Reflexive verbs

In Italian we have a group of verbs called reflexive verbs.

What does reflexive mean? A reflexive verb expresses an action that reflects on the subject. In terms of grammar, the direct object corresponds to the subject: these verbs are formed with reflexive pronouns that depends on the subject (mi – ti – si – ci – vi – si).

Similarly to regular verbs, reflexives are split in the three groups: -are, -ere, -ire.

In order to make the infinitive of a reflexive verb we need to take off the last letter of the infinitive form and to add the reflexive pronoun “si”:

lavare –> lavarsi

vestire –> vestirsi

Let’s see the present tense of reflexive verbs!

Svegliarsi
Io Mi sveglio
Tu Ti svegli
Lui/lei Si sveglia
Noi Ci svegliamo
Voi Vi svegliate
Loro Si svegliano

 

Mettersi
Io Mi metto
Tu Ti metti
Lui/lei Si mette
Noi Ci mettiamo
Voi Vi mettete
Loro Si mettono

 

Vestirsi
Io Mi vesto
Tu Ti vesti
Lui/lei Si veste
Noi Ci vestiamo
Voi Vi vestite
Loro Si vestono

 

Normally we put the reflexive pronoun before the verb, made exception for two cases:

  • when we use verbs followed by the Infinitive form of the reflexive verb and when we use: Vado a lavarmi le mani –> I’m going to wash my hands
  • when we use the Imperative tense: Lavati le mani! –> Wash your hands!

When we use modal verbs, the reflexive pronoun can be put in two different positions:

Devo alzarmiMi devo alzare –> I have to get up

 

Some more examples!

Italian English
Anna si sveglia sempre alle 7. Anna always wakes up at 7am.
A lavoro mi annoio molto. At work I get very bored.
Non arrabbiarti, sai che Luca è sempre in ritardo! Don’t get angry, you know that Luca is always late!

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