Italian Present Progressive: Easily Study This Fundamental Italian Tense (With 2 Songs to Learn by Heart!)

Last Updated on October 23, 2021 by

Italian Present ProgressiveThis Italian language lesson illustrates the Italian present progressive tense that’s used to describe actions that are in progress at a specific moment in time (the present).

The Present Progressive in English

In English, it is the auxiliary verb “to be” and the present participle.

In plain English, the “present participle” means verbs with “ing” attached to the end of the verb. The present tense is used much more frequently in English than it is used in Italian.

The Present Progressive in Italian

As in Italian, we use it to talk about actions that are in progress now or right now. However, in English, we also use the present progressive tense to describe habitual actions or to speak in general. For example:

She is taking Italian lessons.

I am reading a book.
You are working in the office.

Normally in Italian, the present tense is used to emphasize that an action is taking place now. But many Italian grammar books do not indicate that there is another use for the present progressive tense. And that the present progressive tense can be used to stress that action is continuous…

Since the Italian grammar books teach you that the Italian present progressive tense is only used to describe actions that are in progress right now, probably you will not use the present progressive tense to say that “I am learning Italian.”

Because you are not learning Italian at that specific moment. Therefore you will say:

Studio Italiano.

But the right expression is:

Sto studiando l’Italiano.

How to Form the Italian Present Progressive

As you can see in Italian, we form the present progressive tense by conjugating the verb “stare” with the present gerund (gerundio presente).

You form regular “are” present gerund by dropping the “are” and adding “ando” to the root of the verb:

So “gioc-are” (to play) becomes “gioc-ando”, “ballare” (to dance) becomes “ballando”, etc.

I ragazzi stanno giocando a pallone.
The boys are playing football.
La coppia sta ballando un valzer.
The couple is dancing the waltz.

And you form regular “-ere” present gerund by dropping the “-ere” and adding “-endo” to the verb root:

“Ved-ere” (to see) becomes “ved-endo“, “vendere” (to sell) becomes “vend-endo“, etc.

La neve sta cadendo copiosa.
Snow is falling heavily.
Giorgio sta vendendo casa.
Giorgio is selling his house.

Similarly, the present gerund of verbs terminating in ire is created by adding the suffix “endo”:

Il bambino sta dormendo.
The baby is sleeping.
Sto finendo un lavoro.
I’m finishing up a job.

The uncle is working. = El tío está trabajando.
The father-in-law is dancing. = El suegro está bailando.
The stepmother is cooking the lobster. = La madrastra está cocinando la langosta.
The grandson is doing nothing. = El nieto no está haciendo nada.
You are washing the windows. = Tú estás limpiando las ventanas.

Learning Italian StrategiesConjugation of the Verb “Stare”

Here’s the conjugation of the verb “stare”, which, in this case, it is an auxiliary and corresponds more or less to the verb to be in English. 

io sto I am noi stiamo we are
tu stai you are voi state you are
lei, lui sta she, he is loro stanno they are
Lei (polite form) she, he is Loro stanno They
See also  Easy Learning - Italian Grammar 101: the Verb "Piacere"

Grammar note: This verb is used in Italian with another meaning that corresponds roughly to the English verb “to stay”.

Italian Present Progressive Exercises

So, now that you know the present tense of “stare” and how to form the present gerund of Italian verbs, you can take the following exercises. Try to translate the following phrases into Italian:

Learn the Italian Present Progressive through a Catchy Song

L’estate Sta Finendo – The Summer Is Ending 

L’estate sta finendo
e un anno se ne va
sto diventando grande,
lo sai che non mi va.In spiaggia di ombrelloni
non ce ne sono più
è il solito rituale
ma ora manchi tu.Languidi brividi
come il ghiaccio bruciano
quando sto con te. Baciami,
siamo due satelliti
in orbita sul mar.È tempo che i gabbiani
arrivino in città…
L’estate sta finendo,
lo sai che non mi va.

Io sono ancora solo,
non è una novità.
Tu hai già chi ti consola,
a me chi penserà.

Languidi brividi…
L’estate sta finendo
e un anno se ne va,
sto diventando grande
lo sai che non mi va.

Una fotografia
è tutto quel che ho
ma stanne pur sicura
io non ti scorderò.

L’estate sta finendo
e un anno se ne va
sto diventando grande
anche se non mi va.

L’estate sta finendo
l’estate sta finendo
l’estate sta finendo oh oh oh oh
l’estate sta finendo

Summer is ending
And a year goes by,
I’m getting older
you know I don’t want to.There are no more umbrellas
on the beach,
it’s the usual ritual
but now you’re missing.Languid shivers
like ice burn
When I’m with you. Kiss me,
we are two satellites
in orbit over the sea.It’s time for the seagulls
come to town…
Summer is ending,
you know I don’t want to

I’m still alone,
that’s nothing new.
You already have those who console you,
Who will think of me

Languid shivers…
Summer is ending
And a year goes by,
I’m getting older
You know I don’t want to.

A photograph
Is all I have
But rest assured
I won’t forget you

Summer is ending
And a year goes by
I’m getting older
Even though I don’t want to

Summer is ending
summer is ending
summer is ending oh oh oh oh oh
summer is ending

Learn the Italian Gerund through another Catchy Italian Song

Here’s a song that is sung by Luca Barbarossa with the title of the tense: “Gerundio” (gerund):

Intendo cantando in gerundio
Che pendo nel mondo
E mentendo mi vendo,
Girando, correndo e saltando.
Volendo o nolendo,
Vivendo mi spendo, sudando.

Finire col dire d’amare
È come non dire
Come non finire.

E tu che mi credevi un pazzo
Invece sono normale
E tu che mi dicevi ragazzo
Mi guarderai invecchiare
E fuggirai, fuggirai.

Ma forse tutto quanto questo già lo sai
Comprendo raschiando dal fondo
Bevendo e tremando
Che fuggendo mi arrendo
Viaggiando bucando e criccando
Spingendo e trainando
Imprecando mi incendio
Forse le corse già perse
Andranno ricorse
Da comparse diverse
E tu che mi credevi perbene
E invece sono perduto
E tu che mi tenevi in catene
E poi gridavi aiuto
Ti pentirai
Ma forse tutto quanto questo già lo sai:
Ma forse tutto quanto questo già lo sai

I mean singing in the gerund
That I hang in the world
And lying I sell myself
Turning running and jumping.
Wanting or not wanting
Living I spend myself sweating.

Ending up saying I love
Is like not saying
Like not finishing.

And you thought I was crazy
But I’m normal
And you who told me boy
Will you watch me grow old
And escape, escape.

But maybe all this you already know
I understand scraping from the bottom
Drinking and trembling
That by fleeing I surrender
Traveling drilling and cracking
Pushing and pulling
Raging I burn
Maybe the races already lost
Will be resorted to
By different extras
And you who thought I was good
But instead, I am lost
And you who held me in chains
And then cried for help
You will repent
You will run away
But maybe you already know that:
You will run
But maybe all this you already know

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