Repeating auxiliary verbs in passato prossimo

Hi everyone,

Is it necessary to repeat auxiliary verb in passato prossimo,for example in this case and similar cases ..: "Abbiamo parlato e abbiamo guardato la TV " .. or is it enough just to say 'abbiamo' once in the sentence?

Grazie :)

April 28, 2019


You can omit the auxiliary for the second verb (and any following one) if it is close enough to the first one, separated by no more than two or three words. The longer the separation grows, the more repeating the auxiliary sounds better Italian:

  • Abbiamo parlato e guardato la TV.

  • Abbiamo parlato, cucinato, cenato e guardato la TV.

  • Abbiamo parlato e poi guardato la TV.

  • Abbiamo parlato e poi anche guardato la TV.

  • Abbiamo parlato e poi dopo una mezz'ora anche guardato la TV. ← still grammatical, but repeating the auxiliary is advisable.

It is important that no other verb stands between the two past participles:

  • Abbiamo parlato e poi, dopo aver cenato, guardato la TV. wrong!

Obviously, if two consecutive verbs take different auxiliaries, both of them must be spoken, also because the past participle that follows essere is always inflected (it agrees with the subject), while the one that follows avere is more often invariable (unless it comes with a direct object clitic pronoun, or ne, in which case it agrees with the direct object):

  • Abbiamo parlato e siamo usciti.

  • Abbiamo parlato e usciti. wrong!

  • Ci siamo incontrati e abbiamo parlato.

  • Ci siamo incontrati e parlato. wrong!

April 29, 2019

So helpful. Thank you.

April 29, 2019

This is an excellent question. CivisRomanus, the end of your post makes me wonder, can you leave out the auxiliary with two reciprocal verbs? Say, "Ci siamo incontrati e parlati" for "Ci siamo incontrati e ci siamo parlati"?

April 29, 2019

Thank you - that was a very clear explanation!

April 30, 2019

Good question. I have been happily using it just once, but now I'm wondering. Abbiamo parlato e guardato la TV allo stesso tempo. We will soon know...

April 28, 2019

Civis will show up soon ;) I know you can do that in Spanish (not repeat the auxiliary) but I'm not sure of Italian. My guess (without any evidence whatsoever) is that if the auxiliary changes then it would have to be repeated, like "Abbiamo parlato e siamo stati..." but maybe if both auxiliaries are the same it doesn't need to be repeated.

April 28, 2019

Good guess! :-)

April 29, 2019

Grazie Christian. We wait in anticipation.

April 28, 2019

Good explanation, thank you !

April 29, 2019
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