Common expressions using ESSERE and AVERE

In Italian, the verbs essere and avere are certainly amongst the most popular ones. This is why they are widely used in many common Italian idiomatic expressions like the one following.

Bear in mind that a certain number of recurring expressions use the verb avere (to have) while English would use the verb essere (to be) and vice-versa. For instance, being hungry becomes having hunger in Italian.

The rule of thumb is to memorize the most common expressions, by making a list of the ones that use “avere” and the ones that use “essere”. 

But first, let’s review the conjugation of ‘essere’ and ‘avere’ in the present tense.

Present Tense Conjugation of “Essere” (To Be):

IosonoI am
TuseiYou are (singular informal)
Lui/LeièHe/She is
NoisiamoWe are
VoisieteYou are (plural or formal)
LorosonoThey are

Present Tense Conjugation of “Avere” (To Have):

IohoI have
TuhaiYou have (singular informal)
Lui/LeihaHe/She has
NoiabbiamoWe have
VoiaveteYou have (plural or formal)
LorohannoThey have

Common expressions with ‘avere’

avere sonnoto be sleepy
avere fameto be hungry
avere seteto be thirsty
avere freddoto be cold
avere caldoto be hot
avere 20 annito be 20 years old
avere frettato be in a hurry
avere ragioneto be right
avere tortoto be wrong
avere successoto be successful
avere fortunato be lucky
avere paura dito be afraid of
avere mal di panciato have a stomach ache
avere mal di testato have a headache
avere mal di golato have a sore throat
avere la febbreto have a fever

Common expressions with ‘essere’

essere in ritardoto be late
essere bravoto be good at doing something
essere buonoto be nice (food), to be good people
essere sveglioto be awake
essere malatoto be sick
essere ammalatoto be sick
essere occupatoto be busy
essere prontoto be ready
essere fidanzatoto be in a relationship
essere sposatoto be married
essere feliceto be happy
essere tristeto be sad
essere depressoto be depressed
essere contentoto be content
essere innamoratoto be in love

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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