Come sta is formal - use when talking with people not known to you Come stai is informal - use with friends or family.
Yep, tu is informal and voi is formal. A lot of languages in Europe have this. The French tu & vous, the Dutch jij & u. I'm dutch, if I would ask a teacher something I would say "u" and not "jij". In English "could I" is also more formal than "can I", right? It's like that.
You are right of course, but the formal you is Lei (the same form as she but always capitalised and take the third person singular form of the verb) Voi is plural for all groups of people regardless of the level of familiarity.
Highly formal 'you' for a group of people is Loro. Also, I remember reading that Mussolini promoted use of voi as formal you regardless of count which is not a so distant past and at least in literature from that period one might come across this use of voi.
When asking for permission in English, the correct verb is "may", not can. Can is ability to do so, may is permission.
Native English speakers use "can" to ask for permission a lot of the time, so you could really use either
I'm afraid "could I / can I?" is not about formality. They almost mean the same thing but as a native English speaker I can't explain the difference! 'Could' is conditional tense.
"Could I" is used as a more polite request than "Can I" in some English-speaking environments.
(Like Spanish, English is spoken across many regions and cultures, and so usages vary.)
'Can I' is simply bad grammar if you're making a request. Can I literally means 'is it humanly possible for me to even do this?" Could I is the grammatically correct thing to use when requesting something. "Could I have the butter?" "Can I lift 500 pounds?"
Yes, German has formal Sie & informal Du; Spanish has formal Usted and informal tu. In fact, this sentance is very similar in Spanish "¿Como (tú) estás?". :-)
Similarity to Spanish is the only reason I got this one right. The audio was bad enough that they sound almost the same.
In Swedish: du/ni... But, cultural difference, we would never say 'ni' (vous, voi) to a teacher, or anyone really... Instead we use it as a 'plural you'.
Pimsleur teaches that 'stare' literally means 'to stay' but that it's used as 'to be' when describing conditions, feelings that change frequently, like 'i am well'. They use examples like "Lei come sta?" (How do you stay, meant as How are you?) "Io sto bene." (I stay well, meant as I am well.) They say you use 'essere' when describing characteristics, things that dont change or dont change often, like 'I am Italian.' Examples were like "Io sono Italiana."
That's what Pimsleur taught, anyhow.
"Essere" is a more permanent state (I am a teacher, I am a person, etc), while "stare" is a temporal state (I am at the zoo, I'm buying a scarf, etc)
"Come sei? " is like asking what are you really inside. You can use it if you want to make an assertion "come sei buono (or strong or cruel etc)
Just to be sure: is the difference between "stare" and "essere" the same as "estar" and "ser" in Portuguese? I mean, I've already seen here a sentence like "Dove sei?" and I got somewhat confused, Idk I'd think "Dove stai?" would be better (provided that these two verbs works like "ser" and "estar" do in Portuguese).
I was expecting this to be the case (I speak some Portuguese from having lived in Brazil), but it seems it's not the same unfortunately. Italian uses stare a lot less than Portuguese uses estar. In many cases where Portuguese would use estar, the equivalent Italian sentence uses essere. I think this is also confusing for speakers of Spanish, which is more in line with Portuguese in terms of the use of these verbs.
The previous question taught me that 'come' means 'as'. I didn't realise there were so many different meanings for come! Oh well... I'm learning.
what is the difference between "sono" and "stanno" for example. don't they both mean "they are"
Yes, they both mean "they are" but one is a form of essere (used for more permanent characteristics) and one is a form of stare (used for temporary situations).
What about "come va?".
There's: come va? come sta? come stai?
I think "come va?" is more like "How's it going?" and "come sta/stai" is "How are you?".
Is that right?
Would 'How do you feel?' also be correct? It was marked as incorrect, but 'stai' is listed as '(you) feel)'. It certainly makes more sense than the correct answer I was given instead - 'How do you do?'
Italian, like Portuguese, has two different verbes for 'To be'. To be something - essere, to be + preposition - stare.
Why is "how are you doing" not correct? I mean some folks use "how are you" and others say "how are you doing". Are there different expressions in Italian?
I'm just lost.... It keeps telling me that I am incorrect... Yet the "correct" translation is exactly what I am typing.... Love and kisses, confused in italy
I too, had learnt the actual definition of this as How do you feel. Hovering over the words in Italian backs this up. Is it not just used as a generic greeting expressing an interest in how the person is, yet the translation does indeed mean how do you feel?. I think it is important that Duolingo clarifies the true meaning, but the usage too. In English I might ask How is it going. I don't really mean How is IT going, but more colloquially I am asking How you are, so surely the message and the translation should both be correct. In this instance I was marked wrong for How do you feel.