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.
|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.
- 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.
|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.
|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.
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.
|(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.
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?
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.
|(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.
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.
- Sta’ zitto!
- 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|
|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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