Prendere (to take) is like the George Clooney of verbs. Very famous, a little ubiquitous, and sometimes shows up in things when you're not expecting him.
Prendere is an example of the "second conjugation" (otherwise known as "verbs that end in -ere"). This means that the rules you're about to learn about our George Clooney of verbs will also apply to a great many other Italian verbs that end in -ere.
Yet another reason to be a Clooney fan.
Here's how prendere changes depending on who's doing all the taking — Just knock "-ere" off the end of the infinitive and add these endings:
(Note: If you've already seen my lesson on the first conjugation, -are, see if you can spot the difference. They're quite similar.)
So now our word for George Clooney "to take" (prendere) will look like this...
Once you've mastered prendere, are a few other verbs that follow the same set of rules.
I mentioned before that prendere sometimes shows up when you're not expecting it. Here you can see it in action, and occasionally acting strangely (from an English-speaker's perspective).
To me, little idioms and supermarket shelves are the places to gain interesting insights into a culture. Prendere just happens to make a star appearance in a number of fun/weird Italian idioms.
For instance, if your date suggested that he would love to take you by the throat, you might be inclined to introduce him to your pepper spray. But in Italian, "Prendere per la gola" means to seduce somebody by preparing delicious food.
It's similar to the English saying "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach", which also seems rather murderous when you think about it.
The following idioms are all ways of saying that you're making fun of someone. They're similar to "pulling someone's leg" in English.
If you want to encourage someone to seize the moment, you can tell them to do the following:
And to end on the inexplicable: Here's the Italian equivalent of the English proverb "to kill two birds with one stone".
The idea of solving two problems with one action is the same, but in the Italian version no birds get killed. (Probably because a bean is used instead of a stone.)