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If you only remember one thing:

In English         I like it/you/them

In Italian          it pleases me

The word is: PIACERE A (to like/be pleased by)

  • is a regular verb
  • takes essere in the past tense: mi è piaciuto/a
  • remember: piacere + a
  • a me=mi; a te=ti; a voi=vi; a noi=ci; a lui = gli

Conjugation: present tense – I like it/them

Who What Conjugation What Conjugation
I like

it/you

mi piace/i* them mi piacciono

You like

it/you ti piace them ti piacciono
You like it/you Le piace them Le piacciono
She likes it/you le piace them le piacciono
He likes it/you gli piace them gli piacciono
You (pl) like   it/you vi piace them vi piacciono
They like it/you piace a loro/gli piace
them piacciono a loro/gli piacciono
  • In all cases the pronoun comes before the verb, except for with ‘they’, where ‘a loro’ follows the verb.
  • IMPORTANT:  gli is often used for them instead of the more correct a loro (gli is also used for him).
  • E.g. “mi piace la musica pop” (I like pop music); “mi piace moltissimo” (I like it very much).
  • *NB: to say “I like you Paulo” you should say ‘mi piaci’, where for I like ‘it’ or “you Sig. Fretti” you should say ‘mi piace’.  This is because with ‘tu’ “ere” verbs end in ‘i’ and with Lei “ere” verbs end in ‘e’.
  • Remember: ‘ti’ for a friend and Le for a strange/to be formal.

Congiuntivo example

E.g. “vi piaccia o non piaccia”: whether you (pl) like it or not. 

  • Remember: congiuntivo can be used simply to be polite as well as after certain key words, e.g. credo che.
  • See my separate notes on the subjunctive – it’s fairly advance grammar.  For most it’s enough to recognise it.


Conjugation: present tense – you/he/she/they “like me” or “you like us”

The conjugation of piacere is REGULAR:

you like me (inf.) io ti piaccio you pl. like me voi mi piacete
I like you (inf.) tu mi piaci you pl. like me io vi piaccio
we like you (inf.) ci piaci
you (inf.) like us ti piacciamo
they like me io piaccio a loro/gli piaccio

Conjugation: “Paolo/he/she likes X”

REMEMBER:  “A Paolo piace/piacciono

  • una soluzione che piace a tutti : a solution that appeals to everybody;
  • NOT: Paolo si piace.

Conjugation: past tense (passato prossimo)

Gender of subject General form Examples
mi/ti/gli/le….
Masc singular è piaciuto

- il film gli è piaciuto molto
- quel tizio non mi è mai piaciuto

Fem singular è piaciuta  - la borsa mi è piacuita
Masc plural sono piaciuti  - i film mi sono piaciuti
Fem plural/comb. fem/masc sono piaciute/i  - le gonne mi sono piaciute- la gonna e il casco mi sono piaciuti

Passato remoto

See my notes here on the passato remoto.  While writing them, it made me think about how I would translate “I liked it” in the passato remoto: mi piaque?  And I liked them: mi piacquero?

Talk about a test!

Idiomatic expressions

“vuoi ballare?” : “con grande PIACERE!” “would you like to dance?” “I’d love to!”
ho appreso con PIACERE  che I was delighted to hear that
che PIACERE vederti! how nice to see you!
provare PIACERE nel o a fare to enjoy doing;
avrei PIACERE che tu… I would like you to…
ho avuto il PIACERE di fare la loro conoscenza I had the pleasure of meeting them
ho il PIACERE di informarvi che… I am pleased to inform you that…
se ti fa PIACERE, se la cosa può farti PIACERE if it’ll make you happy
le ha fatto PIACERE che it pleased her that
mi fa molto PIACERE vedervi I’m delighted to see you
(in formule di cortesia) (tanto) PIACERE how do you do, nice to meet you;
PIACERE di conoscerla, di fare la sua conoscenza nice/pleased to meet you
il PIACERE è tutto mio the pleasure is all mine
viaggio di PIACERE holiday trip
è un PIACERE guardarla she’s a pleasure to watch
fare un PIACERE a qcn. to do somebody a favour/a good turn
fammi il PIACERE! (ironic) do me a favour!
mi faccia il PIACERE di tacere! (would you) shut up please!
per PIACERE please
a PIACERE at will/at pleasure
prima il dovere, poi il PIACERE prov. duty comes first
andare giù che è un PIACERE [cibo, vino] to go down well
piove che è un PIACERE! it’s pouring!
questa macchina va che è un PIACERE this car handles like a dream.
come vi piace! as you like it!/as you prefer!
faccio come mi pare e piace I do as I please
lo spettacolo è piaciuto molto the show was very successful/was a hit
piacersi (a se stesso) to like oneself/each other
non è bello ciò che è bello, ma è bello ciò che piace beauty is in the eye of the beholder
a Dio piacendo God willing.

In my class on Monday there was a lot of confusion about how to use piacere in any other way than to say ‘I like it/them”.  In my class most students have been learning Italian for nearly 5 years or more.  However, sometimes it’s the basics that people forget!

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11 thoughts on “How to use PIACERE in Italian

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