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I know that "essere" is used for the current location of a moveable object (e.g. keys) and "stare" is used for the usual location of a moveable object, therefore I suppose that the latter is used with the position of a building (which does not move). However, I got confused because Google Translate has just translated "The building is in London" to "L'edificio è a Londra". Are both verbs correct here or is Google Translate wrong in this case?

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Both options are correct as the location of buildings can be described with the verb “essere”.

  • “Il palazzo sta a New York”/“Il palazzo è a New York”
  • “La nostra baita è in cima alla montagna”/“La nostra baita sta in cima alla montagna”
  • “La casa sta in via Trevano”/“La casa è in via Trevano”/“La casa si trova in via Trevano”

This really depends on which part of Italy you come from. I am from the north so I tend to prefer using the verb “essere”, but many people prefer “stare”.

  • Thanks! I thought that "stare" was obligatory because I have seen the meaning "to be located" with the example of a building in wordreference.com/iten/stare and there was no tag of regionalism on it. – Alan Evangelista Aug 23 at 23:13
  • Still on the subject "location of objects" in Standard Italian, "stare" is used for the usual location of objects, right? Ex: La chiave sta sul tavolo. I suppose I can express the same meaning with "essere di solito"? Ex: La chiave è di solito sul tavolo. Are both constructions equally usually in the north and in the south? – Alan Evangelista Aug 23 at 23:13
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    @AlanEvangelista “La chiave sta sul tavolo” may also just mean that the key is on the table, and I mostly would understand it so, out of context. – DaG Aug 23 at 23:37
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    @AlanEvangelista Unfortunately there are no general, “logical” rules for the use of stare vs essere. Apart from particular cases (say, with the gerund), essere rarely will fail you, while you'll learn the use of stare paying attention to its idiomatic uses. – DaG Aug 23 at 23:40
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    I will have to agree with @DaG as there isn’t any general logical rule that differences “stare” from “essere”. Italian is full of exceptions :P – Marcel Ferrari Aug 24 at 6:28

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