Avere Verb Italian Lesson & Conjugation

Complete Guide To the Italian Verb Avere: Grammar, Expressions & Full Conjugation



The verb “avere” is one of the most common verbs in Italian. It means “to have” in English. This simple verb is used all the time in Italian to say that someone owns something, experiences something, or has a certain characteristic.

Italian uses auxiliary verbs like “avere” and “essere” to conjugate other verbs in different tenses and moods. So “avere” pairs up with past participles to form common compound tenses like the passato prossimo, used to discuss actions in the recent past.

Learning when to use “avere” as an auxiliary will allow you to talk about the past, present, and future in Italian. Whereas practicing how to conjugate “avere” correctly will help you talk about everyday things in Italian.

Avere Verb Italian Overview

“Avere” is a very important verb in the Italian language. Not only it is used a lot on its own, but it is also one of the Italian auxiliary verbs. The other is “essere” (to be).

As an auxiliary verb, avere is used together with the past participle of the action verb to form the more complex past tenses, including the passato prossimo. We’ll see all of them later on so you can learn to conjugate the verb to have in Italian, in both the simple and more complex tenses.

avere verb italian example 1
“Il gatto ha sonno” means the cat is sleepy.

To Have in Italian & All The Verb Avere Meanings

To have in Italian is the main meaning of the verb avere. That’s what the simplest of the conjugations implies (Io ho, tu hai, egli ha, etc). It means I have, you have, he has. 

However, because the verb avere is such an important verb that’s used in many situations, it has multiple meanings. You can see them all listed below:

Possedere – the verb avere can mean to own

Tenere – the verb avere can also mean to hold

Sentire – this verb can also have a more abstract meaning such as to feel

Provare – in this case, it means to experience

Ottenere – avere can also mean to obtain

Let’s see an example for each of those meanings:

  1. Fabrizio ha due case in montagna. (Fabrizio owns two houses in the mountains).
  2. Non posso, ho le chiavi in mano. (I can’t, I am holding the keys).
  3. Ho molto freddo. (I am feeling really cold).
  4. Sabrina ha un forte mal di testa. (Sabrina is experiencing a big headache).
  5. Ho finalmente preso la promozione. (I finally obtained the promotion).

Avere Verb Conjugation

Let’s set the basis for learning the avere verb conjugation by understanding how to translate commonly used expressions with the verb to have in the present tense.

Present Tense Avere In Italian Explained

I have in Italian

“Io ho” is how to say I have in Italian. That’s the same whether you want to mean you own, you feel, or any other of its meanings we have seen earlier.

Example: Io ho una mela in mano. (I have an apple in my hand or I am holding an apple).

Has in Italian

For the third person singular the verb avere becomes “ha”. That can be used for a he, she, or it pronoun – lui ha, lei ha, esso/essa ha.

Example: Lui ha una mela in mano. (He is holding an apple.)

You have in Italian

While in English you conjugation of avere stays the same in both singular and plural, and so does the conjugation of the verb avere, in Italian they both change.

Singular – You Have: Tu hai

Plural – You Have: Voi avete


Tu hai una mela in mano. (You are holding an apple)
Voi avete una mela in mano. (They are holding an apple).

We have in Italian

For the first person plural, in Italian, we say “noi abbiamo”.

Example: Noi abbiamo una mela in mano. (We are holding an apple in our hands).

They have in Italian

They have translates to “loro hanno”.

avere verb italian example 2
“Il cane ha fame” means the dog is hungry.

Avere Conjugation – Basic Tenses

PS: In Italian, there are 12 past tense forms, if we also count the conditional, conjunctive, and all the other verb modes. It can get very confusing and overwhelming when you are first learning the Italian verbs. 

I still remember myself as a kid memorizing all of them in my mum’s laundry, walking up and down, and repeating them out loud.

To save you from the overwhelm, I suggest you only learn these four tenses first:

  1. Present
  2. Past – Imperfetto & Passato Prossimo
  3. Future – Futuro Semplice

All of the above fall under the Indicativo mode.

I also think you should learn the Infinito Presente infinite present) and Infinito Passato (infinite past), and the Participio Passato (past participle). They are just one word each.

That’s what we are going to focus on next. I will give you examples of all of those. Later, when you are ready, you can come back and study the other tenses using the chart I provide below.

Let’s start by looking at the present conjugation of the verb avere. Try to memorize it if you can, it will come in handy for the other tenses. 

Io ho
Tu hai
Lui/Lei ha
Noi abbiamo
Voi avete
Loro hanno

Remember that translates to: I have, you have, he/she has, we have, you have, they have.

