My question is about the use of the use of the auxiliary verb "avere" with "piacere". I have always been taught to use "essere" but a book teaching "piacere" using "avere" has been brought to my attention.

I am including a link to the book on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/LL-Italian-Conversational-Approach-Verbs/dp/0517885301. I've tried to copy and paste the page sent to me, but that doesn't seem to work. Below, is a partial "copy" of the page.

103 piacere to like, to be pleasing
Present Perfect
ho piaciuto             abbiamo piaciuto
hai piaciuto             avete piaciuto
ha piaciuto             hanno piaciuto

It shows the present perfect as

ebbi piaciuto           avemmo piaciuto etc.

  • 3
    Does this book give any example?
    – Charo
    Apr 5, 2018 at 21:26
  • 2
    Perhaps the phrase ho piacere, but this is not a case of auxiliary verb.
    – egreg
    Apr 5, 2018 at 22:43
  • Yes, in the phrase "ho piacere" , piacere is not a verb, it's a noun (precisely, it is a substantive use of the verb) . Could be translated with I've got the pleasure Apr 6, 2018 at 7:34
  • 1
    In modern Italian it sounds ridiculously wrong, something a bad-taste sketch about an ignorant person would say. I can't rule off, however, that the auxiliary avere has been used in some past, possibly regional, variation of Italian, and Google Books would seem to suggest so (but we should ascertain the literacy of the few authors who used, say, ha piaciuto).
    – DaG
    Apr 7, 2018 at 12:05
  • 3
    On the other hand, looking for piaciuto in Boccaccio's Decameron, we never find an auxiliary other than essere.
    – DaG
    Apr 7, 2018 at 12:05

1 Answer 1


The verb piacere has a very peculiar behavior in Italian: it is intransitive and the person/thing that's liked is the subject, while the person who likes is the “complemento di termine” (corresponding to the Latin dative).

So I like cakes becomes mi piacciono i dolci (usually but not mandatorily the subject comes last), where mi is the weak form for a me.

The auxiliary verb for piacere is essere, as reported in all dictionaries (Treccani, Sabatini-Coletti, Gabrielli are a few examples).

So “ho piaciuto” is at the very least uncommon, for not saying wrong. Maybe it is used somewhere, but a conversation manual should stick to the most common conventions. Do you remember the Monty Python sketch about phrasebooks?

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