What is the meaning of attendere?
The Italian verb attendere means, primarily, to wait or to await. It is also used as to attend to, although this latter meaning is less frequent and a little more antiquated.
When attendere means to wait, it is a false friend for an English speaker, in that it resembles the English verb to attend, but its meaning is different. More rarely, when attendere means to attend to, it is not a false friend for an English speaker.
The verb to attend in English and attendere in Italian both have the same Latin origin: ad + tendere (to stretch toward). It is very common for English and Italian words which have a common Latin root to be false friends, at least in one of their meanings, if they have a double meaning.
What conjugation does attendere belong to?
Attendere belongs to the second Italian conjugation. Its infinitive form ends in -ere (attendere), the past participle form is atteso (irregular) and the gerund ends in -endo (attendendo).
Is attendere regular or irregular?
Attendere is an irregular verb, therefore its verb endings don’t follow a regular pattern throughout the conjugation, although the only irregularity of attendere lies in the past participle, which is atteso rather than attenduto, as you would expect if attendere were a regular verb.
Does attendere use an essere or avere auxiliary?
Italian compound tenses such as the present perfect (passato prossimo) require the main verb to be preceded by an auxiliary, essere or avere.
The verb attendere takes the avere auxiliary in compound tenses (for example hanno atteso le notizie tutto il pomeriggio – they waited for the news all afternoon).
In Italian, attendere is both a transitive and intransitive verb. It is transitive when used with a direct object (for example attendiamo le notizie – we are waiting for the news) and intransitive when it means to attend to (for example attendo ai miei doveri – I attend to my duties). In both cases, attendere takes the avere auxiliary.
Uses of attendere
Attendere is mainly used in formal contexts such as client-company relationships, public places (both in writing and speaking), offices, and so on.
Here are some examples:
- Attendiamo l’ esito delle analisi – we are waiting for the test results (this phrase is quite formal and well suited to a medical setting)
- Attenda in linea per favore – hold the line please (this phrase is for use in a phone call and it addresses the person with the formal lei in the third person subjunctive of attendere, used as an imperative)
- La preghiamo di attendere – please wait (this is a formal phrase which literally says “we beg you to wait”. It is used to manage queues on the phone and to make written or spoken announcements to customers, users of a service, etc.
- Attendo con ansia tue notizie – I look forward to your news (the literal meaning of this is “I anxiously wait for your news”. It is quite a formal phrase more suitable to written Italian, such as in a letter or email)
- Ho atteso per due ore – I waited for two hours (this phrase is slightly more formal than if you were to use the synonym aspettare and say ho aspettato per due ore instead)
- Devo attendere ai miei doveri – I must attend to my duties (this phrase is quite formal and slightly antiquated)
How to use attendere with conjuctions and prepositions
Attendere che + subject + verb
Attendere can be followed by the conjunction che, which means that in Italian, and is used to introduce a subordinate clause. In English, attendere che… means to wait for….something to happen/ someone to do something.
Here is an example:
- I pazienti attendono che arrivi il loro turno – the patients are waiting for it to be their turn (literally this translates to “the patients are waiting that their turn arrives”)
Attendere di + infinitive
The preposition di is also commonly used with attendere. Di can take various meanings in Italian. Attendere di + verb means to wait to do something. Note that with aspettare di the subject of the main and dependent clauses is the same:
- I pazienti attendono di entrare dal medico – the patients are waiting to go into the doctor’s
Italian set phrases with attendere
The Italian verb attendere is most commonly used in formal situations and relationships so set phrases with attendere are mainly used in announcements and messages. For example:
- Attendere prego – please wait
This is the standard, polite, way to say “please wait” in a message or announcement Italian. It is seen and heard in messages and announcements of various kinds.
- Si prega di attendere – please wait
This is an even more polite way to say “please wait” in Italian. The literal meaning is “you are begged to wait”.
Synonyms of attendere
The closest synonym of attendere is aspettare, which also means to wait but is less formal and more widely applicable than attendere.
Nouns related to attendere
There are three main nouns which are closely related to the verb attendere:
- Attendente – orderly.
The word attendente is the participle form of the verb attendere, and it reminds us of the English word attendant and waiter. However, attendente in Italian is confined to a military setting and means orderly. It is worth noting that the Italian for flight attendant is not attendente but assistente di volo.
- Attesa – wait
Ho provato ad arrivare in tempo ma l’ attesa per comprare il biglietto è stata lunghissimaI tried to arrive on time but the wait to buy the ticket was very long
The word attesa means wait, and is not to be confused with the past participle (feminine) of attendere, which is a verb.
- Sala d’ attesa – waiting room/ lounge. A synonym of this is sala d’ aspetto.
The complete conjugation of attendere
In the table below you can see the complete conjugation of attendere in all tenses and moods.
|Verb Tense||IO||TU||LUI/ LEI||NOI||VOI||LORO|
|Present perfect indicative||ho atteso||hai atteso||ha atteso||abbiamo atteso||avete atteso||hanno atteso|
|Past perfect indicative||avevo atteso||avevi atteso||aveva atteso||avevamo atteso||avevate atteso||avevano atteso|
|Remote past indicative||attesi||attendesti||attese||attendemmo||attendeste||attesero|
|Preterite perfect indicative||ebbi atteso||avesti atteso||ebbe atteso||avemmo atteso||aveste atteso||ebbero atteso|
|Simple future indicative||attenderò||attenderai||attenderà||attenderemo||attenderete||attenderanno|
|Future perfect indicative||avrò atteso||avrai atteso||avrà atteso||avremo atteso||avrete atteso||avranno atteso|
|Past perfect conditional||avrei atteso||avresti atteso||avrebbe atteso||avremmo atteso||avreste atteso||avrebbero atteso|
|Past gerund||avendo atteso||avendo atteso||avendo atteso||avendo atteso||avendo atteso||avendo atteso|
|Present perfect subjunctive||abbia atteso||abbia atteso||abbia atteso||abbiamo atteso||abbiate atteso||abbiano atteso|
|Past perfect subjunctive||avessi atteso||avessi atteso||avesse atteso||avessimo atteso||aveste atteso||avessero atteso|