Unità 3

Che ne sarà di noi?

Obiettivi per il capitolo

At the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • express plans and intentions for the future
  • make conjectures based on evidence
  • discuss cause/effect relationships
  • make predictions for the future
  • compare and contrast issues regarding immigration in Italy and their home countries

Vocabolario: l’Italia multiculturale

Here are some words that will help you participate in the conversations in this chapter. Add these, and any other new words you find, to your course dictionary.

italiano English
l’attivista activist
la cittadinanza citizenship
il/la cittadino/a citizen
il/la clandestino/a illegal immigrant
i diritti umani human rights
l’emigrante emigrant
emigrare to emigrate
l’emigrazione emigration
l’extracomunitario/a non-European citizen
la giustizia justice
l’identità ibrida hybrid identity
immigrare to immigrate
l’immigrato/l’immigrante immigrant
l’immigrazione immigration
ius sanguinis ‘right of blood’; citizenship acquired through the nationality or ethnicity of a parent
ius solis ‘right of soil’; birthright citizenship (based on where one is born)
la libertà freedom
il multiculturalismo multiculturalism
l’oppressione oppression
oppresso/a oppressed
il partito politico political party
passare (una legge) to pass (a law)
il potere power
l’uguaglianza equality

Struttura 3.1 Ripasso del futuro semplice

In contesto

Emilia e Alessandra studieranno a Firenze il prossimo semestre.

Dopo l’università, farò l’avvocato. 

We have now reviewed all the different ways we can communicate in the past and present tenses in Italian…so what about the future?

As we already discussed, in Italian we can use the present tense to talk about the future – specifically, to express future plans.

This means that Visito Palermo can mean:

  • I visit Palermo
  • I’m going to visit Palermo / I’m visiting Palermo
  • I will visit to Palermo

Determining whether or not the person is referring to the present or future depends on context and is normally not difficult to determine. Certain key words or phrases like fra 10 giorni or il prossimo mese o tra una settimana can help you to understand that the person is referring to the future.

There is, however, an actual future tense that you should have studied in elementary Italian, and it can be used in exactly the same situation:

Visiterò Palermo la prossima settimana.

  • I’m visiting Palermo next week.
  • I’ll visit to Palermo next week.

Come si forma? I verbi regolari

Visiterò shows us a couple of the key elements of the future tense conjugation. First, note that the io form has an accent on the final “o”. There is also a final accent in the lui/lei form. Second, we can see that -are verbs undergo a spelling change in the future. To form these conjugations, we change the “a” to an “e” and then we take off the final -re before adding the endings.

io visiterò
tu visiterai
lui/lei/Lei visiterà
noi visiteremo
voi visiterete
loro visiteranno

This spelling change is only true of -are verbs. -Ere and -ire do not undergo a spelling change, but all three verb forms share the same endings. This also means that -are and -ere verbs are identical in the future.

visitare credere finire
io visiterò crederò finirò
tu visiterai crederai finirai
lui/lei/Lei visiterà crederà finirà
noi visiteremo crederemo finiremo
voi visiterete crederete finirete
loro visiteranno crederanno finiranno

Verbs ending in -care and -gare add an “h” after the “c” and “g” to preserve the hard “c” and “g” sounds:

giocare pagare
io giocherò pagherò
tu giocherai pagherai
lui/lei/Lei giocherà pagherà
noi giocheremo pagheremo
voi giocherete pagherete
loro giocheranno pagheranno

Verbs ending in -ciare and -giare lose the “i” after the spelling change:

cominciare viaggiare
io comincerò viaggerò
tu comincerai viaggerai
lui/lei/Lei comincerà viaggerà
noi cominceremo viaggeremo
voi comincerete viaggerete
loro cominceranno viaggeranno

I verbi irregolari

There are a couple very irregular verbs in the future (like essere), but most either involve the elimination of a single vowel, the addition of “rr” to the root, in substitution of the consonant immediately preceding the ending, or are -are verbs that do not undergo the spelling change of “a” to “e”.


