Home Language HacksItalian ANDARE and VENIRE: What is the Difference? (Includes FREE Quiz)

ANDARE and VENIRE: What is the Difference? (Includes FREE Quiz)

Not sure when to use the Italian verbs ANDARE and VENIRE? Follow this guide and you'll never mix them up again!

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Italian verbs - What is the difference between ANDARE and VENIRE
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Are you coming or going? To know for sure, you’ll need to know the two most common Italian verbs which indicate movement from and towards a place. These verb are: andare and venire. Even though their meaning seems pretty straightforward on a theoretical level, many students of Italian have difficulties using them.

In this guide, I’m going to explain everything you need to know about using andare and venire so you never mix them up again! We’ll take a look at how they’re conjugated in the present tense (both of which are irregular), their meaning, and a few typical idiomatic expressions that Italians use in everyday conversation. There’s even a fun little quiz at the end so you can test your skills!

Iniziamo! (Let’s begin!)

What is the difference between ANDARE and VENIRE?

What is the Difference between ANDARE and VENIRE

The short answer is: andare means ‘to go’ while venire means ‘to come.’ But there are some important differences you should know about. Let’s take a look!

*Tip: For a list of common Italian verbs, get my free guide here. It includes a FREE PDF cheat sheet you can download and practice with.

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The Italian verb ANDARE: to go

Let’s start with the verb andare. This verb indicates a movement towards a place, which is far away from the people who you are talking to. Imagine a friend says to you:

Domani vado in montagna con la mia famiglia. (Tomorrow I’m going to the mountains with my family.)

First, we have to understand one key thing: where our friend is and where we are. Maybe we are sitting together in a café, or maybe we are talking on the phone and they are in Rome while I am in London. In any case, we are both far from the place our friend is talking about: la montagna.

So, we use andare when the movement is towards a place that is both far from me and who I’m talking to.

How to conjugate the verb ANDARE

Italian verbs: What is the Difference between ANDARE and VENIRE - How to conjugate ANDARE

Here is the conjugation of andare in the present tense.

  Verb conjugation English translation
(io) Vado I go
(tu) Vai You go
(lui, lei, Lei) Va He, she, it, You (f.) go(es)
(noi) Andiamo We go
(voi) Andate You (pl.) go
(loro) Vanno They go

To form the passato prossimo (past tense) of andare we need its past participle: andato.

Find out more about how to easily conjugate Italian verbs here or watch my video below.

Prepositions that go with ANDARE and example sentences

The verb andare can be used with different prepositions. Unfortunately, in Italian, there is no hard and fast rule about which preposition follows the verb andare: the preposition used depends on the noun. 

For instance, if andare is followed by a country or street address, the preposition in has to be used, For example:

  • Vado in Canada il mese prossimo (I’m going to Canada next month)
  • Questa sera andiamo in via Verdi (tonight we’re going to Verdi street). 

On the other hand, with cities and towns, we use the preposition a, e.g. quando vai a Parigi? (when are you going to Paris?). Here are some of the most common phrases formed by andare + a preposition + a noun.

  • Andare al mare (going to the sea)
  • Andare in vacanza (going on vacation/holiday)
  • Andare a scuola (going to school)
  • Andare al bar (going to the café)
  • Andare al cinema (going to the cinema)
  • Andare a teatro (going to the theater)
  • Andare in biblioteca (going to the library)
  • Andare dal dottore / da + persona (going to the doctor / to someone’s)
  • Andare in farmacia (going to the pharmacy)

Another very common structure is: andare followed by the preposition a plus a verb in the infinitive mode, e.g. vado a fare una passeggiata (I’m going to take a walk).

 Other example sentences with andare include:

  • Mi piacerebbe andare in Australia. (I would like to go to Australia.)
  • Dove andate in vacanza quest’estate? (Where are you guys going on holiday this summer?)
  • Andiamo a mangiare una pizza? (Shall we go eat pizza?)

 Notice how in all these cases, the place we are going to is far from the speaker and listener?

Idiomatic expressions with ANDARE

Let’s look at typical phrases with andare:

  • Andare sul sicuro: it means ‘to play it safe’, to make a simple choice that is risk-free, to avoid unforeseen consequences. For example: per il compleanno di Sara, se vuoi andare sul sicuro, regalale un profumo (for Sara’s birthday, if you want to play it safe, give her a perfume).
  • (Non) mi va di… : it means ‘I (don’t) feel like (doing something)’. It combines the indirect pronoun, the verb andare in the 3rd person singular and di + infinitive. For example: oggi non mi va di uscire (I don’t feel like going out tonight). It is also very common in the form of a question to suggest doing something or ask someone if they’re up/down for something, e.g. ti va di andare al cinema? (would you like to go to the cinema?)
  • Andare matto/a per: it means to love something, to be crazy about something (a food, an activity, an interest, etc.). For example: vado matta per la pasta alla carbonara (I go crazy for pasta alla carbonara).

