Modal Verbs Volere, Potere, Dovere. Conjugation

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Welcome to our Italian grammar course for beginners! Today we`re going to talk about the most important modal verbs.

Modal verbs express various degrees of ability, necessity, or possibility. You need to use them if you want to express ability, necessity or obligation, possibility, politeness, making requests and offers. You will also use them if you give recommendations or advices.

In Italian modal verbs are usually followed by the infinitive form of the main verb. Also, the conjugation of the modal verb depends on the subject pronoun and should match in tense and person with the main verb in the sentence.
Let`s dive into the most common modal verbs and how to use them:

Dovere (Must/Should)

Here`s an overview of its conjugation in the Present tense:

Subject Essere (It.) Must (Eng.)
Io devo I must
Tu devi You must
Lui / Lei deve He/She/It must
Noi dobbiamo We must
Voi dovete You must
Loro devono They must

"Dovere" is used to express necessity, obligation, or duty.
Deve studiare per l`esame. (He must study for the exam.)
Devono mangiare più verdure. (They have to eat more vegetables.)

Potere (Can/To Be Able to)

Here`s an overview of its conjugation in the Present tense:

Subject Potere (It.) Can (Eng.)
Io posso I can
Tu puoi You can
Lui / Lei può He/She/It can
Noi possiamo We can
Voi potete You can
Loro possono They can

"Potere" indicates capability, possibility, or permission.
Puoi parlare inglese. (You can speak English.)
Possiamo uscire con gli amici al cinema. (We can go out with friends to the cinema.)

Volere (Want/To Want to)

Here`s an overview of its conjugation in the Present tense:

Subject Volere (It.) Want (Eng.)
Io voglio I want
Tu vuoi You want
Lui / Lei vuole He/She/It wants
Noi vogliamo We want
Voi volete You want
Loro vogliono They want

"Volere" expresses desire, intention, or determination.
Vuole imparare a suonare la chitarra. (He wants to learn how to play the guitar.)
Vogliamo venire al cinema. (We want to come to the cinema.)

Practice using these modal verbs in different contexts to become more familiar with their usage. As you gain more experience, you`ll develop a better sense of when and how to use each modal verb effectively. Good luck!