Lesson 3

Lesson 3: Language Instruction

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Lezione Numero Tre/Lesson Number Three

Watch a video:

Lesson 3, Part 1: Opening Lecture

Come State?/How Are You?

  • Come state? (Literally “How do you stay?”)/How are you?"
    • Spero bene! /I hope well!

You may be wondering whether am I talking to you as a single person, or to you as a group. In English you would know it from the context. In Italian you would know it from the structure of the sentence itself, because I would use a different form of the verb stare.

ITALIAN ENGLISH FORM OF “YOU”
(voi) come state? You-plural
(tu) come stai? You-singular
(lei) come sta? You-singular, formal (like Usted in Spanish)

Here is how you can answer:

ITALIAN ENGLISH
Bene. Or benissimo/molto bene. Very well.
Non c’è male, grazie. Not bad, thank you. (Literally “There isn’t bad.”)
Cosi cosi. So so.
Male Bad.
Note: If we are in a formal relationship, you should say E Lei? instead of E tu?

Listen to Dialogue: Come Stai?

Come Stai? (MP3 - 2.7MB)

Essere O Stare? Questo è il Dilemma!/Using the Verbs Essere or Stare? That is The Question!

  • We ask come stai, not come sei.
  • As a general rule, essere means “to be”, and stare means “to stay”.
  • However, stare, not essere is always used, when followed by the adverbs bene, male, meglio, or peggio (worse). Stare bene with an indirect pronoun (dative) means “it suits you”.
  • Questo vestito ti (=a te) sta bene/This dress suits you. (Literally “this dress stays well to you”).

Stare followed by the gerundive expresses the continuous tenses:

ITALIAN ENGLISH
Sto cucinando. (I) am cooking.
Stavo leggendo. (I) was reading.

Essere is used in general to indicate more permanent aspects of people or things.

ITALIAN ENGLISH
Sono Daria. I am Daria.
Sono di New York. I am from New York.
Mike è Americano. Mike is American.
Mia mamma è bionda. My mom is blond. (Used with identity, origin, nationality, aspect, religion, etc.)

Sometimes it’s also for transitory conditions/emotions.

ITALIAN ENGLISH
Giovanni è ammalato. (not sta ammalato) John is sick.
Alice è innamorata. Alice is enamored (in love).
Sei felice? Are you happy?

Essere is also used as a verbo ausiliare (auxiliary verb, or helper) in the passive form:

  • La pizza è cotta nel forno./The pizza is baked (literally “cooked”) in the oven.

When talking about a location, essere and stare are mostly the same:

Siamo in cucina or stiamo in cucina./We are in the kitchen.

Listening Exercise

Essere e stare: Indicativo presente

Ascolta come si coniuga l’indicativo presente dei verbi essere e stare./Listen to how the verbs _essere and stare are used.

Essere e stare (MP3- 1.8MB)

 Il Verbo “Essere” / The Verb “To Be”

ITALIAN ENGLISH
(io) sono. (I) am.
(tu) sei (informal)/ (Lei) è (formal). (you) are.
(lei/lui) è. (she/he) is. (We don’t have the neutral pronoun “it”.)
(noi) siamo. (we) are.
(voi) siete. (you) are.
(loro) sono. (they) are.

Il Verbo “Stare”/The Verb “To Stay”

ITALIAN ENGLISH
Sto. (I) stay.
stai (informal) sta (formal). (you) stay.
sta. (she/he) stays.
stiamo. (we) are.
state. (you) stay.
stanno. (they) stay.

If you want to talk about something you enjoy doing, you use the verb piacere followed by the infinitive:

A Giorgio piace cucinare./George likes cooking. (Literally “cooking is pleasing to George.”)

As we started planning what to cook next, we made the list of what toppings we like on pizza.

ITALIAN ENGLISH
Cosa ti (= a te) piace sulla pizza? What do you like on your pizza? (Literally “What is pleasing to you on pizza?”)
Mi (=a me) piace la mozzarella. I like mozzarella. (Literally “Mozzarella is pleasing to me.”)
Mi piacciono le melanzane e i peperoni, I like eggplant and peppers. (Literally “Eggplants and peppers are pleasing to me.”)

Compiti/Assignments

Lesson 3 Assignments (PDF)

Listening Exercise

Mi piace!/I like it!

Listen and repeat.

Course Info

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