Italian passive voice with auxiliary verbs VENIRE and ANDARE

How to form the passive voice in Italian with the verbs "venire" and "andare" as auxiliaries

In this lesson I explain the passive form with verbs "venire" and "andare".

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Full video transcript | Italian version

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Full video transcript

Below you can find the video transcript | Full Italian transcript

In this video I'm gonna talk about the passive form of Italian verbs and specifically about the verbs "venire" and "andare" used as auxiliary verbs to form the passive voice.

This is an Italian lesson for non-native speakers. In other words, this is a video for those who can understand Italian and would like to go from intermediate to advanced level Italian.

I'm Luca. Welcome (back) to my channel!

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In my lessons, for the most part, I explain things that aren't usually taught in traditional Italian courses. Like I said, my lessons are geared toward those who would like to reach the advanced level and ideally speak Italian like a native speaker.

So buckle up your seatbelt and prepare to fly to the kingdom of advanced Italian!

Like I said, in this lesson I wanna talk about the verbs "venire" and "andare" used as auxiliaries to form the passive voice.

This video is my reply to a request I received some time ago from one of my subscribers. This person asked me to explain the difference between (the phrases) "è considerato" and "viene considerato".

In this video I'll give you two answers: a short answer and a long answer.

The short answer is for those people who have only 20 seconds and then need to go save the world.

The long answer, by contrast, is for those people who want to get a deeper understanding of passive forms with the verb "venire".

The short answer is this: You can either say "è considerato" or "viene considerato". There is no difference.

For instance, I can say: "Alessandro Manzoni è considerato il più grande scrittore italiano di tutti i tempi". Well, actually that's not true, I just wanted to give you an example. Or I could say: "Alessandro Manzoni viene considerato il più grande scrittore italiano di tutti i tempi".

What's the difference? There's no difference whatsoever. As auxiliary verb I can use either "essere" or "venire". These sentences mean the same thing.

Now let's go to the long answer!

Let's take a sentence at random. For instance: "Luca mangia il panino". So, in this sentence I have used the active form of the verb "mangiare". If I wanted, I could use the passive form of the verb "mangiare" and say: "ll panino è mangiato da Luca".

From a logical point of view there's no difference. These sentences are different only on a grammatical level. Basically, they are two different ways of saying the same thing.

I can either use the active voice and say "Luca mangia il panino", or I can use the passive voice and say: "ll panino è mangiato da Luca".

Anyway, as you can see from the examples I gave you, the passive voice is normally formed using (the verb) "essere" as auxiliary.

In theory, as auxiliary, one can also use the verb "venire". So, instead of saying "Il panino è mangiato da Luca", I could say: "Il panino viene mangiato da Luca".

The verb "venire" is typically used with verbs referring to a movement or action of some sort. And the verb "venire" makes this point clear: that it's not a state, but rather a process, an action.

Keep in mind that in any case the verb "venire" is used very often in place of the verb "essere" in the passive form. So we're not talking about a limited, rare, or uncommon usage - quite the opposite!

Please pay attention! This is extremely important! "Venire" can be used as auxiliary only for single-word verb tenses.

It cannot be used, for instance, for the "passato prossimo" tense. For all multi-word verb tenses such as "passato prossimo", you must use the verb "essere". So you must say: "Questo computer è stato prodotto in Cina". You can't say: "Questo computer è venuto prodotto in Cina".

So, well, "venire" can only be used with single-word verb tenses.

Let's do some concrete examples straight away!

For instance, I could say: "Questo computer è prodotto in Cina". Alternatively, I could say: "Questo computer viene prodotto in Cina".

In the first case, as auxiliary to form the passive voice I used the verb "essere", in the other case I used the verb "venire". What's the difference between these 2 sentences? There's no difference.

Another example could be: "I biglietti sono venduti su Internet". I could say that, or alternatively I could say: "I biglietti vengono venduti su internet".

Again, they mean the same thing, it's just that in one case I used the verb "essere", in the other case I used the verb "venire".

Well, I only gave you examples with the "presente indicativo" tense, that is with the passive voice of the present indicative.

Let's do some examples with the "imperfetto" tense!

For instance, going back to our previous sentence, I could say: "Questo computer era prodotto in Cina". Alternatively, I can use the verb "venire" and say: "Questo computer veniva prodotto in Cina".

Similarly, I could say: "I biglietti erano venduti su Internet". Or "I biglietti venivano venduti su Internet".

Generally speaking, in these 2 sentences I feel that the verb "venire" sounds much better, so I definitely prefer the version with "venire".

That depends on the specific verb. In these cases we have 2 verbs, "produrre" and "vendere", referring to a physical action or process and so with these verbs the verb "venire" is more suited as auxiliary.

Let's do an example with the future tense!

"Questo computer verrà prodotto in Cina". I can say that, or I can say: "Questo computer sarà prodotto in Cina".

Similarly, I can say: "I biglietti verranno venduti su Internet" or "I biglietti saranno venduti su Internet".

I originally planned to discuss only the verb "venire" as auxiliary to form the passive. Then I actually decided to talk about the verb "andare" as well, because it is used in a similar fashion.

The difference is that the verb "andare" adds not only a passive meaning, but also conveys the idea of "must be done".

Let me give you an example straight away!

"Questo lavoro va finito entro le 4".

What does it mean? This job must be completed by 4 o'clock.

Another example could be: "Questa lettera va spedita oggi". What does it mean? This letter must be submitted today.

Another example could be: "Le proposte vanno presentate entro il 15 dicembre". What does it mean? Proposals must be submitted by December 15th.

Another example could be: "Il cancello va chiuso, non va lasciato aperto". What does it mean? The gate should be closed, it shouldn't be left open.

So, as you can see, the verb "andare" conveys the idea of "must be done".

An important difference compared to the verb "venire" is that with the verb "andare" in the passive voice you can't use (so called) "complemento d'agente", that is you can't specify who must do that.

You can't say: "Questa lettera va spedita oggi da Marco". You can't specify "da Marco". Similarly, you can't say: "Questo lavoro va finito entro stasera da noi".

But let me give you some examples with other verb tenses!

For instance, let's consider the "imperfetto" tense! I could say: "Questa lettera andava spedita ieri". What does it mean? This letter should have been submitted yesterday.

Alternatively I could say: "Il cancello andava chiuso, non andava lasciato aperto". What does it mean? The gate should have been closed, it shouldn't have been left open.

Something that I want to stress is that the verb "andare" as well can be used only with single-word verb tenses, it can't be used with multi-word verb tenses.

For instance, it can't be used for the "passato prossimo" tense. In other words, you can't say, for instance: "Il cancello è andato chiuso". You can say "il cancello va chiuso", meaning that the gate should be closed, but you can't say "il cancello è andato chiuso".

I don't know if you know the phrasal compound DA plus infinitive mood. I mean noun + preposition DA + infinitive mood. Well, I'd say that in a sense the passive voice with the verb "andare" is similar to this word combination.

Here you can find a card to a video I made not so long ago and in which I specifically talk about this phrasal compound. If you want to speak Italian well, check it out!

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