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Essere or Avere? 50 sentences to practice on. QUIZ



Congiuntivo presente – Essere and Avere – Quiz & Audio

CONGIUNTIVO PRESENTE - ESSERE che io sia, che tu sia, che lui/lei sia, che noi siamo, che voi siate, che loro siano - CONGIUNTIVO PRESENTE AVERE: che io abbia, che tu abbia, che lui/lei abbia, che noi abbiamo, che voi abbiate, che loro abbiano

First blog, quiz and audio of a series about the Congiuntivo

Congiuntivo presente of Essere and Avere

At the beginning of your Italian classes, you probably learned the tenses of the indicativo, such as the presente, passato prossimo, imperfetto etcetera. If you are familiar with the tenses of the indicativo, it’s time to learn the congiuntivo presente and express a wider range of concepts and situations in Italian.

We can simplify and say that whereas the indicativo is the mood of reality, the congiuntivo is the mood of possibility, uncertainty and opinion.

There are four tenses of the congiuntivo:

  • presente  
  • passato
  • imperfetto
  • trapassato

Today we are going to study the congiuntivo presente of essere and avere. This will come in handy when we’ll approach the congiuntivo passato.

Look at the sentence

  • Penso che Fabio sia un bravo ragazzo.

Instead of 

“Penso che Fabio √® un bravo ragazzo”

we need to use the congiuntivo sia.

  1. I’m expressing my personal opinion about Fabio, not a fact;
  2. I think now that Fabio is a good guy, so I have to use the presente tense.

The congiuntivo needs

  • two sentences (clauses) connected with the word che (that). Io penso is the main sentence, che Fabio sia…is a dependent clause.
  • two different subjects (io & Fabio in this case)
  • a verb expressing a thought, emotion, opinion, desire… not a fact
  • the congiuntivo is always in a dependent clause

There are some exceptions to these four “pillars” of the congiuntivo, but in most cases we need all these conditions for the congiuntivo to be necessary. If one is missing, depending on the sentence, the congiuntivo is redundant.

For example, when the subject of the two clauses doesn’t change, the congiuntivo is not necessary:

Fabio (he) thinks he‘s a good guy:

  • Fabio pensa di essere un bravo ragazzo. 

Let’s see the present tense of essere and avere



The following rules apply to the congiuntivo, regardless of the tense we want to use. Please keep this first blog as a reference. The same rules are valid for the next tenses we are going to study.

We use the congiuntivo for expressing:

  • un’opinione (opinion) – Pensano che Luigi abbia un buon cuore.
  • un’incertezza (uncertainty) – Non sappiamo se i tuoi amici siano delle persone oneste.
  • una speranza (hope) – Speriamo che tu abbia il tempo di venire alla festa.
  • una volont√† (will) – Voglio che il lavoro sia pronto alle 10 di domani.
  • un timore (worry) – Ho paura che Michele non abbia abbastanza soldi.
  • un dubbio (doubt) – Il mio capo non √® sicuro che il nuovo ufficio sia adatto.

after impersonal expressions, often times with the verb “essere”

“√® bene che”, “√® difficile che”, “√® facile che”, “√® giusto che”, “√® necessario che”, “√® possibile che”, “occorre che”, “peccato che”, “√® impossibile che”, “√® improbabile che”, “√® probabile che”, “non √® giusto che” etc…

  • √ą possibile che Mauro abbia l’influenza.
  • Occorre che tu sia pi√Ļ paziente.
  • Non √® giusto che loro abbiano un lavoro cos√¨ pesante.

after feelings

“mi dispiace che”, “siamo contenti che”, “√® un peccato che”, “lui √® felice che” … 

  • Mi dispiace che Davide sia triste.
  • Siamo contenti che i nostri amici abbiano una casa nuova.
  • Sono felice che i miei nonni siano in buona salute.

after a superlativo relativo

  • Carlo √® l’amico pi√Ļ simpatico che io abbia.

after an indefinite adjective or pronoun 

such as chiunque, qualunque, ovunque, qualsiasi…

  • Chiunque sia al telefono, ditegli che sono occupato.
  • Qualunque malattia abbia Luigi, non √® grave.

Introducing a concession (frasi concessive) 

with nonostante, malgrado, sebbene, bench√© etc…

  • Nonostante abbiate poco tempo, studiate sempre l’italiano. Bravi!
  • Bench√© sia malato, sono andato ugualmente in ufficio.

There are other minor cases and expressions that require the use of the congiuntivo. We can see them together during our Skype classes.

Please try the quiz for more details about the congiuntivo presente of essere and avere and check your final score.