io sarò noi saremo
tu sarai voi sarete
lui/lei/Lei sarà loro saranno
Vowel elimination
andare avere dovere potere vedere
io andrò avrò dovrò potrò vedrò
tu andrai avrai dovrai potrai vedrai
lui/lei/Lei andrà avrà dovrà potrà vedrà
noi andremo avremo dovremo potremo vedremo
voi andrete avrete dovrete potrete vedrete
loro andranno avranno dovranno potranno vedranno


volere tenere rimanere venire
io vorrò terrò rimarrò verrò
tu vorrai terrai rimarrai verrai
lui/lei/Lei vorrà terrà rimarrà verrà
noi vorremo terremo rimarremo verremo
voi vorrete terrete rimarrete verrete
loro vorranno terranno rimarranno verranno

-are verbs without the spelling change

fare stare dare
io farò starò darò
tu farai starai darai
lui/lei/Lei farà starà darà
noi faremo staremo daremo
voi farete starete darete
loro faranno staranno daranno

Quando si usa?

1. To express future plans, intentions and actions

Es. Sofia studierà a Siena il prossimo semestre.

(Sofia is studying in Siena next semester.)

Es. Andremo al mare domenica.

(We’re going to the beach on Sunday.)

2. To make predictions for the future

Es. Troverai l’amore della tua vita.

(You will find the love of your life.)

Es. Vi piacerà quel ristorante molto.

(You will really like that restaurant.)

*3. To express probability or to make hypotheses based on evidence

Es. Quella signora avrà 60 anni.

(That woman must be 60 years old.)

Es. Farà freddo fuori.

(It must be cold outside.)

*This last one is probably new. It’s the way you can express this concept of “must be” in terms of probability or speculation. If you see someone bundled up in winter clothes, you might surmise that “it must be cold outside” – thus, farà freddo.

You can also speculate in other ways:

Es. Lo studente non è in classe. Sarà ancora a letto.

Una prova

Struttura 3.2 Il futuro anteriore

In contesto

Entro la prossima settimana, avrò finito tutti i miei esami.

Tra cinque anni, mi sarò laureata dall’università e avrò trovato un lavoro.

Just like there are compound tenses to express the past, as we learned in the previous unit, there is also a compound future tense, called the futuro anteriore or the future perfect. We use this tense to express something that will have taken place by a certain, pre-determined point in the future. It is very similar to saying “by this time next week, I will have done x, y, z” in English. Let’s look at the previous examples again:

Es. Entro la prossima settimana, avrò finito tutti i miei esami.

(By next week, I will have finished all of my exams.)

Es. Tra cinque anni, mi sarò laureata dall’università e avrò trovato un lavoro.

(Five years from now, I will have graduated from college and I will have found a job.)

Come si forma?

Like the other compound tenses you have learned, the futuro anteriore is formed with the future simple of either essere or avere and the past participle of the main verb. All of the same rules apply: transitive verbs with avere, intransitive verbs with essere, verbs with essere must agree in gender and number with the subject, and reflexives and reciprocals take essere.


io avrò finito noi avremo finito
tu avrai finito voi avrete finito
lui/lei/Lei avrà finito loro avranno finito


io sarò partito/a noi saremo partiti/e
tu sarai partito/a voi sarete partiti/e
lui/lei/Lei sarà partito/a loro saranno partiti/e

Just like in the other compound tenses, reflexives and reciprocals take essere.


io mi sarò laureato/a noi ci saremo laureati/e
tu ti sarai laureato/a voi vi sarete laureati/e
lui/lei/Lei si sarà laureato/a loro si saranno laureati/e

All irregular past participles remain irregular in the futuro anteriore:

Avranno letto quel nuovo bestseller.

Avrete già preso il caffè.

Non sarai ancora venuto a trovarmi. 

Quando si usa?

1. To express an action that will have happened by a specific future time

Es. Entro la fine di agosto sarà nato il mio nipotino.

(By the end of August, my nephew will have been born.)

2. To express an action completed before another action in the future. Note that this is a bit different from English. 

Es. Quando avranno finito di preparare la cena, mangeremo.

(When they have finished making dinner, we will eat.)

