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Forum Rocket Italian Italian Grammar Lesson 4.6 - ESSERE vs. STARE

Lesson 4.6 - ESSERE vs. STARE



I'm starting get a feel of when to use essere and stare. But there are a couple of examples in lesson 4.6 I'm not sure of.

When you say "Il ​ragazzo è in piedi." Does that mean the boy is performing the action of standing up from a sitting position?

Also, does "Siamo seduti adesso." mean we are performing the action of sitting down from a standing position.

Am I interpreting this correctly? if not, could you please elaborate more on the difference between.

Il ​ragazzo è in piedi.
The boy stands. (right now)
Il ​ragazzo sta in piedi.
The boy stands. (continues to stand))


Siamo seduti adesso.
(We) are sitting down right now.

Stiamo seduti adesso.
(We) are sitting down right now. (of our own volition).





Hi Mark, 

Thank you for your question! 
The difference between "stare" and "essere" in these examples is very subtle in my opinion, but let me try to elaborate more:
  • Il ​ragazzo è in piedi. ---> means that the "The boy stands." (right now)
  • Il ​ragazzo sta in piedi. ---> means that the "The boy stands." (continues to stand) You would therefore expect that the boy will stand for an extended period of time.

Let's slightly extend these 2 sentences:

  • Il ragazzo è in piedi adesso. = The boy is standing right now.
  • Il ragazzo sta in piedi tutto il giorno a lavoro. = The boy stands all day long at work.

The same goes for:

  • Siamo seduti.--> means that "(We) are sitting down" (right now)
  • Stiamo seduti. --> means that "(We) are sitting down"  (we continue to sit for a certain amount of time)

Let's slightly extend thesee 2 sentences:

  • Siamo seduti adesso, ma prima eravamo in piedi. = We are sitting down right now, but we were standing earlier.
  • Stiamo seduti finchè non arriva Paolo. = We are sitting down until Paolo arrives.

Hope this helps! :) 


Hi Caterina,

Thanks for the reply. It's a bit clearer now, but like you said it's a suble difference. Up until now I have only come across essrere being used with seduto and seduti. So I was a bit confused about when to use stare. I guess if I'm not sure I can always use essere.



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