Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Differences Between Essere and Stare

Essere vs Stare

What do you love about Italy? Perhaps your first answers would be their Italian cuisine and their stunning scenery. But for some, their answer would be the Italian language. Have you already heard someone speaking in Italian? The way people speak Italian is lovely to the ears. Even I was awed with the high pitch and fast tempo of their voices. In this article, let us learn a little Italian. Let us differentiate “essere” and “stare,” two Italian words, with each other.

As I did my research about “essere” and “stare,” all I can say is that these words are the equivalent terms for our own verbs “to be.” In the English language, the basic to be verbs are:  “am,” “is,” and “are.” “Essere” means “to be” or “to exist” in the English language; while “stare” means “to stay.” Looking at their English translations, “essere” and “stare” only point at the same thing. However, like any other words, each word has its own degree and rules of usage.

When it comes to usage, “essere” is often associated with permanent aspects. Among the permanent aspects you can freely use “essere” are: identities, professions, origins, religious affiliations, political affiliations, time, possessions, nationalities, physical characteristics, essential characteristics, location, current condition, and subjective reactions. Note that the above-mentioned permanent aspects are attributions which cannot be removed or separated from a particular person or object.

Here are a few examples of “essere”:

  1. Identity – Io sono Celine. (I am Celine.) In this statement, “essere” is used because we are talking about the name or identity of a particular person. Also note “am,” the to be verb  is used in the sentence.

  2. Profession – Lei è un insegnante. (She is a teacher.) In this statement, “essere” is again used because we are dealing with the permanent and current profession of an individual. Also note “is,” the to be verb is used in the sentence.

  3. Nationality – Io sono un americano. (I am American.) Nationality is also a permanent aspect of an individual so “essere” is used in this statement. Also note “am,” the to be verb is used in the sentence.

  4. Physical aspect – Sono bei giovanotti. (They are handsome, young men.) The obvious physical aspect of a particular individual is also permanent unless changed due to other factors. But in this statement, we are talking about the current, physical aspects of the men which are handsome and young, so “essere” is used.

  5. Location – Il denaro è all’interno della tasca. (The money is inside the pocket.) The money will be permanently located inside the pocket as long as no one will pull them out, so “essere” is again used.

On the other hand, “stare” is often used to indicate temporary aspects and precise locations. “Stare” is also used in idiomatic statements and auxiliary verbs. The following examples were from serena Italian of WordPress.   

  1. Temporary aspect – Sto male. (I feel bad.)

  2. Idiomatic statement – Sto bene. (I am well.)

  3. Precise locationLa sedia sta in cucina. (The chair is in the kitchen.)

  4. Auxiliary verb – Sto correndo. (I am running.)

If you will notice, every time we use “essere,” the Italian word “sono” always pop up. On the other hand, every time we use “stare,” the Italian word “sto/sta” always pops up. However, this is not always the case. This article is only meant to help beginners. There are more specialized rules you need to learn and memorize.


  1. “Essere” means “to be” or “to exist” in the English language; while “stare” means “to stay.”

  2. “Essere” and “stare” are equivalent terms of the English language’s to be verbs.


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