ESSERE vs STARE: what are the DIFFERENCES and how to USE them!

“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.

For example:

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.

For example:

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)

For example:

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!

For example:

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

For example:

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)

For example:

– 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

For example:

In questo momento, stai leggendo un articolo di LearnAmo. (ottima scelta!  :mrgreen: ) [In this moment, you are reading an article from LearnAmo. Great choice! :mrgreen: ]

For further information about gerund, don’t miss our lesson!

STARE PER + infinitive indicates what one will do in a very short time

For example:

Stai per finire questa lezione. (You’re about to finish this lesson)

Don’t miss all our lessons!

Let’s see if you’ve mastered the contents of this class. Have a go at completing the exercises!

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