Blog » Language Learning » Learn Italian » Italian Grammar » The Complete Guide to the “Avere” Conjugation in Italian

The Complete Guide to the “Avere” Conjugation in Italian

The avere conjugation is one of the most important conjugations in the Italian language. It is the equivalent of the English verb to have and is used to indicate ownership or possession.

It is also one of the two auxiliary verbs (the other one is essereto be) in Italian. This means that avere is also used to help conjugate transitive verbs in order to form compound tenses. Let’s now take a look at the conjugation of this important verb.

Avere Conjugation in the Indicative Present Tense

Avere is not regular in all tenses, therefore it does not have a fixed pattern nor does it have the same suffixes that are used for regular verbs. Avere is used to indicate possession the same way English speakers use the verbs to have, to own or to get. There are, however, a few differences. The Present tense of avere looks like this:

Presente Present tense
io ho I have
tu hai you have
egli ha he/she has
noi abbiamo we have
voi avete you have
essi hanno they have

Marco ha un fratello e una sorella
Marco has a brother and a sister

Sara ha molti vestiti
Sara has many clothes

Ho 24 anni
I’m 24 years old

The verb avere is even used to say how old someone is, unlike English, that uses the verb “to be” instead. It is literally used to say that you “have” a certain amount of age. Avere is also used to say that you are hungry when English uses the verb essere (to be).

Ho molta fame
I’m very hungry

Avere Conjugation in the Indicative Past Tense

Italian has more than one past tense. The indicative mood has two simple past tenses: imperfetto and passato remoto. The good news is that the imperfetto of avere is regular, therefore it follows the standard pattern. You just need to add the regular suffixes of the verbs ending in –ere: -evo, -evi, -eva, -evamo, -evate, -evano.

Imperfetto Imperfect
io avevo I had
tu avevi you had
egli aveva he/she had
noi avevamo we had
voi avevate you had
essi avevano they had

Non avevo idea che la lezione fosse stata cancellata
I had no idea that the class had been canceled

This tense is generally used to express regular activities that happened in the past or to describe people, feelings or situations that belong to the past.

Da giovane Luca aveva folti capelli neri
When he was young, Luca had thick, black hair

Da piccolo avevo sempre voglia di giocare all’aperto
When I was young, I always wanted to play outdoors

The other tense is the passato remoto (Remote Past tense), which indicates an action that happened a long time ago. It is rarely used in Italian, as native speakers prefer to use passato prossimo (Present Perfect tense – a compound past tense that we will see later). You can almost exclusively find it in literature.

Passato remoto Remote Past tense
io ebbi I had
tu avesti you had
egli ebbe he/she had
noi avemmo we had
voi aveste you had
essi ebbero they had

L’italiano Antonio Meucci ebbe per primo l’idea di inventare il telefono
The Italian Antonio Meucci first had the idea that led to the telephone’s invention

Avere Conjugation to Talk about Future Actions

The Italian future tense is used to talk about situations that haven’t happened yet. The avere conjugation corresponds to the English “will have” or “going to have”.

Futuro semplice Future Simple
io avrò I will have
tu avrai you will have
egli avrà he/she will have
noi avremo we will have
voi avrete you will have
essi avranno they will have

Quando avrò 18 anni, potrò prendere la patente
When I will be 18, I will get my driving license

Se il colloquio andrà bene, avrai il lavoro
If the interview goes well, you will get the job

Compound Tenses of the Verb Avere

So far, we’ve seen the simple tenses of the avere conjugation in the Indicative mood, the most common and used mood in Italian.

However, the Indicative also has a few compound tenses: passato prossimo (Present Perfect tense), trapassato prossimo (Past Perfect tense), trapassato remoto (Preterite Perfect tense) and futuro anteriore (Future Perfect tense).

The compound tenses are formed by taking the appropriate form of the auxiliary verb avere (to have) followed by its past participle: avuto. Let’s look at each compound tense, one by one.

Avere Conjugation: Present Perfect Tense

The Italian Present Perfect tense, or passato prossimo, is one of the most used tenses. The Present Perfect tense of avere is formed by the Present simple of the auxiliary verb avere (to have) + its past participle: avuto.