The Italian verb VENIRE: to come

Let’s move on to venire. Generally speaking, the verb venire indicates the origin of something or someone. In this case, it is always used with the preposition da. You might be familiar with the popular question beginners learn: da dove vieni? (where are you from?); and a typical response: vengo da Londra (I’m from London).

The phrase venire da indicates any movement from a place, but not necessarily a geographic origin. For instance:

  • Vengo dalla palestra, per questo indosso ancora la tuta (I’m coming from the gym, that’s why I’m still wearing a tracksuit).

In addition to this meaning, venire, just like andare, indicates a movement towards a place. The difference, however, is that in this place there is now (or will soon be) at least one of the people involved in the conversation and we use venire to indicate a movement towards the person who is/will be there. If a friend asks us:

  • Vieni anche tu in montagna? – Are you also coming to the mountains?

He/She is asking us if we are going to the mountains and we know for sure he/she will be there too.

Venire is often used with the expressions con me/te/noi (with me/you/us) etc., or anche tu/io (you also/you too) etc., thus indicating one person joining other people in a  place.

How to conjugate the verb VENIRE

Italian verbs: What is the Difference between ANDARE and VENIRE - How to conjugate VENIRE

Here is the conjugation of venire in the present tense.

  Verb conjugation English translation
(io) Vengo I come
(tu) Vieni You come
(lui, lei, Lei) Viene He, she, it, You (f.) come(s)
(noi) Veniamo We come
(voi) Venite You (pl.) come
(loro) Vengono They come

The past participle of venire, which we need to form the past tense (passato prossimo) is regular: venuto.

Prepositions that go with VENIRE and example sentences

We can easily replace andare with venire in all the examples we saw earlier and even use the same prepositions. The difference is that, when using venire, we’re implying that the person(s) we’re talking to, is/are or will be there!

Let’s look at the following example phrases:

  • Ho avuto un imprevisto, non vengo con voi a teatro, mi dispiace. (Something came up, I won’t come to the theatre with you (all), I’m sorry.)
  • Ragazzi, venite al bar? Siamo tutti là. (Guys, are you coming to the bar? We’re all going to be there.)
  • Quando vieni in Italia? (When are you coming to Italy? → meaning: I’m already in Italy)

Notice how in all these examples, venire is used with the meaning of joining someone in a place.

We can also replace andare with venire in the structure with the preposition a + infinitive. For instance: non vengo a mangiare la pizza stasera, meaning that our friend is going to eat pizza tonight but I’m not going with him/her.

Idiomatic expressions with VENIRE

Let’s look at typical idiomatic expressions with venire:

  • Venire al mondo: this means nascere, ‘to be born’, ‘to come into the world’. For example: il piccolo Leonardo è venuto al mondo la scorsa notte (little Leonardo came into the world last night).
  • Venire al dunque: it means ‘to come/get to the point’. For example: Marco, è da mezz’ora che stai parlando, vieni al dunque (Marco, you’ve been talking for half an hour, get to the point).
  • (Non) venire in mente (a qualcuno): it means ‘(not) to remember something’ or ‘(not) to come to mind’. This phrase is formed by an indirect pronoun, the verb venire in the third person (singular or plural, according to the noun that it refers to), plus in mente. For example: non mi viene in mente il titolo di quella canzone (I can’t remember the title of that song); quando vedo Giorgio, mi vengono in mente tutte le nostre avventure insieme (when I see Giorgio, all our adventures together come to mind).

So, the difference between between these verbs is that we use andare when the movement is away from the people we’re talking to, and we use venire when the movement is toward the place where one of the people talking is located!

Hai capito? (Do you understand?) Now test yourself by taking my free quiz below. Read the sentences and choose which verb is more appropriate to use, andare or venire. Share your score in the comments!

Keep practising!
TOP 24 Italian Verbs Cheat-Sheet! (Free PDF Download)

Don't let the learning stop here. Download your free PDF guide on the TOP 24 most common Italian verbsevery learner of Italian should know. Includes conjugations and examples. Impariamo insieme! (Let's learn together!)

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ANDARE and VENIRE: What is the difference?


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