Adverbs of time with past tenses in Italian

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

Do you know how to use adverbs of time? Let's learn how to use them and their position in a sentence.




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Ciao and welcome to a new article! In today's article we are going to talk about adverbs of time, so words that are used to express an idea of time. These adverbs can be used with present or past tenses or both! Depending on the tense you have, you might need to change their position.


In today's article though, we are going to focus on adverbs that are used with past tenses! With passato prossimo, these adverbs are always placed between the auxiliary verb and the past participle. So, if we take the passato prossimo "sono andato", I went, you would place these following adverbs between "sono", the auxiliary verb, and "andato", the past participle.


1. APPENA

Appena means just and it is used to describe an action that you just did! Let's look at a few example:

  • Sono appena tornato dalle vacanza → I've just come back from vacation.

  • Siamo appena andati al supermercato ma abbiamo dimenticato il latte → We just went to the supermarket but we forgot milk.

Note that when you use appena with a present, its meaning completely changes. In fact, it means as soon as.

  • Appena torni, partiamo → As soon as you come back, we'll leave.

  • Appena finiamo di mangiare, andiamo da tua zia → As soon as we finish eating, we'll go to your aunt.

2. GIÀ

Già means already or yet and it's used to talk about an action that you did already in the past.

  • Siamo già stati a Roma quindi preferiamo andare a Firenze → We've already been to Rome, so we prefer going to Florence.

  • Hai già ascoltato il nuovo album? → Have you listened to the new album yet?

3. ANCORA

Ancora means yet and we use it to describe an action that we still need to do.

  • Non siamo ancora andati al ristorante → We haven't gone to the restaurant yet.

  • Il treno non è ancora partito → The train has not left yet.

4. SEMPRE

Sempre means always and it is mostly used to talk about an action you would always do in the past. Note that we tend to use sempre with imperfetto, because it describes a recurrent action, however it can also be used with passato prossimo:

  • Andavo sempre in palestra l'anno scorso → I used to go to the gym all the time last year.

  • Sei sempre stato un bravo ragazzo → You've always been a good boy.

5. MAI

Mai means never or ever and don't forget it is always preceded by "non" in Italian, because we do double negations.

  • Non sono mai stato in Italia → I have never been to Italy.

  • Sei mai stata in Italia? → Have you ever been to Italy?

We are done with today's article! If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message in the contact section of my website!


A presto,


Teacher Stefano


Do you want to take your Italian to the next level? Check out my Online Italian course for beginners "Be Italiano" and start learning today to become a real Italiano, like me!
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