Passato Prossimo dei verbi regolari – Quiz

Let’s practice the passato prossimo. Quick review and quiz

This is just a review, so I am assuming you are already familiar with the passato prossimo regolare.

The quiz at the bottom of this page is a basic review with some new vocabulary. Look up the words and verbs you don’t know.

In a nutshell, the Passato Prossimo:

  • Describes a complete action in the past.
  • The passato prossimo regolare is the combination of essere and avere + past participle (ato-uto-ito):


Ieri  ‚Ķ

  • ‚Ķ sono andato a scuola. –> I went to school.
  • ‚Ķ ho mangiato il minestrone. –> I ate minestrone.

If you have doubts about essere or avere as auxiliary verbs, please practice with this exercise.

Don’t forget to check your score at the end of the quiz.


Silvestro Lega “Ragazza di Crespina” XIX sec.

Essere and Stare, two similar Italian verbs.

essere and stare

Essere and Stare are very important Italian verbs. It’s easy to get lost, since sometimes they both mean¬†“to be”

This is a very basic explanation on the difference between essere and stare, two very important Italian verbs. if you want to know more, please book a Zoom class at the bottom of this page,

il verbo STARE

presente imperfetto
io sto stavo
tu stai stavi
lui / lei sta stava
noi stiamo stavamo
voi state stavate
loro stanno stavano

The use of two important Italian verbs, essere and stare, can generate some confusion with English speakers.

To be and to stay roughly correspond to essere and stare,¬†but in some cases they¬†do not. You probably learned in your first Italian class that “How are you?”¬†is “Come stai (tu)?”.

  • Sto bene / Sto male.
  • Sono stanco / Sono felice.

We use adverbs with stare (bene, male) and adjectives with essere (stanco, felice) for expressing a physical or mental condition. Stare in this case is very close to essere.

Stare as to be in a place

  • Il cane sta fuori. – The dog stays outside.
  • Il cane √® fuori. – The dog is outside.

In the first sentence I say that the dog is usually outside, so it needs to stay out; in the second, the dog is outside now. Stare indicates “being” in a place for an amount of time, while essere is just now.

As a side note, quite relevant, in Central and Southern Italy, stare is used quite frequently in sentences where we should use essere. People often say:

  • Federico adesso sta a Firenze (instead of √® a Firenze).
  • Mia madre sta parecchio arrabbiata (instead of √® arrabbiata).
  • Ci sta un una macchina davanti a casa (instead of c’√®).

Stare in a progressive sentence

A rather confusing difference between English and Italian is in the construction of the progressive form:

I am doing…”¬†VS ¬†“(Io) Sto facendo…”. ¬†To be (essere) in English, to stay, stare in Italian.

  • Mario sta studiando.
  • Mario stava studiando quando l’ho chiamato.

Of course we can build progressive sentences with other tenses.

Once you learn the rule, it’s quite easy to remember it.

Finally, a very important and quite overlooked oddity of the Italian language. The past participles of essere and stare (been and stayed) are the same: “stato”.

Io sono stato can mean both “I have been” and “I have stayed” (or I was and I stayed).

All the reasons above can explain why essere and stare are so connected, similar and at first¬†confusing. Apparently the big part of the confusion comes from the use of stare.¬†Let’s look at a few examples.

Stare for expressing behavior

  • Sto sempre sveglio di notte. – I am always awake at night.
  • I bambini non stanno mai zitti. – Children are never silent.

Stare as imperativo

  • Stai zitta! – Be silent!
  • State attenti alla lezione. – Stay focused during the the class.

Stare for expressing feelings

  • I miei genitori stanno bene. – My parents are fine.
  • Tua madre sta in ansia per te. – Your mother is worried for you.

Stare in a place for an amount of time

  • Sono a casa. (I’m home now)
  • Sto a casa. (I stay home, I won’t go out)

In Southern Italy, people would say “sto a casa” to indicate “I’m home now” instead of “sono a casa”. So you don’t have to worry, Italians are confused too.

Grazie per avere letto questo articolo. Se avete domande, fatemi sapere. Alla prossima.

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    Italian for beginners: “C’√®” – “Ci sono”- PODCAST


    Theverbessereisusedintheexpressionsc’èandcisono(thereis-thereare) followedbya singularorpluralnoun.Podcast.







    • Mariononc’√®?
    • Nonc’√®tempo?

    • Nonc’√®nessuno¬†-lit.Thereisn’tnobody
    • Nonc’√®niente-lit.Thereisn’tnothing
    ThereareplentyoforedoublenegativesinItalian(withmai,nessuno,niente).Learn themastheyare.



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