3. To express probability or to make hypotheses in the past

Es. Dov’è Fabrizio? Avrà trovato traffico. 

(Where is Fabrizio? He must have hit traffic.)

Una prova


Struttura 3.3 Ripasso dei pronomi diretti e indiretti

In contesto

I tuoi amici studiano le lingue straniere?

-Purtroppo nessuno le studia!

Ci telefoni quando arrivi?

-Certo che vi telefono!

Remember direct and indirect object pronouns from your previous studies? Let’s review them before we look at how to combine them (so fun!).

Pronomi di oggetto diretto

Let’s start with direct object pronouns. Remember that a direct object is something that directly receives the action in the sentence. It usually answers the questions What? or Who?

So in the sentence Mangio gli spaghetti (“I eat spaghetti”), the direct object of the sentence is gli spaghetti because it answers the question “What did I eat?”

To avoid repetition (imagine I really wanted to talk about that spaghetti), we can use direct object pronouns to take the place of the noun; essentially, instead of continuing to repeat the word spaghetti, we would refer to it with the pronoun “it”. These pronouns are typically placed before the conjugated verb:

Es. Li mangio. 

In this case li is the direct object pronoun for a word like spaghetti, which is masculine and plural. There are four different ways to say “it” or “them” in Italian, depending on the gender and number of the word.

Come si forma?

maschile femminile
singolare lo la
plurale li le

Es. Mangio il pane. → Lo mangio.

Mangio la pasta. → La mangio.

Mangio gli spaghetti. → Li mangio.

Mango le verdure. → Le mangio.

These are not the only direct object pronouns, however.

Es. Mi vedi? → Sì, ti vedo. 

Here is the full table:

mi ci
ti vi
lo, la, La li, le

Generally speaking, the direct object pronoun precedes the conjugated verb, with a few exceptions:

1. with verb+ infinitive phrases like avere bisogno di, avere voglia di, desiderare, preferire

Es. Ho voglia di prendere un gelato. → Ho voglia di prenderlo*.

2. with dovere, potere, volere 

Es. Voglio prendere un gelato. → Lo voglio prendere. / Voglio prenderlo

*Note that when a direct object pronoun attaches to the end of an infinitive, the infinitive drops the final “e”.

3. in the imperative

Es. Compra il gelato! → Compralo!

*Note that some verbs take an indirect object in English but NOT in Italian. For example, aspettare (to wait) takes a direct object in Italian (Aspetto l’autobus → L’aspetto) but in English it needs a preposition (“for”). Chiedere (to ask) is another example: Chiedo il conto→ Lo chiedo.

Pronomi di oggetto diretto al passato prossimo

Remember when you learned that verbs that take avere in the passato prossimo have invariable past participles–that is to say, that they don’t change according to gender and number? Well, that’s not entirely true. Look at this example:

Es. Ho comprato la giacca. → La ho comprato. → L’ho comprata.

You should notice two things here:

  1. that comprato changes to comprata. The “a” ending represents la giacca–it reflects the gender and number of the OBJECT, not the SUBJECT (like the verbs that go with essere do)
  2. that la and ho elide to form L’ho. This is true of singular object pronouns (lo, la) and is mostly a question of similar vowel sounds next to each other. For this reason, li and le do NOT elide.

Es. Abbiamo visto il film. → L’abbiamo visto.

Hanno fatto la spesa. → L’hanno fatta.

Hai preso le verdure? → Le hai prese?

Ha comprato i biglietti. → Li ha comprati.

Una prova

I pronomi di oggetto indiretto

Now that you’ve re-mastered direct object pronouns, let’s take a look at indirect object pronouns. An indirect object is something that indirectly receives the action of the verb. It usually answers the questions “to or for whom” and tends to be used with verbs that have to do with giving and/or communication (actions in which someone receives something).

In the sentence Regalo le rose alla mia mamma, the indirect object of the sentence is alla mia mamma because it answers the question “To whom do I give the roses?”

We can replace this indirect object with a pronoun to avoid repetition, to say “to her”. There are two options:

1. with a tonic pronoun, which are always preceded by a preposition: a me, a te, a lui, a lei, a noi, a voi, a loro

Es. Regalo le rose a lei.

