Reciprocal Verbs

Verbi reciproci
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Verbi reciproci

Reciprocal verbs are a type of pronominal verb, meaning they have both a subject pronoun and a reflexive pronoun. In the case of reciprocal verbs, the reflexive pronoun indicates that the action of the verb is exchanged between two or more subjects acting upon each other.

Per esempio…

Si amano.   They love each other.
Ci conosciamo.   We know each other.
Vi parlate spesso?   Do you talk to each other often?

Most common Italian reciprocal verbs

adorarsi   to adore each other
amarsi   to love each other
ascoltarsi   to listen to each other
baciarsi   to kiss each other
cercarsi   to look for each other
chiamarsi   to call each other
comprendersi   to understand each other
conoscersi   to know each other
farsi del male   to hurt each other
guardarsi   to look at each other
incontrarsi   to meet each other
lasciarsi   to leave each other
litigarsi   to fight with each other
odiarsi   to hate each other
parlarsi   to talk to each other
promettersi   to promise each other
raccontarsi   to tell each other
scriversi   to write to each other
sorridersi   to smile at each other
superarsi   to outdo/outwit each other
vedersi   to see each other

 Note that most of these verbs can also be reflexive. To stress the reciprocal nature of the verb, you can include something like

  • l’un l’altro – each other
  • mutuamente – mutually
  • reciprocamente – reciprocally
  • tra noi/voi/loro – between us/you/them

All of the above verbs require a reflexive pronoun when they indicate that the subjects are acting upon each other. But remember than they can also be used non-reflexively, to express the verb’s action directed at someone or something else (or nothing, in the case of intransitive verbs).

 In confronto…

Si guardano. vs Guardano al tv.
They’re looking at each other.
  They’re looking at the TV.
Vi sorridete. vs Sorridete.
You’re smiling at each other.   You’re smiling.

 Related lessons

Learn Spanish En español

Learn French En français

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Italian reciprocal verbs

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