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  21.3.9 Stare / essere bei De Mauro and Garzanti

De Mauro and Garzanti are two dictionnaries available online. They don' t mentionne any rules but list the different uses. If you have a look at these lists you will find that they they are compatible with the rules mentionned before.

the use of essere and stare in the dictionnary Garzanti

essere stare
1. As a copula verb (He is intelligent) it connects the subject with the predicative noun, in other words, it attributes the characteristic of the adjective / adverb to the subject of the sentence (We are intelligent, We are there) or establishes the identity between the subject and the predicative noun (He is a doctor). This used it mentionned first at Garzanti so we can deduce that as a copula verb mostly essere is used and not stare. 1. In the sense of remain, stay. Allora, vai o stai? And now, to you stay or do you go?
2. As an autonomous verb it describe the essence or nature of something (penso dunque sono, I think and therefore I am; to be or not to be, essere or not essere; stare o non stare would correspond more to stay or not to stay) 2. In the sense of remain Stava lì, senza muoversi. He remains there without moving
3. It describes the time or the climatic conditions (è Pasqua, it' s Easter) 3. In relationship to things the place something is usually.

Il capotto sta nell' armadio.
= The coat is in the cupboard.

stare a casa (to stay at home, decision). The difference between stare a casa and essere a casa is, that in the first case it is a decision.

You see the difference more clearly it you translate with different verbs.

He always stays at home. = Sempre sta a casa.
He is alway at home. = Sempre è in casa.

If the subject is a person the difference between essere and stare is more or less the same as between to be (essere) and to stay (to stay, to remain, to live)

Il libri che cerchi stanno sullo scaffale in alto.
= The books you are looking for are above on the rack.

We already mentionned that stare is to be used if the position of an object relative to another object is to described. This contradicts to one example given by De Mauro ("La mia casa è tra il ponte e l' incrocio.My house is located between the bridge and the crossroad.) But De Mauro mentionnes as well a restriction. Only together with the prepositionsn (tra / fra) essere is used this way.
4. It can be used instead of more specific verbs like avvenire (to happen): Sarà quel che sarà = Avverrà quel che avverrà; what will happen will happen 4. Can have the meaning of to contain.

Nel nuovo stadio ci stanno 90 000 spettatori. = In the new stadium is place for 90000 spectators.
5. In idiomatic expressions: "è possibile", "it is possible ". 5. To describe relationships

Otto sta a quattro come dieci a cinque. = Eight behaves to four like ten to five.
6. To describe a place or a state. Here we touch the Spanish "to reside at a place" which, as we already said, it not valid in Italian. Essere as well as stare can be used in this context, but with a subtle difference. With stare we describe the place an object (or a person) is usually, where it should be and with essere the place where it is at the moment of speaking. We have the description of a temporary residence as well in many metaphorical expressions (He groped in the dark = essere all' oscuro, to be in safety = essere al sicuro). All the examples below fits with rules mentionned before.

essere a tavola
= to be at table
essere agli ordini di qualcuno = to be directly responsible to someone
essere al verde = to be out of money
essere dalla parte di qualcuno = to take someones part
essere in città = to be in town
essere in buona salute = to be in good health
essere nei guai = to be in the lurch
6. In the sense of to live, to be located, to reside

Dopo la morte del marito è andata a stare con la sua figlia. = After the death of her husband she moved to her daughter.

7. In the sense of to be located

Il castello sta in cima alla collina. = The castle is located at the top of the hill.

8. To describe a physical state.

As it has been mentionned before very rarely stare is used with an adjective. In most cases stare together with an adjective is used if the adjective itself is ambiguous (Sono bene = I am good person, Sto bene = I am fine)

C' è chi sta peggio di te. = There are people worse than you.

9. With expressions of the type it is not good / bad

Non sta mai bene essere scortesi. = It is never good to be impolite
fare di queste cose assolutamente non sta bene = Do something like that is not good at all
  10. Descriptions

Le cose stanno proprio in questo modo, non c' è nulla da fare = Things being as they are, there is nothing to do about it

11. As an idiomatic expression ("depend on")

Non sta a me decidere il da farsi = I doesn' t depend on me what to do

12. as an idiomatic expression

stare allo scherzo = to jouculate
stare alle promesse = to keeep ones promise
stare ai fatti = to stick to the facts

13. with gerund

stare leggendo / scrivendo / scherzando etc.

the use of essere and stare in the dictionnary of De Mauro
essere stare   1. As the main function De Mauro names as well its use as a copula verb

Maria è maestra. = Maria is a teacher
Carlo è piccolo. = Carlo is small.   1. In this dictionnary as well the main meaning of stare is stay, remain at a place

Volete andare o state ancora un po'? = Do you want to go or you still want to stay for a while?           2.Do describe the nature of something

Sono qua per aiutarti. = I am here to help you
Che sarà di noi ? = What is going to happen with us?
La stanza è due metri per tre. = The room measures two to three meters.   2. As a copula verb it is used to describe situations or postures

stare in piede

to be upright

stare a bocca aperta
to have the mouth open

stare in equilibrio

to be in equilibrium

puoi stare sicuro che non seguirà il tuo consiglio
You can be sure that he will not follow your advice           3. as an intransitive verb

Eravamo tutti giù in strada. = We have all been on the street
La mia casa è tra il ponte e l' incrocio. = My house is between the bridge and the crossroad

In the last example we have a contradiction to the general rule, but we already talked about that. Together with the preposition tra / fra essere is used even even in a description of the usual place of something.

with the preposition tra e fra, trovarsi in mezzo: la mia casa è tra il ponte e l' incrocio.
With the prepositionns tra / fra (between), to be located between something: My house is located between the bridge and the crossroad.

Beside that we use the verb essere in relationship with the following prepositions. This prepositions doesn' t describe a relationship in the space.

with the prepositions in and a
Siamo a Natale
We now have Christmas

with the preposition di
Il libro è di Mario
The book belongs to Mario

with the preposition per
Questo lavoro non è per te
This work is nothing for me

with the preposition da
È un problema difficile da risolvere.
This is a problem difficult to resolve

with the preposition con
Sono con te quando dici che bisognerebbe cambiare le cose
I agree with you when you say that things must change
  3. Expression of an emotional attachement

stare insieme = to be together           4. After general expressions like è presto (it is early), è tardi (it is late), è mezzanotte (it is midnight)   4. Instead of other words for to live, to reside

Andremmo a stare in campagna.
We are going to live on the countryside.
Stiamo al terzo piano. = We live in the third floor.           5. to form the passive voice and conjugate with intransitive / reflexive verbs   5. To spent time with someone

Con te si sta proprio volentieri. = It is a pleasure to stay with you  

6. to stick to

stare alle regole
to stick to the rules

stare ai fatti
to stick to the facts

7. to stand (also in metaphorical sense)

Bisogna che decidano da che parte stanno.
They have to decide on which side they stand.

8. To describe the normal location of something

Il paese è su una collina.
The church is on a hill

9. In relationship with male, bene, peggio, meglio. As well in a moral sense.

Qui non starebbe male una virgola.
A comma wouldn' t be bad here.

Non sta bene parlare ad alta voce.
It is not good to speak loud.

10. Le cose non stanno proprio così.
Things are not like that.

11. Tutto sta nel trovare un accordo.
The most important thing is to find an agreement.

12. Sta a voi decidere.
It is up to you to decide

13. Il due sta nel sei tre volte.
The two fits three times in six.

15. Stare + per + Infinitiv (to be about)
Fa' attenzione a quello che sto per dirti.
Pay attention to what I am about to tell you.

16. A quanto sta la farina.
What the price for meal at the moment

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