Forum Rocket Italian Italian Grammar ESSERE Imperfect vs Present perfect

ESSERE Imperfect vs Present perfect



Ciao a tutti.

I have seen instances where essere verb was conjugated Imperfect vs Present perfect forms and to me they sound almost a like.

Era una giornata bellissima (it was a beautiful day?)
È stata una giornata bellissima (it was/has been a beautiful day?)

È stata una cena buonissima (it has been/was a delicious dinner?)
Era una cena buonissima (it was a delicious dinner?)

Could i get a more clear understanding of the above if i have translated correctly?  I am a little confused between the conjugation of these two they seem alike in some ways.

Io sono stato in Italia (I have been to/I was in Italia?)
Ero in Italia (I was in Italia?)

Io sono stato fuori con i miei amici (I have been out/I was out with my friends?)
Ero fuori con i miei amici (I was out with my friends?)

Could both conjugations be applied to anything in particular?

As a final point - I also realise STARE verb Present perfect has the exact same conjugation of ESSERE Present perfect.

So, i believe you can't say:

Io sono stato mangiando ( I was/have been eating)

But you would instead say:

Io stavo mangiando (I was eating)

Am I correct?

Grazie mille.
Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor

Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor

Hi rigoletto,

Imperfect is used for actions that finished in a not-so-near past or actions that repeated themselves, like in I used to play basketball when I was a kid, giocavo a calcio quand'ero un bambino, or also actions that lasted for some time.

You would say era una giornata bellissima if you had to describe to one of your friends something that has happened in the past, like a story. Era una giornata bellissima: il sole splendeva e gli uccellini cinguettavano. It was a beautiful day: the sun was shining and the birds were singing.
You would normally say è stata una giornata bellissima at the end of an awesome day. This can also be used to speak of past events, but it has a "present" nuance just like present perfect.

Right after you've finished eating, you can say è stata una cena buonissima, but I also heard guests say era tutto buonissimoeverything was delicious. The one you choose in the spoken language really depends on the nuance you want to give to the sentence.

Written language is another matter, because novels that are written in the past tense often use imperfect to describe actions that are already occuring or have started before the main action:
Mentre tornava a casa, cominciò a piovere.
You can also say (especially in the spoken language):
Mentre tornava a casa, ha cominciato a piovere.

The imperfect tense often describes an action that takes some time, like walking, reading, watching TV.

Io sono stato in Italia = this is a fact, and it sounds like a complete sentence. You were in Italy at least once in your life.
Ero in Italia = this is still a complete sentence, but it calls for another verb because the action feels longer. Ero in Italia... quando mia nipote è nata. I was in Italy... when my niece was born. Long action = I was, immediate action that cuts the longer action = to be born.

You're correct, you can only say io stavo mangiando!

This is not one of the easiest topics for English speakers, so if you have any other doubts don't hesitate to ask!



Perfetto! Ho capito adesso.

Grazie tante Lucia per ogni cosa. Thanks so much for everything Lucia, if i wrote it write.

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