Passato prossimo can be translated in English both with the Simple Past and with Present Perfect. It is used to express actions that happened in the recent past.

Passato prossimo – Present Perfect Tense
io ho avuto I had / have had
tu hai avuto you had / have had
egli ha avuto he/she had / have had
noi abbiamo avuto we had / have had
voi avete avuto you had / have had
essi hanno avuto they had / have had

Tony parla così bene l’italiano perché ha avuto un insegnante molto bravo
Tony is so proficient in Italian because he had a very good teacher

Avere Conjugation: Past Perfect Tense

The other two compound past tenses are called trapassato prossimo and trapassato remoto. They are less used than other tenses and are usually studied at advanced levels.

Let’s see the trapassato prossimo (Past Perfect) of avere first. It is formed with the imperfetto (Indicative Imperfect) of the auxiliary verb avere and its past participle avuto. It corresponds to the English “have had” structure.

Trapassato prossimo – Pluperfect
io avevo avuto I had had
tu avevi avuto you had had
egli aveva avuto he/she had had
noi avevamo avuto we had had
voi avevate avuto you had had
essi avevano avuto they had had

It is often used to describe a past situation that happened before another one (both actions already happened in the past).

Non avevo mai avuto stima di lui prima di conoscerlo meglio
I had never held him in high esteem before getting to know him better

The other compound past tense is trapassato remoto (Preterite Perfect tense). It does not exist in English language and can also be translated with the “had had” structure.

Its use is very rare in Italian language and exists almost exclusively in history books or literature. It is used to talk about an action happened before another one in the past, a long time ago.

The verb avere must be conjugated in the passato remoto (Remote Past tense) and then you will add the past participle after it.

Trapassato remoto – Preterite Perfect Tense
io ebbi avuto I had had
tu avesti avuto you had had
egli ebbe avuto he/she had had
noi avemmo avuto we had had
voi aveste avuto you had had
essi ebbero avuto they had had

Si dice Maria Antonietta pronunciò la famosa frase “Che mangino brioche!” dopo che ebbe avuto la notizia della rivolta popolare
It is believed that Marie Antoinette said the famous sentence “Let them eat cake!” after she had had the news of the people’s rebellion

Avere Conjugation: Future Perfect Tense

The last compound tense in the Indicative mood is the futuro anteriore (Future Perfect tense). It is formed with the Future Simple of avere plus its past participle.

Futuro anteriore – Future Perfect
io avrò avuto I will have had
tu avrai avuto you will have had
egli avrà avuto he/she will have had
noi avremo avuto we will have had
voi avrete avuto you will have had
essi avranno avuto they will have had

The Future Perfect tense is used in various situations, such as for future actions that will be finished before another action takes place.

Acquisterò il biglietto aereo solo quando avrò avuto lo stipendio
I will buy the flight ticket only after I will get my salary

Or to make a deduction or hypothesis about something that happened in the past:

Marco mi ha chiamato diverse volte ieri, avrà avuto bisogno di qualcosa
Marco tried to call me many times yesterday, he may have needed something

Subjunctive Tense of Avere

The subjunctive is a verbal mood that is used to talk about situations of uncertainty, to make hypotheses or to express hope, opinions or desire. It is often used in dependent clauses introduced by che (that). The subjunctive has two simple and two compound tenses.

Present Subjunctive

The Present Subjunctive of avere is mostly used to express a subjective statement, opinion or wish. It looks like this:

Congiuntivo presente – Present Subjunctive
(che) io abbia
(che) tu abbia
(che) egli abbia
(che) noi abbiamo
(che) voi abbiate
(che) essi abbiano

Che tu abbia una vita felice e piena di soddisfazioni!
I wish you (to have) a happy life, full of satisfaction!

Che ne abbiate voglia o no non ha importanza: dovrete fare i compiti ugualmente
You must do your homework, it doesn’t matter whether you want to or not

Perfect Subjunctive

The Subjunctive Perfect of avere is used to formulate a hypothesis or a personal statement about a situation that happened in the past. It is formed with the subjunctive present + the past participle.