Avere Imperfetto (Imperfect Tense)

The imperfetto tense (imperfect in English) is used to speak about the past simply, when you want to indicate an action that was happening in the past, like “yesterday, I had a fever”.

Let’s conjugate it:

Io avevo
Tu avevi
Lui/lei aveva
Noi avevamo
Voi avevate
Loro avevano

That translates to: I had, you had, he/she had, we had, you had, they had.


Ieri, avevo la febbre. (Yesterday, I had a fever).
In this case, the io is “sottointeso”, meaning it’s not there but we know the verb is referring to the first person.

Tu avevi le chiavi in borsa. (You had the keys in your handbag)

Lei aveva un sorriso smagliante. (She had a dazzling smile).

Noi avevamo un appuntamento. (We had an appointment)

Voi avevate fretta. (You were in a hurry).

Loro avevano fame. (They were hungry).

PS: The last example shows how in Italian we say I have hunger rather than I am hungry. We can say sono affamata – I am famished, but we say Io ho fame when we want to mean I am hungry. That’s simply because we are using the meaning of the verb avere which implies that I feel hunger.

Avere Passato Prossimo (Present Perfect Tense)

Like in English, the Italian Passato Prossimo is used to speak about the past, but in a way that doesn’t make it feel too far. It’s usually an action we have just completed, either today, yesterday, or a week ago.

This verb is structured as follows: Presente + Participio Passato of the action verb

That means that before conjugating it we need to define and analyze our sentence.

Example: I have slept well. > Ho dormito molto bene.

The action verb here is “dormire” – to sleep.

That means we need the past participle of dormire, which is dormito.

Let’s conjugate it:

Io ho dormito
Tu hai dormito
Lui/lei ha dormito
Noi abbiamo dormito
Voi avete dormito
Loro hanno dormito

Can you see how we simply have the present tense of the verb avere (see above) + the participio passato (past participle)?

The conjugation translates to: I have slept, you have slept, he/she has slept, etc.

When you are ready to learn the other indicative tenses, you’ll quickly see how the trapassato prossimo (past perfect) is simply the imperfetto + past participle. Instead of “io ho dormito”, it becomes “io avevo dormito”.

Avere Future Tense: Futuro Semplice

When you are just starting to learn the Italian verbs and speak in Italian, knowing the simple future tense will come in handy to speak about the future easily. 

Let’s conjugate the Futuro Semplice of the verb Avere:

Io avrò
Tu avrai
Lui/lei avrà
Noi avremo
Voi avrete
Loro avranno

That translates to I will have, you will have, he/she will have, etc.

Let’s see a few examples:

Avrò il bimbo per Pasqua. – I will give birth around Easter.
L’anno prossimo avrai ricevuto la tua laurea. – Next year, I will have received my degree.
Domani avremo tempo di parlarne. – Tomorrow we will have time to speak about it.

You can see how I am using the present tense because I am referring to a future point in time (Pasqua – Easter, l’anno prossimo – next year, domani – tomorrow). However, the choice of the future tense is also tied to the fact that none of those events feel certain yet.

Let me explain..

Even though the future tense is technically used when speaking about something that will happen in the future, in Italian we often use the present tense.

For example: 
La prossima settimana ho un appuntamento dal dottore. (Next week I have a doctor appointment).
Sabato vado a Roma. (On Saturday I am going to Rome).

We do that because those events feel pretty certain, and involve an action that has happened. I booked both the doctor’s appointment and my ticket for going to Rome.

Avere Infinito – Presente & Passato

The infinitive of avere is “avere”. That’s infinito presente.

Whereas the infinito passato (perfect infinitive) is “avere avuto”.

Can you see how that’s simply the infinitive + the past participle of the verb avere?

Avere Participio Passato

So far we have seen how important this little word that makes up the participio passato is when conjugating verbs in Italian, as much as in English. For the verb avere, the participio passato is “avuto“.

We need it for the passato prossimo (present perfect) and the infinito passato (perfect infinitive), which we have already seen above. However, we’ll also need it for 7 more tenses under different verb modes. You can explore all of them in the chart below.

avere verb italian example 3
“Ieri abbiamo visto un bel appartamento”, (Yesterday, we saw a nice apartment”.

