Essere (to be). Meaning and Conjugation

Essere (to be). Meaning and Conjugation

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Hello again! We continue to assist you in learning Italian grammar. Today we will talk about how to use a verb “essere”.

Among the most important verbs in the Italian language is the verb essere (to be). It is used very often and it was named as the highest frequency word in that language.
"Essere" is also an irregular verb, so if we want to use it, then we must learn all its forms. It is used in two capacities: as a linking verb and as an auxiliary verb (with avere) in the formation of complex grammatical verb forms. In this article, we will learn how to conjugate and use the verb "essere" along with some examples.


Here's a summary of its conjugation in the Present Tense:

Subject Essere (It.) To be (Eng.)
Io sono I am
Tu sei You are
Lui / Lei è He/She/It is
Noi siamo We are
Voi siete You are
Loro sono They are

Io sono italiano (I am Italian);
Tu sei studente (You are a student);
Lui è felice (He is happy);
Lei è stanca (She is tired);
Noi siamo in ritardo (We are late);
Voi siete ingegneri (You all are engineers);
Loro sono contenti (They are happy).

Usage of Essere

1. Identity: "Essere" is used for talking about who one is in terms of profession, nationalities etc.
Sono un traduttore (I am a translator);
Sei americano? (Are you American?).

2. Characteristics: The verb describes the inherent qualities or characteristics of the person or thing being described.
Lei è intelligente (She is intelligent);
Il cane è simpatico (The dog is nice).

3. Location: "Essere" means where something or somebody is located at.
La scuola è vicino al parco (The school is near the park);
Il ristorante è in centro (The restaurant is downtown).

4. Time: We use it to express the time, especially with the 24-hour clock.
Sono le nove (It's nine o'clock).

5. Feelings and States: "Essere" helps us to express feelings, emotions, or states of being.
Sono felice (I am happy);
Siamo stanchi (We're tired).

6. Existence: When we talk about the existence of somebody or something.
Ci sono molti libri nella biblioteca (There are many books in the library);
Sono problemi difficili (These are difficult problems).

7. Compound Tenses: "Essere" is also used as an auxiliary verb to make various compound tenses, such as the passato prossimo (present perfect) tense.
Sono andato/a al cinema ieri (I went to the cinema yesterday).
In this sentence, "sono andato/a" is the passato prossimo form of "essere" (io sono) combined with the past participle of the verb andare (andato/a). We will talk about it later.

Common expressions with "Essere"

Below are some common phrases using "essere" which you can use when speaking Italian:

1. Sono di... (I am from...).
Sono di Roma. (I am from Rome).

2. Sono felice / triste / arrabbiato/a (I am happy / sad / angry).
Sono felice di vederti (I am happy to see you).

3. Sono stanco/a / affamato/a (I am tired / hungry).
Sono stanco dopo il lavoro (I am tired after work).

4. Sono alto/a / basso/a (I am tall / short).
Sono alto come mio padre (I am tall like my father).

5. Sono italiano/a / francese / americano/a (I am Italian / French / American)
Sono italiano, ma mia madre è francese (I am Italian, but my mother is French).

6. Sono uno studente / un'architetto / un medico (I am a student / an architect / a doctor).
Sono uno studente di medicina (I am a medical student).

7. Sono in ritardo / in anticipo (I am late / early)
Mi dispiace, sono in ritardo alla riunione (I'm sorry, I am late for the meeting).

8. Sono qui / là (I am here / there).
Sono qui per aiutarti (I am here to help you).

9. Sono d'accordo / in disaccordo (I agree / disagree)
Sono d'accordo con la tua opinione (I agree with your opinion).


Let's summarize everything we discussed above!
You learned the verb "essere" as well as examples of its use in the lesson. Pay attention to the new words and phrases you came across in the lesson:
Traduttore (translator)
Studente (student)
Architetto (architect)
Medico (doctor)
Americano (american)
Ingegneri (engineers)
Padre (father)
Madre (mother)
Cane (dog)
Parco (park)
Centro (center)
Libri (books)
Biblioteca (library)
Cinema (cinema)
Lavoro (work)
Riunione (meeting)
Opinione (opinion)
Felice (happy)
Triste (sad)
Arrabbiato (angry)
Stanco (tired)
Affamato (hungry)
Contento (happy)
Intelligente (intelligent)
Simpatico (friendly)
Difficile (difficult)
Alto (high)
Basso (short)
Ieri (yesterday)
Vicino (near)
Essere qui (to be here)
Essere di (to be from)
Essere in ritardo (to be late)
Essere in anticipo (to be early)
Essere d'accordo (to agree)
Essere in disaccordo (to disagree)

Try to remember the new words. We are waiting for you in the next lesson, where we will talk about the very important Italian verb avere (to have). Good luck!

Did you understand everything? Check yourself!

Select the correct option:

Mario italiano, di Roma.

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Marco e Luca ingegneri.

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Mia madre e mio padre americani

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Voi architetti.

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Tu felice?

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Il parco in centro?

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Noi in biblioteca.

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Lei d'accordo con te.

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Lui in ritardo per una riunione.

Select the correct option:

Mario e Maria stanchi.