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Getting Familiar with the “Stare” Conjugation in Italian

Stare is an extremely important Italian verb, which is often used in everyday conversation. Hence, it’s crucial to get familiar with the stare conjugation and its different meanings.

Depending on the situation, stare can be translated as:

  • To stay
  • To be
  • To remain
  • To be situated
  • To live
  • To be about to (when followed by a verb in the infinitive form).

In this article, you’ll learn how to conjugate and use it properly in every situation.

Stare Conjugation in the Indicative Present Tense

Stare is an intransitive verb, meaning that it does not take a direct object. It’s also an irregular verb and it does not follow the pattern of the verbs ending in “-are”. Here is how to form the present tense of stare.

Presente Present tense
io sto I stay
tu stai you stay
lui/lei sta he/she stay
noi stiamo we stay
voi state you stay
loro stanno they stay
  • Come stai?
    How are you?
  • In questi giorni sto a Roma.
    These days I’m staying in Rome.
  • Sto per uscire.
    I’m about to leave.

Stare is often used to form the Present Progressive tense, in order to talk about an action that is happening at the same time we are speaking. This construction is formed by stare + the gerund of the verb.

  • Sto mangiando.
    I’m eating.
  • Sto andando a lavoro.
    I’m going to work.

Stare Conjugation in the Indicative Past Tense

The indicative mood has two simple past tenses: imperfetto and passato remoto.

Imperfetto Imperfect
io stavo I stayed
tu stavi you stayed
lui/lei stava he/she stayed
noi stavamo we stayed
voi stavate you stayed
loro stavano they stayed
  • Stavo per uscire quando il telefono ha squillato.
    I was about to leave, when the phone rang.
  • Quando ho visto Paola, non stava facendo niente.
    When I saw Paola, she wasn’t doing anything.

While the imperfetto is used for recurring actions in the past or for events that happened not too long ago, the passato remoto is used to talk about something that took place months, or years ago. However, it’s rarely used in real life (with the exception of some regional uses, especially in Southern Italy).

Passato remoto Remote Past tense
io stetti I stayed
tu stesti you stayed
lui/lei stette he/she stayed
noi stemmo we stayed
voi steste you stayed
loro stettero they stayed
  • Ero così arrabbiato che non stetti nemmeno a sentirlo.
    I was so angry that I didn’t even stay to listen to him.

Stare Conjugation to Talk about the Future

There are two tenses to express the future in Italian. We’ll see first the Future Simple of stare.

Futuro Semplice Future Simple
io starò I will stay
tu starai you will stay
lui/lei starà he/she will stay
noi staremo we will stay
voi starete you will stay
loro staranno they will stay
  • Ho sbagliato, ma in futuro starò più attento.
    I made a mistake; in the future, I’ll be more careful.
  • Starò a Parigi per due settimane.
    I’ll stay in Paris for two weeks.

Compound Tenses of Stare Conjugation

The indicative mood also has a few compound tenses. Since stare is an intransitive verb, its compound tenses are formed by adding the auxiliary essere (to be).

Stare Conjugation: Present Perfect Tense

The Present Perfect is the most used tense to talk about past actions. Here is how you form it.

Passato prossimo Present Perfect tense
io sono stato/a I have stayed
tu sei stato/a you have stayed
lui/lei è stato/a he/she has stayed
noi siamo stati/e we have stayed
voi siete stati/e you have stayed
loro sono stati/e they have stayed
  • Sono stato a Milano per una settimana.
    I’ve stayed in Milan for a week.
  • La spiegazione non è stata molto chiara.
    The explanation wasn’t very clear.

Remember that when essere is used as an auxiliary, you need to modify the acting verb according to the gender and number of the subject.

Stare Conjugation: Pluperfect and Preterite Perfect tense

The trapassato prossimo is normally used to talk about an action that happened in the past, before another action.

Trapassato prossimo Pluperfect
io ero stato/a I had stayed
tu eri stato/a you had stayed
lui/lei era stato/a he/she had stayed
noi eravamo stati/e we had stayed
voi eravate stati/e you had stayed
loro erano stati/e they had stayed
  • A quanto pare non ero stato chiaro, così gliel’ho rispiegato.
    Apparently, it wasn’t clear enough, so I explained it again.

The Trapassato remoto is formed with the Remote Past tense of essere + the past participle of stare.

Trapassato remoto Preterite Perfect tense
io fui stato/a I had stayed
tu fosti stato/a you had stayed
lui/lei fu stato/a he/she had stayed
noi fummo stati/e we had stayed
voi foste stati/e you had stayed
loro furono stati/e they had stayed

You will hardly encounter the trapassato remoto of stare, so don’t worry too much: it’s only used in complex structures in literature, hence, it’ll be quite weird to use it in spoken language.

Stare Conjugation: Future Perfect Tense

The futuro anteriore has no equivalent in English, and is mostly used for two purposes:

  • To indicate an action that will be finished before another one will take place.
  • To express an hypothesis or uncertainty, or when you’re not sure about whether something will take place.
Futuro anteriore Future Perfect tense
io sarò stato/a I will have stayed
tu sarai stato/a you will have stayed
lui/lei sarà stato/a he/she will have stayed
noi saremo stati/e we will have stayed
voi sarete stati/e you will have stayed
loro saranno stati/e they will have stayed
  • Se sarai stato promosso con buoni voti, ti farò un bel regalo.
    If you’ll pass this year with good marks, I’ll give you a nice present.
  • Perchè Marco non c’è? Sarà stato trattenuto a lavoro.
    Why is Marco not here? He must be stuck at work.

