Difference between ESSERE and STARE [Ep. 22]

By Manu Venditti | Advanced

Nov 01

Sam asks:
What's the difference between ESSERE & STARE?

OR... When do I say SONO and when STO? 

ESSERE (to be)  STARE (to stay)

Confusion:

  • Dialects
  • Similar Meanings

 

STANDARD ITALIAN = ENGLISH

I am..
I stay..
*exceptions apply!

Some Examples

Sono manu – “I am Manu”
Sono Italiano – “I am Italian”
Sono alto 170cm – “I am 170cm tall”
Sono stanco – “I am tired”
Sono sportivo – “I am sporty”
Sto a casa – “Stay at home”
Sto in albergo – “Stay in the hotel”

STARE = RESTARE (to remain) ALLOGGIARE (to lodge)

STANDARD ITALIAN MILD DISTINCTION

ESSERE (permanent state) STARE (temporary state)

English Examples

Where are you staying in Rome?
Stay calm!
Stay happy!
Be happy!
Be good!
Stay still!

ITALIAN DIALECTS STRONG DISTINCTION

ESSERE (permanent state) STARE (temporary state)

Spanish SER / ESTAR

(Dialects Only) – the words are often interchangeable, but the usage is colloquial.

Some Examples

SONO MANU
SONO ITALIANO

STO STANCO (Standard:Sono stanco)
STO ARRABBIATO (Standard:Sono arrabbiato)
STAI FUORI

EXCEPTIONS: (when talking about health or emotional state)

Some Examples

Come stai? – “How are you?”
Sto bene – “I’m fine”

Stare attento – “pay attention”
Stare zitto – “be quite/shut up”
Stare buono – “be good”

AVERE + (“to be” in English)

FAME – (hungry)
SETE – (thirsty)
SONNO – (sleepy)
PAURA – (scared)
CALDO – (hot)
FREDDO – (cold)
RAGIONE / TORTO – (right/wrong)


ESSERE & STARE – have the same Past Participle.

SONO STATO
– I was / I have been
– I stayed / I have
– stayed

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