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    Passato Remoto

     

    The passato remoto i s another past tense that reports actions completed in the past.  Unlike passato prossimo, the passato remoto is a one word tense.  It is most commonly used in narrative writing.  The passato prossimo is more widely used in conversation.

     

    The passato remoto is formed by adding the characteristic vowel (a for -are verbs, e for -ere verbs, and i for -ire verbs) to the infinitive stem plus the identical endings.

     

    However, for -are verbs, note that in the third person singular the characteristic vowel changes from an a to an o.  Please also note that an accent is added to the third person singular in all three conjugations.

     

    parlare (parl-)

     

    credere (cred-)

    finire (fin)

    parlai

    credei

    finii

    parlasti

    credesti

    finisti

    parlò

    credè

    fini

    parlammo

    credemmo

    finimmo

    parlaste

    credeste

    finiste

    parlarono

    crederono

    finirono

     

    Giotto affrescò la Cappella dell’ Arena verso il 1305.                             

    Giotto frescoed the Arena Chapel around 1305.

     

    Petrarca finì Il Canzoniere nel 1374.                                  

    Petrarca finished The Canzoniere in 1374.

     

    Most -ere verbs have an alternate set of endings for the first and third persons singular and the third person plural:

    ·      credei- credetti (io)

    ·      credè – credette (lui/lei)

    ·      crederono – credettero (loro)

    -        

    The passato remoto of essere, dare, dire fare, and stare is irregular in all persons.

     

    essere

    dare

    dire

    fare

    stare

     

    fui

    diedi

    dissi

    feci

    stetti

    fosti

    desti

    dicesti

    facesti

    stesti

    fu

    diede

    disse

    fece

    stette

    fummo

    demmo

    dicemmo

    facemmo

    stemmo

    foste

    deste

    diceste

    faceste

    steste

    furono

    diedero

    dissero

    fecero

    stettero

     

     

     

    Many other verbs that are irregular in the passato remoto follow a 1-3-3 pattern: they are irregular only in the first person singular and the third person singular and plural.  Those irregular forms use the following endings: irregular stem + (io) -i, (lui/lei) -e, and (loro) -ero.

    Avere

    (Irregular stem: ebb)

    ebbi

    avemmo

    avesti

    aveste

    ebbe

    ebbero

     

    Common verbs that follow the 1-3-3 pattern

    *Below you will see the io ending: -i

    The lui/lei ending is: -e

    The loro ending is: -ero

    avere- ebb-i

    prendere- pres-i

    chiedere- chies-i

    rispondere- rispos-i

    conoscere- conobb-i

    scrivere- scriss-i

    decidere- decis-i

    vedere- vid-i

    dipingere- dipins-i

    venire- venn-i

    leggere- less-i

    vincere- vins-i

    mettere- mis-i

    vivere- viss-i

    nascere- nacqu-i

    volere- voll-i

     

    Marco ebbe fortuna: vinse una borsa di studio.               

    Marco was lucky: he won a scholarship.

     

    Quando i turisti domandarono dov’era il museo, nessuno li capì.                    

    When the tourists asked where the museum was, nobody understood them.

     

    -       To describe a condition or express a habitual or ongoing action in the past, the imperfetto is used with the passato remoto exactly as it is used with the passato prossimo.

     

    Non comprai/ho comprato il quadro perché non avevo abbastanza soldi.               

    I didn’t buy the painting because I didn’t have enough money.

     

    Mi chiesero/ hanno chiesto perché non parlavo.                     

    They asked me why I was not speaking.