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  5. "La lampada sta sopra il tavo…

"La lampada sta sopra il tavolo."

Translation:The lamp is on top of the table.

July 25, 2013



What is the difference between "e" (with accent) and "sta"?


You are asking about essere versus stare. Both usually (but not always) translate as "to be". Two problems: the English verb carries several meanings, and Italian usage varies regionally. Here follows a translated explanation from the Accademia della Crusca - the official guardians of Italian.

The verb stare is often used instead of the verb essere, especially in phrases that express a person's behaviour or state of mind: Stare attento "To be careful", Stare in ansia "To be anxious", Stare sulle spine "To be on your toes", or in phrases that contain an order or an exhortation: Stia zitto! "Be quiet!", Sta’ seduto "Be seated!", or in fixed phrases: Se le cose stanno così... "If things are like this..." In these cases the use of stare in place of essere is legitimate and correct; in other cases the two verbs are not interchangeable: you can't say or write Sto nervoso "I'm nervous", Sta assente "I'm absent", Il lavoro sta fatto bene "The work is done well". The habit of substituting stare for essere is of southern origin; this strong regional character must be avoided in official and formal uses. With family and friends, instead, you can stay (stare) more relaxed.

The following considerations are valid for the national language, not for regional Italian (in which variable uses apply).

In the sense of "being in a given place", referring to objects, there is a nuance between the two verbs: essere expresses the location with reference to the moment of enunciation, while stare denotes the usual location; compare these two sentences:

(1) The scissors are (sono) in the first drawer to the right of the sink [where they are now, not necessarily always]. (2) The scissors are (stanno) in the drawer to the right of the sink [where they are normally placed]. NB. THIS IS DUO'S USAGE HERE.

Referring to people, the verb stare, in modern neutral use - different, in part, from past uses - generally has the sense of "staying", "residing", or indicates the posture, or, of course, the state of health. Then there are idiomatic expressions, unalterable.

For example these two sentences have a slightly different meaning: Sono contento di essere qui = "I'm happy to be here [at this precise moment]"; Sono contento di stare qui = "I'm happy to be here [always]". The first sentence expresses the place in space and time; in the second, it emphasizes instead permanence in the place of which we speak (so that, invited to dinner at a friend's house, I would always use the first: the second could be misinterpreted by some touchy soul).

The relations between the two verbs are complex, and not always clear, also because of regional differences. But phrases like Dove stai? (in the sense of "Where are you?") or Non ci sta nessuno (for "No one is present") are not acceptable in supra-regional Italian.


this is one of the best aswers i’ve ever seen on duo. thank you!!!


Thanks for that detailed explanation. I came to Italian after speaking Spanish pretty well, and Spanish uses its verb related to stare (estar) for many more uses. I had just decided that Italian didn't use stare for location or position, a major use of estar, when I encountered this. I haven't "digested" it all yet, but it is quite helpful.


What happened to la lampada è sul tavolo?


Which are the differences between ''su'' and ''sopra''?. Thanks in advance.


Su = on, sopra = on top of. You can say the label is on the bottle so su(lla) would be used, but you wouldn't say the label is on top of the bottle (unless the labeller is already very drunk). In other words, sopra is more specific.


Sopra can also mean upstairs, like in: Dov'è il bagno? Sopra.


It seems 'sopra' like so many other words in so many different languages, has more than one meaning or context. The adventure continues...


Yes and I like that kind of flexibility, as long as it's not confusing. Like for example "I miei figli" can mean "my children" but also "my sons". That's troublesome to me because you can't always get the meaning from the context.


Thank you very much.


grazie Turboslak


Thank you very much.


You're welcome. The first time that I've heard it in that context was in an Italian restaurant. I learned something new that evening :-)


They both have many meanings, varying with context. For su, there are loads of examples at https://www.thoughtco.com/italian-preposition-su-2011462. For sopra, there's an explanation at https://www.thoughtco.com/italian-improper-prepositions-2011436. Note especially that it gives "on top of, upon, above, over" but NOT "ON". It's a good guide: sopra is about superposition, not contact. I think Duo would be better off with "upon" here.

A huge list of examples is in the Italian-only dictionary at https://dizionari.repubblica.it/Italiano/S/sopra.html, and from there you can also get to the Italian-English version.


The lamp is on the table top is a more economical English way of saying the lamp is on top of the table.


ok so stare is used for more transient states.. I get that, what I don't understand why we use sta here rather than è ... since we assume the lamp stays on the table (unless there is a ragno under it~), or am I over thinking this??


stare sopra = be [situated] on

  • 1260

Why can't I say The lamp is on the table?. In English top is understood


Would "La lampada rimane sopra il tavolo" be also correct?


Would it be right to say above of instead of on top of?


No more right than wrong. On top of implies contact with the object below. Above means 'relatively higher than' and implies no contact. Both could apply to a lamp.


How would one say "The lamp is above the table", in the sense it is hung or hovering?


Al di sopra del tavolo. And you wouldn't use stare as the verb.


So, you would use "essere" instead? La lampada è al di sopra del tavolo?


Should "the lamp stand on (top of) the table" be accepted?


That's not grammatical, or rather it is but "lamp stand" is a noun phrase meaning Il lampadario (la basa della lampada).

If you actually typed "stands", possibly yes, but si trova is normal for that meaning. Stare here means "to be" (in a place or situation).

But why not try "stands", with the spelling corrected, and let us know.


yes of course... too chubby fingers. I should have written/wanted to write stands. Thanks for indicating of trovarsi. That's a very good hint.


What is wrong with The lamp is ON the table??


Why is it "sopra il tavolo" but "sopra al letto"? Why are the prepositions different?


It is confusing, I put "the lamp is OVER the table" which was correct how come that "the lamp is ON TOP OF THE table" is also correct????


Here is more correct "é". "La lampada sta sul tavolo", i don't want you to move it! In this case is correct. Only in southern regions of italy we abuse in using stare instead of essere, but is bad to listen.


I'm finding this female voice really difficult to understand as she runs all her words together.


In buon italiano si dice che LA LAMPADA È SUL TAVOLO, oppure LA LAMPADA SI TROVA SUL TAVOLO, ma non la lampada sta sul tavolo, che è un'espressione d'origine dialettale

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