Easy Learning Italian

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:
Pronounesserestare Meaning: to be
(io)sonostoI am
(tu) seistaiyou are
(lui/lei)
(Lei)
èstahe/she/it is
you are
(noi)siamostiamowe are
(voi) sietestateyou are
(loro)sonostannothey are
  • 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.
Key points
  • 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.

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