Sunday, February 20, 2011


PROFESSORE ROSSI: Class, we are going to begin conjugating verbs today. We start with the present tense and the verb mangiare, which means “to eat.”
THOMAS: So the present tense is for things happening now?
PROFESSORE ROSSI: Yes, exactly. For example, Matt mangia rocce. Matt eats rocks.
THOMAS: I see. It means that right now Matt is eating rocks.
PROFESSORE ROSSI: It can either mean that Matt is currently eating rocks or that on a regular basis Matt eats rocks. I meant the latter.
MATT: Hang on a second.
PROFESSORE ROSSI: Don’t worry, Matt. You’ll get the hang of these verbs in no time. Here is another example off the top of my head. Matt consuma le pietre. Matt consumes stones.
BRITTANY: (moving her desk away from Matt's) I’m beginning to see the pattern here.
MATT: I don’t know what any of you are talking about.
PROFESSORE ROSSI: I am using the third person present tense here, Matt. The verbs ending in –are drop the “re” and the verbs ending with –ire or –ere drop the endings and end with an “e.” For instance, Matt mangia la sabbina prima classe. Matt eats sand before class.
MATT: I don’t eat sand. I have never eaten sand.
PROFESSORE ROSSI: You’re missing the point, Matt. Please don’t take these examples personally. Present tense verbs change endings. Let’s try a first-person verb. Io vedo Matt mangiare bricchette di carbone. I see Matt eat charcoal briquettes.
MATT: None of this is true. Can I try a sentence?
PROFESSORE ROSSI: Please do. Just try not to spit any sand onto the floor.
MATT: Professore Rossi racconte bugie. Professor Rossi tells lies.
PROFESSORE ROSSI: Close, Matt, but the correct verb form is racconta. And also I suggest you see a doctor. I am concerned for the lining of your stomach.

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