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3.2. Reflexive verbs

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Reflective verbs are composed of a pronoun and a verb, like mi lavo I wash myself. Let’s learn the rules of reflexive verbs together.

Reflexive verbs

Reflective verbs express an action that refers to the subject, such as: mi diverto I enjoy myself. They consist of a verb and a pronoun, namely a reflexive pronoun. In the infinitive, the reflexive pronoun si hangs at the end of the verb, losing the -e of the infinitive -are/-ere/-ire. Many verbs reflexive in Italian, but not in English, like alzarsi to stand up.

alzar | si
to stand up
seder | si
to sit down
divertir | si
to enjoy yourself, to have fun

The formation of the reflexive verbs in the present tense

Reflective verbs behave like the non-reflective verbs and are divided into the three conjugation patterns. The reflexive pronoun is located before the conjugated verb.

reflexive pronoun + present form

to stand up
to sit down
to enjoy oneself, to have fun
iomi alzomi siedomi diverto
tuti alziti siediti diverti
lui, leisi alzasi siedesi diverte
noici alziamoci sediamoci divertiamo
voivi alzatevi sedetevi divertite
lorosi alzanosi siedonosi divertono
svegliarsito wake up
alzarsito stand up
lavarsito wash yourself
prepararsito prepare yourself
vestirsito get dressed
mettersito put on*
pettinarsito comb
truccarsito put on make up
farsi la barbato shave
sedersito sit down
sdraiarsito lay down
addormentarsito fall asleep
chiamarsito be named, be called
innamorarsi (di)to fall in love (with)
sposarsito marry
rilassarsito relax
riposarsito rest
incontrarsito meet
divertirsito enjoy yourself, to have fun
annoiarsito get bored
arrabbiarsito get angry

*The explanation of the difference between vestirsi and mettersi can be found here.

  • Mi diverto molto a giocare con il mio cane. I have a lot of fun playing with my dog.
  • La sera Fiona e Romeo si addormentano sempre davanti alla TV. In the evening Fiona and Romeo always fall asleep in front of the TV.
  • Adesso mi sdraio sul divano e mi rilasso un po’! Now I just lie down on the couch and relax a little bit!
  • Mio padre si fa la barba ogni due giorni. My dad shaves every other day.
  • Ci laviamo le mani e poi mangiamo. We wash our hands and then we eat.

Kira: In the evening I relax in front of the fireplace.

Impara con Kira e Cody

dal calendario 2019

Reflexive verbs
Svegliarsi to wake up

Cody: "The bear Bruno always wakes up early.
The alarm clock rings at six."
Bruno: "I wake up at six, but I get up at 6.30."

Other reflexive verbs:
alzarsi to get up
Reflexive verbs
Lavarsi to wash oneself

Kira: "Bruno is getting ready to go out:
He brushes his teeth, he showers and combs his hair.
His fur is very soft!"
Bruno: "But I don't use make-up because I'm not a female bear!"

Other reflexive verbs:
prepararsi to prepare oneself, get ready
lavarsi i denti to brush one's teeth
farsi la doccia to have a shower
pettinarsi to comb one's hair
truccarsi to put on make up
Reflexive verbs
Rilassarsi to relax

Cody: "In the evening Bruno relaxes! 
He lies on the pillow and eats chips."

Bruno: "I often watch a film! 
But sometimes I fall asleep..."

Other reflexive verbs:
sdraiarsi to lie down
addormentarsi to fall asleep
Reflexive verbs
Arrabbiarsi to get angry

Kira: "Bruno loves playing video games!"
Bruno: "But when I lose, I get angry!"

Other reflexive verbs:
Divertirsi to enjoy oneself, to have fun

Today is a special day.
Bruno has an appointment with the bear* Betta today. 
He prepares himself carefully, he combs his hair and he even puts on a tie.
He looks at himself satisfied in the mirror.
Bruno and Betta meet each other at the trattoria "Sweet Honey".
They chat and have a lot of fun.
Finally Bruno approaches her.
They look into each other's eyes and then... 
...they kiss!
Bruno has really fallen in love with her**!
*l'orsetta is the diminutive form of orsa.
Basic forms: l'orso - l'orsa
Diminutive: l'orsetto - l'orsetta

**the verb form si è innamorato is in the past form passato prossimo.

Reflexive verbs:
prepararsi to prepare, to get ready
pettinarsi to comb one's hair
mettersi qlcs. to put sth. on 
guardarsi (allo specchio) to look at oneself in the mirror
incontrarsi to meet
have divertirsi to enjoy oneself, to have fun
avvicinarsi a qlcn. to approach sb., to get close
guardarsi (negli occhi) to look at each other (in the eyes)
innamorarsi to fall in love

Complete the sentences with the appropriate reflexive verb and conjugate it in the indicative present tense.

1. Mia sorella si alza alle sette. My sister gets up at seven. 
2. Prima di uscire io mi preparo: mi faccio la doccia e mi lavo i denti. Before I go out I get ready: I shower and brush my teeth. 
3. Oggi lei si mette una felpa nera. Today she wears a black sweatshirt. 
4. Alla sera noi ci sdraiamo sul divano e ci rilassiamo. At night we lie on the couch and relax. 
5. Mio marito si diverte a giocare alla Play Station. Ma se perde si arrabbia! My husband enjoys playing at the Play Station. But if he loses, he gets angry! 


Fai un esercizio!

Prossima lezione: L’ora the time

Il corso
, , ,
3.1. La mia giornata: my day
3.3. L’ora: the time

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