Full Avere Conjugation Chart 

Andare Indicativo or Indicative Mood

io ho
tu hai
lui ha
noi abbiamo
voi avete
loro hanno

Meaning 1st person:
I have
io ho avuto
tu hai avuto
lui ha avuto
noi abbiamo avuto
voi avete avuto
loro hanno avuto

Meaning 1st person:
I have had


io avevo
tu avevi
lui aveva
noi avevamo
voi avevate
loro avevano

Meaning 1st person:
I had
io avevo avuto
tu avevi avuto
lui aveva avuto
noi avevamo avuto
voi avevate avuto
loro avevano avuto

Meaning 1st person:
I had had
(historical perfect)
(past anterior)
io ebbi
tu avesti
lui ebbe
noi avemmo
voi aveste
loro ebbero

Meaning 1st person:
I had
io ebbi avuto
tu avesti avuto
lui ebbe avuto
noi avemmo avuto
voi aveste avuto
loro ebbero avuto

Meaning 1st person:
I had had

Avere Indicative Mood

Passato & Trapassato Remoto
In Italian, when you want to talk about actions that took place and were completed in the remote or distant past, you use the passato remoto. It’s like looking at events from a historical perspective. This tense is commonly found in written narratives, literature, or when discussing events that happened a long time ago.

Example: Nel 1985, Mario ebbe una grande idea. – In 1985, Mario had had a great idea.

The Trapassato Remoto is a further step back in the past. So, if you’re already using the passato remoto to talk about a completed past action, you would use the trapassato remoto to describe an action that happened even earlier in relation to that past event.

Example: Dopo che Maria ebbe avuto successo nel suo progetto, decise di avventurarsi in nuove sfide.
– After Maria had succeeded in her project, she decided to venture into new challenges.

(future perfect)
io avrò
tu avrai
lui avrà
noi avremo
voi avrete
loro avranno

Meaning 1st person:
I will have
io avrò avuto
tu avrai avuto
lui avrà avuto
noi avremo avuto
voi avrete avuto
loro avranno avuto

Meaning 1st person:
I will have had

Avere Indicative Mood – Future

Avere Condizionale or Conditional Mood

io avrei
tu avresti
lui avrebbe
noi avremmo
voi avreste
loro avrebbero

1st Person Meaning:
I would have

io avrei avuto
tu avresti avuto
lui avrebbe avuto
noi avremmo avuto
voi avreste avuto
loro avrebbero avuto

1st Person meaning:
I would have had

Conditional of Verb Avere

avere verb italian example 4
Meaning: Did you think I had forgotten you?

Avere Congiuntivo or Subjunctive Mood

che io abbia
che tu abbia
che lui abbia
che noi abbiamo
che voi abbiate
che loro abbiano

1st person meaning:
that I have
che io abbia avuto
che tu abbia avuto
che lui abbia avuto
che noi abbiamo avuto
che voi abbiate avuto
che loro abbiano avuto

1st person meaning:
that I have had


che io avessi
che tu avessi
che lui avesse
che noi avessimo
che voi aveste
che loro avessero

1st person meaning:
that I had

che io avessi avuto
che tu avessi avuto
che lui avesse avuto
che noi avessimo avuto
che voi aveste avuto
che loro avessero avuto

1st person meaning:
that I had had

Avere Subjunctive Mood

Avere Imperativo or Imperative Mood



2nd person meaning: Have

Avere Imperative Mood

Infinito or Infinitive Mood


Meaning: to have
avere avuto

Meaning: to have had

Avere Infinitive Mood

Participio or Participle Mood


Meaning: having

Meaning: had

Avere Participle Mood

Gerundio or Gerund Mood


Meaning: having
Avendo avuto

Meaning: having had

Avere Gerund Mood

Avere Verb Italian Practice Time

While we have already seen many examples with the verb avere, let’s practice some more. Later on, you’ll also get the chance to test your knowledge with a fun quiz.

1. Avere Questions

Here are common questions for which we use avere in Italian, the same as in English.

Do you have.. in Italian?

Hai una penna? – Do you have a pen?
Hai mal di testa? – Do you have a headache?
Ma cosa hai? – What do you have?
Hai qualcosa da dirmi? – Do you have something to tell me?
Cosa hai in mente? – What do you have in mind? 

2. Can I have.. in Italian

Posso avere un fazzoletto? – Can I have a tissue?
Posso avere un bicchiere d’acqua? – Can I have a glass of water?
Posso avere un gelato? – Can I have an ice cream?

PS: The last three examples of asking for something can be made extra polite by replacing “posso” with “potrei”. In that case, we are using the conditional.

That would look like this:
Potrei avere un fazzoletto? – Could I have a tissue?
Potrei avere un bicchiere d’acqua? – Could I have a glass of water?Potrei avere un gelato? – Could I have an ice cream?

3. May I have.. in Italian

May I have in Italian is the same as Can I have?

For example: May I have your attention? – Posso avere la vostra attenzione?

4. Have fun.. in Italian

This time the translation is not the same. We don’t use have in Italian with fun. We have a verb that means having fun, and that verb is “divertisi”. Here are some examples from its conjugation.

