Simple present or present subjunctive?

The simple present (presente dell'indicativo) is mainly used:  

  • To talk about an action that is taking place at the time of speaking or in the very near future. Note that in English, we tend to use the present progressive (“-ing” form) here, which is rarer in Italian.

Ceniamo al ristorante. cenare, presente

We're dining at the restaurant.

Domani esco con Magda. uscire, presente

I'm going out with Magda tomorrow.

  • To give information about concrete, true facts. In this case, it can follow expressions such as è vero che (it is true that), sono sicuro/a che (I am sure that), la informo che (I hereby inform you that), confermo che… (I confirm that…), etc.

Anna è la proprietaria dell’Hotel Baldoria. essere, presente

Anna is the owner of Hotel Baldoria.

  • To describe routines or habits.

Ogni giovedì vado in piscina andare, presente e mangio la pizza. mangiare, presente

Every Thursday, I go to the pool and I eat pizza.

The present subjunctive (presente del congiuntivo) is mainly used:

  • To talk about a current or future possibility.

Può essere che Anna sia all’ospedale. essere, congiuntivo presente

Anna may be at the hospital.

Spero che domani tu stia meglio. stare, congiuntivo presente

I hope that you're better tomorrow.

  • To express a personal opinion such as desires, suggestions, feelings or wishes. In this case, it is often preceded by verbs such as (non) penso (I (don't) think), (non) credo (I (don't) believe), ritengo (I think, I consider), spero (I hope), mi auguro (I hope), etc.

Mi auguro che lui sappia cosa fare. sapere, congiuntivo presente

I hope that he knows what to do.

  • To express uncertainty or doubt. In this case, it is often preceded by verbs such as mi sembra (it seems to me), temo (I'm afraid), suppongo (I suppose), non so se (I don't know if), etc.

Temo che Anna abbia molta ansia. avere, congiuntivo presente

I fear that Anna may be very anxious.

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