Is there a term for verbs that follow the pattern 'Indirect object + verb + subject' called?

The following are examples:

Mi piace la sciarpa.

Tu non mi basti mai.

Non mi serve la giacca.

I think I heard the term 'dative taking verbs' in my Latin studies, but I was wondering how native speakers talk about these verbs (if they do).

  • We don't have a term for that, as far as I know.
    – user2904
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 16:09
  • 1
    @Cristian I converted your answer to a comment, because that's the proper place for it. If you continue to participate to the site you can get reputation that will allow you to comment to any question or answer. Please don't take this personally, but answer should be more motivated than this. And welcome!
    – egreg
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 19:34
  • All these are "verbi impersonali" or "verbi usati in modo impersonale" ("piacere"). However, not all impersonal verbs follow this pattern.
    – Charo
    Commented Oct 29, 2016 at 15:34

1 Answer 1


The verbs in your example are all special cases of the broader class of verbs called "verbi transitivi indiretti".

I like the Wikipedia definition at https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transitività_(linguistica):

sono verbi intransitivi particolarmente bisognosi di un oggetto su cui far passare l'azione (il che avviene attraverso un complemento indiretto)

Indeed, if your sentences did not contain the indirect pronoun, I'd ask "a chi?".

La sciarpa piace. [a chi?]

Tu non basti mai. [a chi? a che cosa?]

La giacca non serve. [a chi? (but this one is fine also without an indirect pronoun)]

  • La sciarpa piace is sometimes used to mean that the scarf is fashionable. The last sentence would probably be more common with the words reordered Non serve la giacca.
    – Denis Nardin
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 19:09

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