Io mi diverto – I have fun
Tu ti diverti – You have fun
Loro si divertono – They have fun

5. How to say have a good time in Italian?

Have a good time is a synonym for have fun both in English and in Italian. For this reason, we use the verb divertirsi here too.


Divertiti – Have a good time
Io mi sto divertendo – I am having fun/ I am having a good time

In example 2 above, you can see me using the gerundio (gerund mode) – sto divertendo, but I am not using the verb avere. Stare is replacing the verb to be here, but we can look into this another time.

6. How to say have a good day in Italian?

You can use any of the the following ways:

Abbi una buona giornata. – Have a good day.
Passa una buona giornata. – Have a good day.
Ti auguro una buona giornata. – I wish you a good day.
Spero tu abbia una buona giornata. – I hope you have a good day.

You can see how I used the verb avere only in examples 1 and 4. In that case, I used the congiuntivo mode or conjunctive.

7. How to say have a good trip in Italian?

The same examples above apply to this. Yet, there’s a key difference. We are not using the verb avere this time. We don’t say have a trip in Italian but make a trip. To make is fare in Italian.

You can say it in any of these ways:

Fai buon viaggio. – Have a good trip.
Ti auguro buon viaggio. – I wish you a good trip.
Spero tu faccia buon viaggio. – I hope you have a good trip.

How To Say Have In Italian – It’s Not Always Avere

Even though the verb avere has different uses and meanings, that doesn’t mean it’s always used in the Italian language.

That’s a common error made when a non-Italian speaker tries to translate from English to Italian. If you use to have in English, that doesn’t mean it will always translate to io ho in Italian.

Here are common English expressions with have that don’t translate to avere in Italian.

Have a drink – Prendi una bibita

Have something to eat – Prendi qualcosa da mangiare

Have breakfast – Fai colazione

Have a snack – Fai merenda

To have lunch – Pranzare

To have a sandwich – Prendere un panino

To have a picnic – Fare un picnic

To have a break – Fare una pausa

To have a rest – Riposarsi

To have a nap – Fare un riposino

To have a shower – Fare una doccia

To have a chat – Fare una chiacchierata

To have fun – Divertirsi

To have a party – Fare una festa

To have a pleasant time – Passare un tempo piacevole

To have a go at – Provare

The opposite is true. There are certain expressions in Italian that take avere but in English they translate to a different verb. Here are a few examples.

Ho fame – I am hungry

Ho sete – I am thirsty

Ho sonno – I am tired

Ho freddo – I am cold

Ho caldo – I am feeling hot

avere verb italian example 5
“Ieri, ho preparato una lasagna deliziosa.”, (Yesterday, I prepared a delicious lasagna).

Avere Verbs Aka Verbs That Take The Auxiliary Avere

At the beginning of this lesson, I told you that the verb avere is an auxiliary verb, meaning it helps other verbs form more complex tenses like passato prossimo. Essere does the same.

So how do you know which auxiliary verb to use in Italian?

Follow this rule:

If the action verb is transitive or can answer the question what?, then you need to use avere as the auxiliary.


1. Io ho mangiato una focaccia. (I have eaten focaccia).
Here the verb mangiare can answer the question what, and the answer is a focaccia, so the auxiliary is avere.

2. Io ho trovato una moneta. (I have found a coin).

3. Io ho sentito un rumore. (I have heard a noise).

The explanation above holds for examples two and three. Both trovare and sentire answer the question what.

List of common verbs that take the auxiliary avere:

You can refer to this list in Italian. That list also includes exceptions of intransitive verbs (that is verbs that don’t answer the question what) that still take the auxiliary avere. Examples are camminare (to walk), cenare (to have dinner), chiacchierare (to chat), litigare (to fight), mentire (to lie).

Avere Verb Italian Quiz

It’s time to test Your Knowledge of the Verb “Avere” in Italian.

Question 1:

What is the main meaning of the verb “avere” in Italian?

a) To be  
b) To do  
c) To have  
d) To go 


Question 2:

In which tense is “avere” used as an auxiliary verb to form past tenses?

a) Present tense  
b) Future tense  
c) Past tense  
d) Conditional tense  

Question 3:

What are some additional meanings of the verb “avere” besides “to have”?
a) To run  
b) To see  
c) To own, to hold, to feel, to experience, to obtain  
d) To speak  

Question 4:

Translate the sentence: “Fabrizio ha due case in montagna.” 

a) Fabrizio has two cars in the mountains.  
b) Fabrizio owns two houses in the mountains.  
c) Fabrizio is holding two apples in the mountains.  
d) Fabrizio has two cats in the mountains.  

