"Stare" vs "Essere" in Italian

For me it was pretty hard to differentiate the meaning of those two verbs, because they look pretty similar. So I found this short article, which was really helpful.

If you have something to add to this one, please do so, that would be really appreciated!

June 1, 2013


I read the article, but I'm still confused on when to use stare or essere when expressing location. What's the difference? Thank you.

October 21, 2013

"stare" is for a state, usually temporary. In the example of the chair and kitchen given in the article, if we're mentioning a chair that belongs in the kitchen, and we're describing the house we will say "La sedia è in cucina" but if you are looking for a chair right now and it's usually in the saloon, and you ask someone where is it he will say "La sedia sta in cucina". That's the main idea. Of course there are many subtleties. This differentiation appears also in spanish but sometimes a form which is very clear-cut in one language is the other way around in the other..

October 23, 2013

Thank you for your help!

October 24, 2013

Hello GilGaribi, I am not sure what you are referring to here when you mention French, but what I am sure of : we (French native here) only have one verb for "to be", which is "être". Hope this helps someone.

December 9, 2017

I stand corrected. Edited it out.

December 10, 2017

@GilGaribi That was the explanation I needed for it to all make sense. Thank you. 4 years later and your post is still helping. You should be proud. Allow me to happily pay you royalties.

July 1, 2018

5 years later, but that's a really bad definition of stare. Don't think of it as temporary because you could say 'Italia sta in Europa'; Sure the verb stare is used, but Italy is permanently in Europe.

February 20, 2019

Hi! I'm native of spanish, but i'm taking the lessons in english for training. I think can be useful to know the point of view of somebody that speaks a language that actually has both verbs. "stare" in spanish is "estar" and usually makes reference to be in some PLACE (here, there...) or beeing in certain WAY (happy, sad...), and the " Essere" in spanish is "ser" and that usually makes reference to be something or somebody (beeing a teacher, a person, a mother...). I hope those examples are ok (and sorry for my horrible english)... greetings from Chile!

November 4, 2013

Sorry this is not quite right. The assumption that 'essere' and 'stare' behave like 'ser' and 'estar' is a common misconception that Spanish speakers fall into. These verbs actually behave in quite different ways. Stare is not used for either place or emotion. 'Sto felice' is not correct Italian, nor would you ever say "sto in farmacia" unless you were planning to sleep there.

April 16, 2017

Sto imparando il portoghese e lo spagnolo, pensavo sempre che stare=estar ed essere=ser ahahah

December 13, 2018

Great answer elgranenryke. Grazie mille. It's strange getting lessons in Italian, via English, from a Spaniard. It shows how global DL is. I'm going to give you a Lingot, for such a good answer to something I've struggled with for ages. It also relates roughly to the difference between ARE, ERE and IRE infinitive endings. - ARE (Action verbs; ERE States - like 'esistere ' - to exist; IRE (sensations. Allora. Stare (Are) to be doing something (Like walking, or being 'in a place) and Essere ( Ere) to be/ exist as (e.g. a teacher, mother.) I think this is roughly right, with the usual exceptions that could fit under all 3. So I am not sure about Gilgarabi's answer later on about Stare (Are) being defined as a state!! 'State (temporary)' corresponds approximately to 'Action.' Ciao.

December 24, 2013

No, no, the answer is rather misleading. I have also been learning Spanish and in the beginning thought it would be similar, but the use is really different between the two languages and only very few use cases match

October 6, 2018

thanks for confirming what i thought. greetings from california. i have studied italian a long time ago and a little spanish more recently , and am fluent in french. this helps. grazie mille!

August 9, 2016

Just to clarify for those who already learned Spanish. The use of "essere" and "stare" is not the same as in Spanish with the verbs "ser" and "estar". In some cases the uses may look similar, but in many cases it's pretty different. I suggest whoever already know Spanish to be particularly careful about how to use "essere" and "stare" in Italian.

August 10, 2016

This! I speak Spanish, Italian and Sicilian. And the usages are very different between the three. It's definitely nice to understand the concept from the other romance languages but definitely don't transpose them!

April 1, 2017


January 13, 2017

the sense is similar to ser and estar in Spanish, but the use of Stare in Italian is much narrower and stricter. Stare is also related to the English words "stand" and stay." It might be helpful to think of that sense as well when using stare. I'm very new to Italian, but it seems that with the exception of its use as a helping verb in the present progressive tense, "to be" is virtually always rendered with a form of essere. This is quite different from Spanish.

September 16, 2017

Grazie! As I was reviewing this lesson I came across "sta" and did not know what it was. It was not until after I checked my answer that I realized it was from the other form of "to be". Just as I was wondering when to use the two "to be" verbs I found this. Grazie mille!

June 2, 2013

Thank you...this needs to be noted natively when first educating on "stare"

July 17, 2013

stare can also mean to fit. So i miei libri non stanno nella valigia (my books won't fit in the suitcase). é troppo grande. Non ci sta nella macchina (it's too big. It will not fit in the car)

January 19, 2014

Are there major differences between the uses of stare and essere in Italian and estar and ser in Spanish?

October 1, 2015
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