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 essere – to 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:
|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.
|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.
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
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
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
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.
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)|
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!
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