The present tense and imperative of stare (to be)

Stare (to be) is an irregular verb.

Io sto
Tu stai
Lui/lei sta
Noi stiamo
Voi state
Loro stanno
(tu) stai/sta'
(lei) stia
(noi) stiamo
(voi) state
(loro) stiano

We use it:

  • to talk about an action that is currently happening (stare + gerundio, “-ing” form of the verb).

Stiamo leggendo.

We are reading.

Sto mangiando.

I am eating.

  • to talk about something that is about to happen (stare + per + infinitive).

Quando vai al mercato? – Sto per andare.

-When are you going to the market? -I'm about to go.

  • as another way of saying sentirsi (to feel), with words like bene (well) or male (bad), or another way of saying restare (to stay, remain) in a condition or a place.

– Come stai? – Sto male. = Come ti senti?

-How are you? -I'm not well. = How are you feeling?

Stasera stiamo a casa = Stasera restiamo a casa.

We're at home this evening = This evening we're staying at home.

  • to talk about how we are physically, psychologically, or in terms of our appearance, when how we are is temporary.

In questo momento, non stanno molto bene. 

Right now they are not very well.

  • To give instructions or invitations (in the imperative) relating to someone's mood or behavior.

State calmi. 

Remain calm.

Stai zitto!

Be quiet!

Stare (to be) is also used in some expressions like stare al gioco (to play the game), stare con le mani in mano (to sit on your hands, to be idle) and non stare più nella pelle (to be excited, to not be able to wait)

Stiamo al gioco!

We're playing the game!

Sta sempre con le mani in mano.

He's always being idle.

Magda non sta più nella pelle, vuole vedere Anna!

Magda can't wait, she wants to see Anna!


  • Essere and stare both have the same past participle, stato, so in some tenses the verbs have the same form.

È stata una bella festa.  (essere)

It was a lovely party. 

Sono stato bene. (stare)

I was well. 

  • In some cases stare is used instead of essere (to be) but this is mainly done in dialect.

Sto tranquillo. = Sono tranquillo.

I am calm.

La macchina sta in garage. = La macchina è in garage.

The car is in the garage.

Still facing difficulties with 'The present tense and imperative of stare (to be)'? Enhance your grammar and learn Italian through our online Italian lessons.
Start with a free test and improve today!

What our users say:



I enjoy doing my online Italian lessons. Only ten minutes daily are enough...Thank you!



I love your innovative method which allows me to learn a new language and have fun at the same time!



Your method is unique! Your courses have helped me to progress and gain confidence during my travels.



Gymglish has allowed me to improve my Italian. A daily routine I wouldn't miss for anything in the world!

More testimonials.

Improve your Italian further and test Saga Baldoria, online Italian course.