The past historic of regular verbs ending in -ere: the two forms

Reminder: the past historic tense is generally used to refer to actions that began and ended in the very distant past.

Nel 1996 viaggiai negli Stati Uniti.

I traveled to the United States in 1996.

Marco finì l’università venti anni fa.

Marco finished university twenty years ago.

The io (I), lui/lei (he/she) and loro (they) forms of many regular verbs that end in -ere can be formed in two different ways.

Io ricevetti/ricevei
Tu ricevesti
Lui/lei ricevette/ricevé
Noi ricevemmo
Voi riceveste
Loro ricevettero/riceverono
Io credetti/credei
Tu credesti
Lui/lei credette/credé
Noi credemmo
Voi credeste
Loro credettero/crederono
Io dovei/dovetti
Tu dovesti
Lui/lei dové/dovette
Noi dovemmo
Voi doveste
Loro doverono/dovettero

In addition to these three verbs, the most commonly used verbs that can be formed in two different ways for io (I), lui/lei (he/she) and loro (they) are temere (to fear), vendere (to sell), resistere (to resist), esistere (to exist) and consistere (to consist).

Note: the first form (-etti, -ette, -ettero) is the most common, while the second (-ei, -é, -erono) is slightly less frequently used in spoken language and more common in literature.

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