Congiuntivo passato – Subjunctive Perfect
(che) io abbia avuto
(che) tu abbia avuto
(che) egli abbia avuto
(che) noi abbiamo avuto
(che) voi abbiate avuto
(che) essi abbiano avuto

Marco non è venuto a lezione. Che abbia avuto paura dell’esame?
Marco didn’t attend the class today. Maybe he was afraid of the test?

Credo che abbiano avuto una discussione
I think they had an argument

Subjunctive Imperfect

The subjunctive imperfect is used to talk about hypothetical situation that is unlikely to occur. It is often used in conditional clauses introduced by “if” (“se” in Italian). The subjunctive imperfect of avere correspond to the English “If I had” structure.

Congiuntivo passato – Subjunctive Perfect
(che) io avessi
(che) tu avessi
(che) egli avesse
(che) noi avessimo
(che) voi aveste
(che) essi avessero

Se avessi un milione di euro, mi trasferirei alle Hawaii
If I had a million euros, I would move to Hawaii

Pluperfect Subjunctive

The Pluperfect Subjunctive, or congiuntivo trapassato, is an advanced compound tense. It looks like the previous Subjunctive Imperfect and is also used to express a hypothesis or wish.

The difference is that, while with the Subjunctive Imperfect of avere we talk about something that is unlikely to happen (but it’s not impossibile), with the Pluperfect Subjunctive we already know that it didn’t happen, because we are talking about something from the past.

Congiuntivo trapassato – Pluperfect Subjunctive
(che) io avessi avuto
(che) tu avessi avuto
(che) egli avesse avuto
(che) noi avessimo avuto
(che) voi aveste avuto
(che) essi avessero avuto

Se avessi avuto un milione di euro, mi sarei trasferito alle Hawaii
If I had had a million euros, I would have moved to Hawaii

Conditional Tense of Avere

If you’ve come so far, we have good news for you: the Italian Conditional only has two tenses: present and past. The Present conditional of avere conjugation is the equivalent of the English “would have” and looks like this:

Condizionale presente Conditional Present tense
io avrei I would have
tu avresti you would have
egli avrebbe he / she would have
noi avremmo we would have
voi avreste you would have
essi avrebbero they would have

The present conditional of avere is often used to make polite requests or give gentle advice.

Avresti una penna da prestarmi?
Would you lend me a pen?

Se fossi in te, non avrei questo atteggiamento
If I were you, I wouldn’t have this attitude

The other tense is the Past Conditional, equivalent to the English structure “would have had”.

Condizionale passato Conditional Past Tense
io avrei avuto I would have had
tu avresti avuto you would have had
egli avrebbe avuto he / she would have had
noi avremmo avuto we would have had
voi avreste avuto you would have had
essi avrebbero avuto they would have had

Al tuo posto, avrei avuto la stessa idea
If I were you, I would have had the same idea

Imperative Mood of Avere

The Italian imperative is the mood used to give orders, offer advice or suggestions.

Imperativo Presente
tu abbi
lui/lei abbia
noi abbiamo
voi abbiate
essi abbiamo

Abbi il coraggio di parlargli!
Have the courage to speak to him!

Indefinite Moods of Avere

Finally, here are the indefinite moods of avere:

Infinito – Infinitive
Present tense Past tense
avere (to have) aver avuto (to have had)
Participio – Participle
Present tense Past tense
avente (having) avuto (had)
Gerundio – Gerundive
Present tense Past tense
avendo (having) avendo avuto (having had)

Conclusions

So now you know how to use the avere conjugation to talk about ownership in the past, present and future. With this guide, you’ll be able to understand its different uses and how to form each compound tense. Now that you know the avere conjugation, let’s go practice!

Challenge yourself with Clozemaster

Learning how to conjugate avere might seem daunting at first, but don’t worry, it comes naturally with practice.

Test your skills and see what you’ve learned from this article by playing a selection of Italian sentences with conjugated forms of avere.

Sign up here to save your progress and start getting fluent with thousands of Italian sentences at Clozemaster.

Clozemaster has been designed to help you learn the language in context by filling in the gaps in authentic sentences. With features such as Grammar Challenges, Cloze-Listening, and Cloze-Reading, the app will let you emphasize all the competencies necessary to become fluent in Italian.

Take your Italian to the next level. Click here to start practicing with real Italian sentences!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *