essere and stare - Easy Learning Grammar Italian
- In Italian there are two irregular verbs, essere and stare, that both mean to be.
In the present tense they follow the patterns shown below:
|Pronoun||essere||stare||Meaning: to be|
|è||sta||he/she/it is |
- essere is the verb generally used to translate to be:
|Cosa sono?||What are they?|
|È italiana.||She’s Italian.|
|Sono io.||It’s me.|
|È un problema.||It’s a problem.|
|Siete pronti?||Are you ready?|
- However, stare is used for to be in some common contexts:
- to say or ask how someone is
|Come stai?||How are you?|
|Sto bene, grazie.||I’m fine thanks.|
|Mio nonno sta male.||My grandfather isn’t well.|
- to say where someone is
|Luigi sta a casa.||Luigi’s at home.|
|Starò a Roma due giorni.||I’ll be in Rome for two days.|
- to say where something is situated
|La casa sta sulla collina.||The house is on the hill.|
- with the adjectives zitto and solo
|Vuole stare solo.||He wants to be alone.|
|Sta’ zitto!||Be quiet!|
- to make continuous tenses
|Sta studiando.||He’s studying.|
|Stavo andando a casa.||I was going home.|
- For more information on the Present continuous, see The present continuous tense.
- essere is generally used to translate to be.
- stare is used to talk about health, where people and things are and with some adjectives.
- stare is also used to make continuous tenses.