"Il leone sta nello zoo."

Translation:The lion stays in the zoo.

January 19, 2013

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When do you use è vs. sta?


Yes, it is strange for a native English speaker like me to think that 'The lion is in the zoo' is the same as 'The lion stays in the zoo'. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is an explanation.

In English the verb "to be" (in this case 'is') is used for identification , description and location. i.e. Who/What is it? It is a lion. What is it like? it is yellow, it is dangerous, etc. And where is it? It is in the zoo.

In Italian, it is possible/common to use another verb, 'stare', for location, rather than 'essere'.


Being a native English speaker, this seems weird to me as well, but being fluent in Spanish, I already understand these sorts of differences. I don't think it would be quite as constructive to just say " sta- stay " because the difference between essere and stare mirrors estar and ser in Spanish, and that's not nearly as easy.

On another note, if you were to say "stays" or "remains", is there a better translation for that word? In Spanish you would use quedar instead of estar, and that would be the difference between "stays" and "is located in". Is there an Italian equivalent?


Yes, "rimanere", "restare" are better for "stay".


Also, your streak is quite impressive. O.o


What a streak, what a determination. You have my respect, sir! And give that man a Lingot!


Yes, the "stare" infinitive is indicative of where the lion is, currently. I believe duo just puts "stay" instead to nudge users to that concept .


What is your native language ?


I think è (from essere) is used for things that are more permanent, while sta (from stare) is used for more temporary things (feelings, location, etc.).


If this were the reasoning, since stare is used in this sentence, wouldn't this imply that the lion is just spending a few nights there while taking in the grand tour?


No, current location is always expressed as temporary. If you want to get really picky, most of the permanent things can be changed, and many of the changeable stay the same way for a while (for example, you could argue that someone shouldn't say "sono una donna" because people can have sex change operations, making the state of being a woman or a man potentially a temporary one; or you could move to another country and change your nationality, making that no longer permanent; conversely, you could have agoraphobia and never leave the house, so your location would always be the same). The point is, this is a rule of thumb that can help a non-native speaker understand when native speakers choose to use one verb over another.

Here is some more information if you're curious: http://serenaitalian.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/difference-between-stare-and-essere/


many thanks greenteagirl - and for the link - though point 11 and maybe to a lesser extent 12 under "essere" in that link seem to screw things up a bit. I tend to think I'll just have to develop a sense for which is best through experience/listening. many thanks.


That wordpress link is mega useful, thanks very much indeed greenteagirl67


sta is something temporary. "lei sta grassa!" means "she is fat" in a sense that its something temporary, maybe because she ate some 3 panini in the last weekend xDDD., so she could lose weight. but if you say lei È grossa, it means that she IS fat. she's always been. maybe it runs on her veins, or she really finds it hard to lose weight. it is also as something to refer to geopgraphical positioning. for instance, lui sta en nova iorque means he's in new york.


It seems that unlike Spanish though, it is totally optional to use "sta"? Duo has had me using "è" for location up to this point.


"Lei sta grassa" isn't correct though, no one would ever say that in Italy. I don't actually know the rule for stare/essere, but what I can say as a native Italian speaker is that when both are acceptable in a sentence, you'll choose one or the other based on where you're from. So for example, in this exercise Duolingo wants us to use "stare", but as a northern Italian I would never say "il leone sta nello zoo", but "il leone è nello zoo". Another example would be "I am home" which I translate as "io sono a casa", but my southern Italian friends would say "io sto a casa". Not sure if this helps at all but thought I'd point it out!


THANK YOU for this excellent example of sta vs essere. I finally got it! It was driving me crazy. Many linguist for you.


I think "sta" is better for a location, whereas "e" is more of a state of being


Spanish and Italian verb "to be" follows the same logic: (just a minor wordplay on the letters lol) IF you refer to something more permanent, like a physical or personality characteristic. SPANISH: ser, ITALIAN: essere IF you refer to something more temporary, like an emotion, location, or condition. SPANISH: estar, ITALIAN: stare and both have their own respective conjugations for I, YOU (formal), YOU (familiar), HE/SHE, WE, THEY that needs to be learned by heart.


thanks!!! i was hoping someone else saw it this way


I'm trying to figure this out myself still, so this is just a guess. 'Essere' is used to ask/answer 'what' and 'which' while 'stare' is used to ask/answer 'where' and 'how'?


I'm a Spanish speaker, and the differences between è and sta in Italian are the same ones as in Spanish. It's hard to understand for English speakers, I know it because I've been teaching Spanish to English and American people and I think this is the most difficult thing to understand for them... I couldn't give you an explanation of when we have to use each verb, it is something I know because I am a native speaker. My piece of advice for you is practise a lot and read books, since these verbs are mostly common in this language. Buona fortuna :)


Can't we use for this sentence 'Il leone è nello zoo?' ? I remember in previous practices i have used such sentences with è.


I am confused... When I click on "sta" Duo gives "is" as the translation. However, the actuaul translation Duo gives is "stays". Hard to learn when Duo isn't being consistant - unless I'm missing something.


Per un leone lo zoo è un meglio posto che il balcone o il salotto.


i don't understand why "the lion is staying in the zoo" is wrong - is that not the same as "the lion stays in the zoo"?


Continuous should be accepted, too, I'd say.

Yet, stare has different meanings: to live - to be - to remain.

In the given case to live is most apposite, I'd say. Of course it should also remain there for public safety.


I have learnt french in school for around 8 years now, and if you say 'je vais', that means I go, I am going, and I do go. This should be the same in Italian.


Wouldnt it be better to say the lion is in the zoo 'il leone è nello zoo'

[deactivated user]

    useful descussions..i get it better now some how


    would i say sto nella mia camera da letto for i am in my bedroom. a translator service is giving me sono


    O think sta is a verb, not equal to is in English.


    From what I can tell, "e" is used in the case of existence, whereas "stare" is used in terms of location or temporary essence. For instance, "Lei e piccola" (she is small) versus "Lei sta nel ristorante" (She is in the restaurant).


    at least, we think it is...


    But why is my translation "The lion is in the zoo" deemed wrong?

    "The lion stays in the zoo" is typically the sort of slightly strange-sounding English that Italian native speakers sometimes use, though they entirely have my sympathy. I do understand that the reverse mistake by native English speakers like me, "Il leone è nello zoo" needs to be unlearned. The distinction between "to be somewhere" and "to sit somewhere", "to stand somewhere", "to stay somewhere" or even "to find itself somewhere" is much finer in most other languages than in English. (Such as French, Dutch, Spanish, Thai, and as here, Italian.)


    Knowing Spanish, I was surprised that Italian used only 'essere'... or so I thought, until I encountered this phrase. So the previous sentence we learned, 'il leone è nello zoo', wouldn't that be wrong?


    No, it is right also. Stare = "To stay" (or to be) & essere = "to be". So the use of essere (e) is saying that the line is in the zoo, it does not stay there it is in there. The use of stare (Sta) says that it stays in the zoo, that is its home. I am not an expert, I am just beginning too. But that is the way that I understand it.


    potrebbe essere the lion is in the zoo


    Why does this man continually say Doh, for zoo?


    I used stands for sta, why won't that work?

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