Passato Prossimo with Pronouns. A Simple Guide.

The basic rule is that when using the passato prossimo tense with the auxiliary verb ‘avere’, the past participle—the second part of the verb—usually does not change. It remains the same regardless of the subject’s gender and number. 

  • Lei ha comprato
  • Noi abbiamo comprato

However, there is an important exception to remember.

When the passato prossimo is used with a direct object pronoun, the past participle must agree with the gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural) of the pronoun that comes before the verb. This means the ending of the past participle may change. There are four possible endings for this.

Let’s look at some examples:

  • l’ho visto → I saw it (for masculine singular objects)
  • l’ho vista → I saw it (for feminine singular objects)
  • le ho viste → I saw them (for feminine plural objects)
  • li ho visti → I saw them (for masculine plural objects)

To choose the correct ending, you need to know the gender and number of the pronoun:

  • “lo” and “la” are used for singular masculine and feminine objects, respectively.
  • “li” and “le” are used for plural masculine and feminine objects, respectively.

“Li” specifically refers to masculine plural objects or groups.

Here are more examples:

Italian sentence Transformed SentencedEnglish
Ho finito il libroL’ho finitoI finished it
Ho cucinato la pastaL’ho cucinataI cooked it
Ho comprato i libriLi ho compratiI bought them
Ho visto le mie amicheLe ho visteI saw them
passato prossimo with “pronomi diretti”

Remember, this agreement rule only applies when a direct object pronoun is used before the verb. With practice, it will become more natural to recognize and apply this rule.

Passato Prossimo with mi, ti, vi, ci 

With the direct object pronouns of the first and second person singular and plural (mi, ti, ci, vi), there is not an obligation but a possibility of agreement. When speaking to a girl, we can say both “Ti ho vista ieri sera al concerto” and “Ti ho visto ieri sera al concerto”.

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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