Essere with imperfetto, how do you represent "it" to refer to an object, a place and not a person?

For example, a Dorling Kindersley Italian book that I have uses:

The car was beautiful but too expensive. La macchina era bella ma troppo cara.

The exhibition was superb. La mostra era favoloso.

In both cases above "era" is used, however "era" is used for lui, lei and the formal Lei. Per the examples above, since a car and an exhibition is used, why isn't "erano" used to refer to "it was"?


  • LA macchina and LA mostra are "lei", aren't they?
    – DonHolgo
    Nov 3, 2022 at 8:28
  • 2
    I'm confused. Why should it be “erano”? “Era” is singular, “Erano” is plural, regardless of the gender.
    – DaG
    Nov 3, 2022 at 8:34
  • In another book they used "erano" to represent "it" but referred to a singular thing. I now see that other book was wrong. Thanks.
    – RandomTask
    Nov 3, 2022 at 15:47
  • Thanks, RandomTask. If you want to post that other sentence to double-check whether it was some special construction, feel free.
    – DaG
    Nov 4, 2022 at 9:49

1 Answer 1


"Erano" = "they were" (plural, more than one subject)

"Era" = "he/she/it was" (singular, only one subject)

La macchina era nuova = the car was new

Le macchine erano nuove = the cars were new

Il bambino era felice = the child was happy

I bambini erano felici = the children were happy

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