2. with an indirect object pronoun, which will precede the conjugated verb (just like direct object pronouns)

Es. Le regalo le rose.

In this case, le is the pronoun we use for a singular, feminine object. It is understandable if this particular pronoun causes you confusion! It is a PLURAL direct object and a SINGULAR indirect object–have a sense of humor! 🙂

Come si forma?

Here are the rest of the indirect object pronouns, with their tonic forms in parentheses. You will notice other similarities with direct object pronouns:

mi (a me) ci (a noi)
ti (a te) vi (a voi)
gli (a lui)

le (a lei)

Le (a Lei)


gli (a loro)

You will notice that mi, ti, ci, vi can be both direct and indirect object pronouns. The same rules apply for the position of these pronouns in a sentence, with the exception of loro, which comes after the verb:

Es. Diamo loro le chiavi dell’appartamento. 

However, gli tends to be used more often, in both the singular and the plural.

Gli diamo le chiavi dell’appartamento.

Una prova

Struttura 3.4 I pronomi combinati

In contesto

La professoressa dà spesso i compiti agli studenti?

-Mamma mia, glieli dà tutti i giorni!

Mi presti una penna?

-Sì, te la presto–ma me la devi restituire!

So what happens when you combine the two? It’s perfectly reasonable in English to substitute both (“I give it to her”) and the same is true in Italian. These are called combined, or double-object pronouns (pronomi combinati) and they can be…fun?

Let’s take the last example from the previous section:

Es. Diamo le chiavi dell’appartamento a loro.
                  direct object                            indirect object
                         le                                                  gli

We have identified the direct and indirect objects in the sentence and selected the appropriate pronouns for each. Now, let’s the do the math:

The indirect object pronoun comes first, followed by the direct object pronoun:

gli + le

To fully combine them, we add an “e” in the middle, almost like a glue: gliele

Gliele diamo.

The pronunciation is something like “yay-lay”. Fun, right??

Come si forma?

Here is the full chart of these double object pronouns. See if you can notice any patterns:

indirect object pronoun direct object pronoun combined pronoun






lo, la, li, le






me lo, me la, me li, me le

te lo, te la, te li, te le

ce lo, ce la, ce li, ce le

ve lo, ve la, ve li, ve le

glielo, gliela, glieli, gliele

glielo, gliela, glieli, gliele

The primary things to notice about these forms are:

  1. When the indirect object pronouns are mi, ti, ci, vi, the combined pronoun remains two words, with the “i” changing to an “e”.
  2. When the indirect object pronouns are gli or le, the pronouns combine to form one word, with the added “e” binding them together.
  3. When combined with a direct object pronoun, the indirect object pronoun le transforms to gli regardless of the gender of the indirect object. The two forms are identical in the combined form.

The placement of the combined pronouns follows the same rules of the singular direct and indirect object pronouns.

1. before the conjugated verb

Es. Scrivo i messaggi agli amici. → Glieli scrivo.

2. at the end of the infinitive with verb+infinitive phrases

Es. Preferisco fare le telefonate agli amici. → Preferisco fargliele.

3. either before the conjugated verb or after the infinitive with dovere, potere, volere

Es. Devo mandare l’email al professore. → Gliela devo mandare. / Devo mandargliela.

4. at the end and attached to the imperative

Es. Da’ le chiavi a me! → Dammele!

I pronomi combinati con i verbi riflessivi

Double-object pronouns are also possible with reflexive pronouns in place of indirect object pronouns. Most of the forms remain the same, with the exception of the lui/lei and loro forms:

reflexive pronoun lo la li le
mi me lo me la me li me le
ti te lo te la te li te le
si se lo se la se li se le
ci ce lo ce la ce li ce le
vi ve lo ve la ve li ve le
si se lo se la se li se le

Es. Ti metterai la crema solare? → Me la metterò.

Es. Si laverà le mani? → Se le laverà.

Una prova



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Torniamo a tavola! Volume 1 by Melina Masterson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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