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The Living Dead or How to use the Present Participle in Italian Posted by on Jan 9, 2014 in Grammar

Hands up who knows what the participio presente (present participle) is. What, no one? Well it’s not really that surprising, in fact the present participle is not even usually found in Italian language books for foreigners.

The present participle is easily recognisable by its particular ending: –are verbs (such as tremare) change their ending to –ante (singular) or –anti (plural), e.g. tremare (to tremble) becomes tremante/i (trembling);  –ere or –ire verbs change their ending to –ente in the singular, and –enti in the plural, e.g. cadere (to fall) becomes cadente/i (falling), seguire (to follow) becomes seguente/i (following). What is its grammatical use? In modern Italian il participio presente is used either as a noun, or as an adjective

Here is a list of some common nouns which derive from the present participles of verbs:

l’insegnante = the teacher, from insegnare (to teach)

il comandante = the commander, from comandare (to command)

il/la cantante= the singer, from cantare (to sing)

il presidente = the president, from presiedere  (to preside)

l’amante = the lover, from amare (to love)

04-Rene-Magritte-The-Lovers-1928
Gli Amanti di René Magritte

il conducente = the driver, from the irregular verb condurre (to lead, to drive)

il/la paziente = the patient, from the Latin verb patior (to suffer)

il/la commerciante = the dealer/trader, from commerciare (to trade, to deal)

la  corrente = the current (both electrical and water), from correre (to run, to flow)

l’ammorbidente = the fabric conditioner, from ammorbidire (to soften)

il conservante = the preservative, from conservare (to preserve)

il colorante = the dye, from colorare (to colour, to dye)

 

The following is a list of adjectives which derive from present participles. N.B. almost any verb can be made into a present participle.

assordante = deafening, from assordare (to deafen), e.g. un rumore assordante (a deafening noise)

traballante = shaky/unstable/wobbly, from traballare (to shake, to be unstable, to wobble), e.g. una sedia traballante (a wobbly chair)

tremante = trembling, from tremare (to tremble), e.g. con voce tremante (with a trembling voice)

rinfrescante = refreshing, from rinfrescare (to refresh), una bibita rinfrescante (a refreshing drink)

volante = flying, from volare (to fly), e.g. il disco volante (the flying saucer)

allucinante = shocking/appalling, from allucinare (to hallucinate), e.g. un’esperienza allucinante (a shocking experience)

cadente = falling, from cadere (to fall), la stella cadente (the shooting star, literally ‘the falling star’)

potente = powerful/potent, from potere (to be able, can), e.g. un antidoto potente (a powerful antidote)

sorridente = smiling, from sorridere (to smile), e.g. un viso sorridente (a smiling face)

vincente = winning, from vincere (to win), e.g. i numeri vincenti (the winning numbers)

commovente = moving/touching, from commuovere (to move, to touch), e.g. una storia commovente (a moving story)

indulgente = indulgent, from indulgere (to indulge), e.g. genitori indulgenti (indulgent parents)

bollente = boiling, from bollire (to boil), e.g. acqua bollente (boiling water)

trasparente = transparent, from trasparire (to transpire, to shine through), e.g. una camicetta trasparente (a transparent blouse)

locandina-la-notte-dei-morti-viventi

Vivente = living, from vivere (to live), e.g. i morti viventi (the living dead) … sweet dreams Winking smile

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Comments:

  1. andreas:

    Salve Serena!
    Grazie per il blog!
    Ma non si usa il participio presente come un vero participio?
    Secondo ciò che ho letto si usa nello stile burocratico. p. es.:
    Il treno, partente alle 3, sarà in ritardo.
    Saluti da andreas (Andrej)

    • Serena:

      @andreas Salve Andrej, scusa per il ritardo nel risponderti ma in questo periodo sono stata molto occupata con dei lavoretti extra.
      Nella mia grammatica del Liceo c’è scritto che il participio presente ormai ha perso la sua funzione di verbo, ancora usato da alcuni scrittori dell’800. E’ vero che viene occasionalmente usato nell’italiano burocratese, ma proprio quello peggiore, degli avvocati e dei politici che vogliono confondere i comuni cittadini (che sorpresa!). Nell’esempio citato da te la forma più comune sarebbe: il treno in partenza alle ore 3 …

      Saluti da Serena

  2. andreas:

    Grazie mille per chiarire la questione.

  3. Ali Karaege:

    l’m from Turkey.
    Grazie..


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