When translating a sentence like "It has been you." in Italian, should I use the subjective case for you, or the objective case?

In other words, should I say sei stato tu or sei stato te?

I would use sei stato te, but it sounds strange to my hears. I interpret is as tu sei stato for which the subject is then moved at the end of the sentence. Is it correct?

2 Answers 2


“Sei stato te” is an ungrammatical sentence, “te” being the objective-case form, to be used only as the direct or indirect object of a verb (“(non ho visto Gianni,) ho visto te”, “(non l'ho dato a Maria,) l'ho dato a te”), and even so, mostly when you want to put the stress on “you” (otherwise you'd say “ti ho visto”, “te l'ho dato”).

By the way, in a sentence like “sei stato tu”, “tu” is actually the subject.

(This said, it is not too uncommon to hear people using “te” in the above ungrammatical way.)


The correct form is

Sei stato tu?

as tu is the subject of the phrase and it's grammatically equivalent to

Tu sei stato?

even though with a significant different emphasis and meaning.

However it's not uncommon tu use te in place of tu in such a phrase. Many native speakers would say

Sei stato te?

probably without even being aware of its incorrectness.

So it's still incorrect, but it's surely very used and - personally - it doesn't particularly bother me when I hear it.

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