Mancare and Piacere verbs

Italianly | Learn Italian as you like
7 interesting things about the Italian language that you do not know
Maggio 12, 2020
Italianly | Learn Italian as you like

Many students often encounter difficulties when they have to build a sentence with the verb “mancare”, especially when it is used to communicate to someone we love, that we can’t stand being away from him/her and we miss him/her.
In Italian we would say “Mi manchi”.

In Spanish, however, the expression “echar de menos” is used, while in English the verb “to miss”: “te echo de menos”, “I miss you”.

In both these constructions, the phrase is constructed with the verb conjugated to the first person singular: (yo echo de menos a ti / I miss you).

In Italian instead we have a construction in which the verb is conjugated to the second person singular.

Why?

The verb “mancare” provides a construction similar to that of the verb “piacere”, where what is “missing” is not the subject of the sentence but the subject, and the person who experiences “the lack” is expressed with the indirect complement.

A qualcuno (indirect complement) manca qualcosa (subject)

=

Mi (indirect pronoun) manchi (2nd person singular verb – TU)
or:

Tu manchi a me

The same thing happens with the construction of the verb “piacere”:

Mi (a me) piace la pasta, Ti (a te) piace la pizza, ecc.
(cioè: La pasta piace a me / La pizza piace a te)

Again, what likes (or dislikes) constitutes the subject of the verb, the person who likes (or dislikes) someone or something is expressed with an indirect personal pronoun.

An important thing to remember is that the verb must be conjugated in the singular or plural according to the subject of the sentence (which in this type of sentences is always the element that follows the verb).

So we will say:

Mi manca il mio fidanzato / Mi mancano le vacanze
Mi piace il cinema / Non mi piacciono i film romantici

In Italian there are many other verbs that have the same construction of “mancare” and “piacere”, such as:

Bastare: Ci basta poco tempo / Ci bastano pochi minuti
Interessare: Ti interessa il libro /  Ti interessano i libri
Occorrere: Mi occorre del tempo / Mi occorrono alcuni minuti per finire i compiti.
Sembrare: Gli sembra molto interessante / Gli sembrano abbastanza noiosi
Servire: Le serve un documento / Le servono dei documenti

The examples I have shown you are all sentences to the present tense. Obviously, the verb can be conjugated in all ways and at all times.

Remember also that the auxiliary of verbs that have this construction is “essere”:

Mi sei mancato / Mi è piaciuto il film
Mi siete mancati / Mi sono piaciuti i film