Are "essere" and "stare" used interchangeably in Standard Italian in the following sentence?

Sono / sto seduto.

If not, what is the difference of meaning? If there are differences of usage between Northern and Southern Italy in this context, please also include them in the answer.

1 Answer 1


They are not interchangeably, there is difference between the two verbs. If I say 'Sono seduto' it means, generally speaking, that at the moment I am sitting (no more), 'Sto seduto' means that I am sitting at the moment and I will continue to be sat in the close future. The verb 'Stare' is iterative (action keep happening), the verb 'Essere' is not.

Italian and his rules are the same both in North and South Italy, there could be difference in dialects or in speaking dialect derived language (so not strict italian, but 'mix').

  • "Difference in dialects" is exactly what I meant with "differences of usage between Northern and Southern Italy". I am interested in them. For instance, some Italians at forum.wordreference.com/threads/… believe that "essere seduto" and "stare seduto" are identical. Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 16:31
  • I don't have sources besides experience, but you are way more likely to hear "sto seduto" used in the exact same way as "sono seduto" in southern Italy, and in general in the south people tend to use the verbs "essere" and "stare" interchangeably (e.g. "sono qui" and "sto qui" for "I'm here"). In the north the verb "stare" often has the same meaning as "restare" (to stay). Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 16:42
  • I am from North Italy, we used them in the way I described you. Also in dialects.
    – CB18
    Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 16:45
  • @user2723984 I thought that, in Southern Italy, people tended to use "essere" and "stare" less interchangeably, as mentioned in dante-learning.com/eng/essere-and-stare (in other words, "stare" like Spanish "estar" and "essere" as Spanish "ser"). Is that blog post incorrect or doesn't that trend apply to this case? Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 18:05

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