Subjunctive Tense of Stare

The subjunctive is the mood of uncertainty and is often introduced in Italian by the conjunction “che” (that). It is often used to express opinions, hope, wishes, assumptions, feelings, doubts or hypotheses.

Present Subjunctive

The present subjunctive of stare conjugation has the same three endings for all singular persons. Therefore, it’s advisable to add a pronoun before the verb, to help distinguish among them.

Congiuntivo presente
(che) io stia
(che) tu stia
(che) lui/lei stia
(che) noi stiamo
(che) voi stiate
(che) loro stiano
  • Non credo che tu mi stia ascoltando.
    I believe you’re not listening to me.
  • Penso che Luca stia dicendo una bugia.
    I think that Luca is telling a lie.

Perfect Subjunctive

The Past Subjunctive is formed with the Present Subjunctive of essere + the Past Participle of stare.

Congiuntivo passato (essere auxiliary)
(che) io sia stato/a
(che) tu sia stato/a
(che) lui/lei sia stato/a
(che) noi siamo stati/e
(che) voi siate stati/e
(che) loro siano stati/e

It is used to express past actions and express hypothesis or doubts, as well as to formulate rhetorical questions.

  • Che sia stato lui a scrivere quella lettera?
    Perhaps it was him who wrote that letter?

Subjunctive Imperfect

The subjunctive imperfect of stare is another irregular tense and is formed by removing the verb ending -are and by adding the following endings: -essi, -essi, -esse, -essimo, -este, -essero.

Congiuntivo imperfetto
(che) io stessi
(che) tu stessi
(che) lui/lei stesse
(che) noi stessimo
(che) voi steste
(che) loro stessero
  • Non sapevo che Lucia stesse per partire, altrimenti l’avrei salutata.
    I didn’t know that Lucia was about to leave, otherwise I would say goodbye to her.
  • Se tu non stessi a casa così spesso, conosceresti più persone.
    If you didn’t stay home so often, you’ll get to know more people.

Pluperfect Subjunctive

The Pluperfect Subjunctive of stare is formed by the Present Subjunctive of essere + the past participle of stare. It is mostly used in hypothetical clauses, often introduced by “se” (if).

Congiuntivo trapassato Pluperfect Subjunctive (essere auxiliary)
io fossi stato/a I would have stayed
tu fossi stato/a you would have stayed
lui/lei fosse stato/a he/she would have stayed
noi fossimo stati/e we would have stayed
voi foste stati/e you would have stayed
loro fossero stati/e they would have stayed
  • Se fossi stato onesto, non avremmo litigato.
    If you were sincere, we wouldn’t have fought.
  • E se fosse stato lui a tradire la tua fiducia, che farai?
    What if it was him who betrayed you, what would you do?

Conditional Mood of Stare

The Conditional mood only has two tenses: present and past. This verbal mode is used to talk about actions or situations that are conditioned by other actions, or to express impossible situations, or an information that the speaker is unsure about. It is the equivalent of the English would + verb.

Condizionale presente Conditional present
io starei I would stay
tu staresti you would stay
lui/lei starebbe he/she would stay
noi staremmo we would stay
voi stareste you would stay
loro starebbero they would stay
  • Non starei mai con uno come te.
    I would never stay with someone like you.
  • Se foste arrivati prima ad aiutarci, non staremmo in questa situazione.
    If you came earlier to help us, we wouldn’t be in this situation.

The conditional past is used for the same purpose, but of course it is used to talk about past actions/information. It is formed by using the Conditional Present of essere + the past participle of stare.

Condizionale passato Conditional past
io sarei stato/a I would have stayed
tu saresti stato/a you would have stayed
lui/lei sarebbe stato/a he/she would have stayed
noi saremmo stati/e we would have stayed
voi sareste stati/e you would have stayed
loro sarebbero stati/e they would have stayed
  • Non sarei mai stato in grado di superare l’esame, senza il tuo aiuto.
    I would never be able to pass the exam without your help.
  • Non sarei stato così tanto a Roma, se non avessi amato la città.
    I would never have stayed so long in Rome if I hadn’t loved the city.

Imperative Mood and Indefinite Moods of Stare

Finally, let’s end this overview of the stare conjugation by looking at the imperative mood (used to express orders or requests) and the indefinite moods.

Imperative Present
tu sta’/stai
lui/lei stia
noi stiamo
voi stiate
loro stiano
  • Sta’ zitto!
    Shut up!
  • Stai qui, mentre vado a fare la spesa.
    Stay here, while I go shopping.

Lastly, the indefinite moods of stare:

Infinito – Infinitive
Present tense Past tense
Stare (to stay) Esser stato (to have stayed)
Participio – Participle
Present tense Past tense
stante stato (stayed)
Gerundio – Gerundive
Present tense Past tense
Stando (Staying) Essendo stato (having stayed)


Stare is one of the first verbs that you’ll study during your Italian learning journey. Since it is sometimes used in situations where English uses other verbs, we suggest that you spend some extra time to get familiar with the stare conjugation.

Be sure to stay with us a bit more and practice what you’ve learned today!

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