Question 5:

What is the conjugation for the first person singular (Io) in the present tense of “avere”?

a) Io ha  
b) Io hai  
c) Io ho  
d) Io aveva  

Question 6:

How do you say “They have” in Italian?

a) Loro ha  
b) Loro avevano  
c) Loro hanno  
d) Loro era  

Question 7:

What is the past participle of the verb “avere”?

a) Averuto  
b) Avo  
c) Avuto  
d) Avrei  

Question 8:

Which tense is used to indicate an action that was happening in the past, like “yesterday, I had a fever”?

a) Present tense  
b) Past Perfect tense  
c) Imperfect 
d) Future tense  

Question 9:

Translate the sentence: “Potrei avere un gelato?” 

a) I could have an ice cream.  
b) Could I have an ice cream?  
c) I will have an ice cream.  
d) I had an ice cream.  

Question 10:

Which expression is used for “Have a good time” in Italian?

a) Posso avere  
b) Potrei avere  
c) Divertiti  
d) Posso avere?  


1. c) To have  
2. c) Past tense  
3. c) To own, to hold, to feel, to experience, to obtain  
4. b) Fabrizio owns two houses in the mountains.  
5. c) Io ho  
6. c) Loro hanno  
7. c) Avuto  
8. c) Imperfect
9. b) Could I have an ice cream?  
10. c) Divertiti

Final Thoughts

The verb “avere” lets you express a lot with just one word in Italian. Whether you want to say you’re hungry, have a question, or own a house, “avere” covers it. Next time you speak Italian, pay attention to how this little verb connects your sentences. Mastering “avere” takes practice, but soon you’ll be using it automatically to describe the world around you. With this key building block in place, you’ll pave the way to fluency in your new language.

Learn these verbs next:

Italian Verb Essere
Italian Verb Dire
Italian Verb Andare

Frequently Asked Questions About Italian Avere Verb

How do you know if a verb is essere or avere?

Most verbs use avere as an auxiliary verb in compound tenses. Verbs that express motion or change generally use essere. You have to memorize which verbs take essere.

Is Avere used with transitive verbs?

Yes, avere is typically used as the auxiliary verb with transitive verbs in compound verb tenses. Transitive verbs are action verbs that have a direct object.

What is the gerund of Avere in Italian?

The gerund of avere is avendo.

What are the 6 forms of Avere?

The six basic verb forms of avere are:

  1. Infinitive – avere
  2. Gerund – avendo
  3. Past Participle – avuto
  4. Present Indicative – ho, hai, ha, abbiamo, avete, hanno
  5. Imperfect – avevo, avevi, aveva, avevamo, avevate, avevano
  6. Future – avrò, avrai, avrà, avremo, avrete, avranno

Which verbs use avere?

Most Italian verbs use avere as the auxiliary verb except for modal verbs, reflexive verbs, verbs that express motion/change (like arrivare, diventare, salire) and some intransitive verbs (like morire, nascere).

Is Avere a regular verb?

Yes, avere is a regular Italian verb. It follows the typical regular verb conjugation patterns.

What does Avere conjugation mean?

Avere conjugation refers to the different forms of the verb avere based on the subject pronoun, tense, and mood. It shows how avere is properly inflected in Italian.

What is the past participle of Avere?

The past participle of avere is avuto. For example, to say “I have had” use “ho avuto” in Italian.

What’s the future perfect of Avere?

The future perfect of avere is avrò avuto. For example, “Avrò avuto la macchina per 10 anni” means “I will have had the car for 10 years.”

How to conjugate Avere in the past tense?

In the past tense, known as the imperfetto, avere is conjugated as follows: avevo, avevi, aveva, avevamo, avevate, avevano

What’s the past perfect tense of Avere?

The past perfect or trapassato prossimo tense of avere is: io avevo avuto, tu avevi avuto, lui/lei aveva avuto, noi avevamo avuto, voi avevate avuto, loro avevano avuto.

How to conjugate Avere in Passato Remoto?

The passato remoto conjugation of avere is: io ebbi, tu avesti, lui/lei ebbe, noi avemmo,
voi aveste, loro ebbero.

What’s an example of avere compound tense?

An example of avere compound tense is the passato prossimo: Ho avuto fame (I was hungry) Hai avuto un’idea (You had an idea)

How to use avere to speak about future actions?

Use the future tense of avere + a verb infinitive. Example: Avrò finito il lavoro domani (I will have finished the work tomorrow).

Key Grammar Rules about Avere?

What’s the essere and avere rule as auxiliary verbs?

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