“Essere” or “stare”? That is the question! Unfortunately, these two verbs are often victims of violence by many students of Italian! Do you want to save them? Don’t confuse them: watch our video!
How to Use ESSERE and STARE in Italian
Let’s start with ESSERE:
1. It is used to express the existence, the quality or the condition (temporary or permanent) of an object or person.
Rocco è allegro oggi. (Rocco is happy today)
La penna è blu. (The pen is blue)
N.B. In this case, the verb “essere” is followed by an adjective, like in the examples above, or by a noun, like for example:
Graziana è un’insegnante. (Graziana is a teacher)
2. Furthermore, it is used to indicate the position, generally temporary, of somebody or something.
Rocco è in bagno. (Rocco is in the bathroom)
3. Finally, to express the presence of something or someone we use ESSERCI in the form “c’è” (there is – in the singular) and “ci sono” (there are – in the plural)
Ci sono due quaderni su questa scrivania. (There are two notebooks on this desk)
The particle CI is your enemy? Watch our video!
4. ESSERCI is also used to ask whether something is clear or not, if it is comprehensible.
For example, we could ask you:
“Ci sei fin qui?” (that is “Are you following me?”)
… and you could answer
“Sì, ci sono” (Yes, I am) or “No, non ci sono” (No, I am not).
But now let’s move to STARE:
1. This is used with adverbs to express a temporary condition that can be physical, psychological or aesthetic!
Con i nuovi occhiali da sole, Rocco sta molto bene! (Rocco looks fine with his new sunglasses)
Angela ha la febbre: sta male. (Angela has got flu: she doesn’t feel very well)
Who’s Angela? Let’s find out with this video!
2. It can also be used to indicate the usual position of something
Il cucchiaio sta nel cassetto! (The spoon is in the drawer)
3. Or we can use it with temporary behaviors
Stare attenti (be careful)
Stare in ansia (to hold your breath)
Stare zitti (be silent)
Stare in silenzio (keep silent)
4. STARCI, instead, can mean to agree or get in there (that is to have enough space)
– Andiamo in pizzeria dopo? (Are we going to pizzeria later?)
– Sì, ci sto! (Ok! I’m in!)
Il mio cellulare nella tasca proprio non ci sta. (My phone can’t get in the pocket)
5. Now we have to remember that there are also some periphrasis in which we use the verb STARE:
STARE + gerund indicates an ongoing action
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STARE PER + infinitive indicates what one will do in a very short time
Stai per finire questa lezione. (You’re about to finish this lesson)
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