Most Used ‘-ISC’ Verbs in Italian

As you already know, there are three groups of verbs.

1st (-ARE verbs)cucinareto cookmangiare, studiare, guardare
2nd (-ERE verbs)scrivereto writeleggere, vedere, vincere
3rd (-IRE) verbs)dormireto sleepaprire, partire, finire
Italian verb groups

Most of the “ire” verbs follows a regular conjugation, like in the following chart :

Iodorm-oI sleep
Tudorm-iYou sleep (singular, informal)
Lui/Leidorm-eHe/She sleeps
Noidorm-iamoWe sleep
Voidorm-iteYou sleep
Lorodorm-onoThey sleep
regular conjugation of ‘IRE’ verbs (3rd group verbs)

The -ISC verbs

The -ISC conjugation pattern is a subset of the Italian 3rd conjugation (-ire). This subset of verbs, such as finire, capire, and pulire, add “-isc” in the present tense for the first, second, third persons singular, and third person plural. The “noi” and “voi” forms do not use “-isc”. Luckly, there are not many verbs that follow these conjugation pattern.

Irregular conjugation of ‘-ISC’ verbs in Italian

Iocap-isc-oI understand
Tucap-isc-iYou understand (singular, informal)
Lui/Leicap-isc-eHe/She understands
NoicapiamoWe understand
VoicapiteYou understand
Lorocap-isc-onoThey understand
isc verbs Italian conjugation – present tense


Pronunciation Rule

The first person singular (io capisco – I understand) and third person plural (loro capiscono) have a hard sound in the combination ‘sc,’ which should be pronounced like “skateboard.”

Instead, the second and third person singular (tu capisci – you understand / lui capisce – he understands) should be pronounced as in “shoot.

PronounConjugationPronunciation
Iocapisc-o‘sk’ as in “skateboard”
Tucapisc-i‘ch’ as in “shoot”
Lui/Leicapisc-e‘ch’ as in “shoot”
Noicapiam-o‘sk’ as in “skateboard”
Voicapite‘sk’ as in “skateboard”
Lorocapisc-ono‘sk’ as in “skateboard”
Italian ‘-isc’ verb conjugation chart

List of the most used “-ISC verbs” in Italian.

preferireto prefer preferisco, preferisci, preferisce, preferiamo, preferite, preferiscono
finireto finishfinisco, finisci, finisce, finiamo, finite, finiscono
pulireto cleanpulisco, pulisci, pulisce, puliamo, pulite, puliscono
spedireto shipspedisco, spedisci, spedisce, spediamo, spedite, spediscono
costruireto buildcostruisco, costruisci, costruisce, costruiamo, costruite, costruiscono
chiarireto clearchiarisco, chiarisci, chiarisce, chiariamo, chiarite, chiariscono
digerireto digestdigerisco, digerisci, digerisce, digeriamo, digerite, digeriscono
contribuireto contributecontribuisco, contribuisci, contribuisce, contribuiamo, contribuite, contribuiscono
fiorireto blossomfiorisco, fiorisci, fiorisce, fioriamo, fiorite, fioriscono
guarireto recoverguarisco, guarisci, guarisce, guariamo, guarite, guariscono
inserireto insertinserisco, inserisci, inserisce, inseriamo, inserite, inseriscono
reagireto reactreagisco, reagisci, reagisce, reagiamo, reagite, reagiscono
restituireto return sth backrestituisco, restituisci, restituisce, restituiamo, restituite, restituiscono
unireto uniteunisco, unisci, unisce, uniamo, unite, uniscono
most common -isc- verbs in Italian

Is there any way to determine when to use the -isc- conjugation?

Unfortunately, there is no strict rule, but rather a trend. Verbs whose fifth-to-last letter in the infinitive is a vowel tend to use the -isc- conjugation, though this is not always true.

Examples include:

  • Finire (to finish)
  • Pulire (to clean)
  • Spedire (to ship)
  • Proibire (to prohibit)

However, if the fifth-to-last letter in the infinitive happens to be a consonant, the verb follows the regular conjugation.

Examples include:

  • Aprire (to open)
  • Dormire (to sleep)
  • Offrire (to offer)
  • Seguire (to follow)

About the Author

Serena Capilli

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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Ciao, I'm Serena!

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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