2. Present Tense Plural.
mi piacciono = they please me (I like them)
ti piacciono = they please you singular informal (you like them)
gli piacciono = they please him (he likes them)
le piacciono = they please her (she likes them)
ci piacciono = they please us (we like them)
vi piacciono = they please you plural (you like them)
gli piacciono = they please them (they like them)
mi piacciono i gatti = cats please me (I like cats)
ti piacciono le scarpe? = do the shoes please you? (you like the shoes?)
gli piacciono le macchine d’epoca = vintage cars please him (he likes vintage cars)
le piacciono i film di Fellini = Fellini’s films please her (she likes Fellini’s films)
ci piacciono i sentieri sperduti = out of the way footpaths please us (we like out of the way footpaths)
vi piacciono questi biscotti? = do these biscuits please you? (do you like these biscuits?)
gli piacciono la pace e la tranquillità della Lunigiana = the peace and quiet of Lunigiana pleases them (they like the peace and quiet of Lunigiana)
Coming up next: Mi Piace! – Part 2. With some tricky conjugations.