When it comes to learning Italian, “essere” (to be) is the most essential verb you’ll encounter. Not only is it the most frequently used verb in the Italian language, but it’s also an auxiliary verb, like “avere” (to have). This means that “essere” is a key component for forming different verbal tenses when combined with other verbs.

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In this article, we will explore the conjugation of “essere” in Italian, providing you with all the tenses and moods, along with practical examples to help you grasp its usage.

Present Tense

The present tense, known as “presente,” is the fundamental tense to learn in Italian. Here’s the conjugation of “essere” in the present tense:

IosonoI am
TuseiYou are
Egli/Ella (Lui/Lei)èHe/She is
NoisiamoWe are
VoisieteYou are
Essi/Esse (Loro)sonoThey are

Example sentences:

  • Sei la mia migliore amica. (You’re my best friend.)
  • Marco è proprio un bel ragazzo. (Marco really is a good-looking guy.)

Present Perfect (Passato Prossimo)

The present perfect, or “passato prossimo,” is used to describe an action in the past with ongoing relevance. Here’s the conjugation of “essere” in the present perfect tense:

Iosono stato/aI have been
Tusei stato/aYou have been
Egli/Ella (Lui/Lei)è stato/aHe/She has been
Noisiamo stati/eWe have been
Voisiete stati/eYou have been
Essi/Esse (Loro)sono stati/eThey have been

Example sentences:

  • Sono stato a Venezia tre volte. (I’ve been to Venice three times.)
  • La Sig.ra Rossi è stata la mia insegnante. (Mrs. Rossi was my teacher.)

Imperfect (Imperfetto)

The imperfect tense, or “imperfetto,” is used to describe past actions or habits. Here’s the conjugation of “essere” in the imperfect tense:

IoeroI was
TueriYou were
Egli/Ella (Lui/Lei)eraHe/She was
NoieravamoWe were
VoieravateYou were
Essi/Esse (Loro)eranoThey were

Example sentences:

  • Da bambino ero molto vivace. (As a child, I was very lively.)
  • Eravate a casa ieri? (Were you at home yesterday?)

Pluperfect (Trapassato Prossimo)

The pluperfect, or “trapassato prossimo,” is used to describe actions that occurred before a main past event. Here’s the conjugation of “essere” in the pluperfect tense:

Ioero stato/aI had been
Tueri stato/aYou had been
Egli/Ella (Lui/Lei)era stato/aHe/She had been
Noieravamo stati/eWe had been
Voieravate stati/eYou had been
Essi/Esse (Loro)erano stati/eThey had been

Example sentences:

  • Ho visitato Venezia nel 2021, ma ci ero già stato nel 2003. (I visited Venice in 2021, but I had already been there in 2003.)
  • I miei due cani erano stati maltrattati dal precedente padrone. (My two dogs had been mistreated by their previous owner.)

Past Remote (Passato Remoto)

The past remote, or “passato remoto,” is typically used in literature and less often in spoken language. Here’s the conjugation of “essere” in the past remote tense:

IofuiI was
TufostiYou were
Egli/Ella (Lui/Lei)fuHe/She was
NoifummoWe were
VoifosteYou were
Essi/Esse (Loro)furonoThey were

Example sentences:

  • Fu mio nonno a costruire questa casa. (It was my grandfather who built this house.)
  • I Romani furono feroci conquistatori. (The Romans were ferocious conquerors.)

Future Tense (Futuro Semplice)

The future tense, or “futuro,” is used to express future actions or possibilities. Here’s the conjugation of “essere” in the future tense:

IosaròI will be
TusaraiYou will be
Egli/Ella (Lui/Lei)saràHe/She will be
NoisaremoWe will be
VoisareteYou will be
Essi/Esse (Loro)sarannoThey will be

Example sentences:

  • Sarò sempre al tuo fianco. (I’ll always be on your side.)
  • Laura sarà alla tua festa? (Will Laura be at your party?)

Future Perfect (Futuro Anteriore)

The future perfect, or “futuro anteriore,” is used to describe actions that will be completed before a future point in time. Here’s the conjugation of “essere” in the future perfect tense:

Iosarò stato/aI will have been
Tusarai stato/aYou will have been
Egli/Ella (Lui/Lei)sarà stato/aHe/She will have been
Noisaremo stati/eWe will have been
Voisarete stati/eYou will have been
Essi/Esse (Loro)saranno stati/eThey will have been

Example sentences:

  • Quando sarai stato a Roma, saprai quanto è bella. (When you’ve been in Rome, you’ll know how beautiful it is.)
  • Mario non era alla festa, sarà stato impegnato. (Mario wasn’t at the party, he must have been busy.)

Conditional Tense (Condizionale)

The conditional tense is used to express actions that depend on certain conditions or desires. It has both a present and past tense.

Present Conditional

The present conditional, or “condizionale presente,” is used to express hypothetical or polite requests. Here’s the conjugation of “essere” in the present conditional:

IosareiI would be
TusarestiYou would be
Egli/Ella (Lui/Lei)sarebbeHe/She would be
NoisaremmoWe would be
VoisaresteYou would be
Essi/Esse (Loro)sarebberoThey would be

Example sentences:

  • Lo sarei disponibile, se lei me lo chiedesse. (I would be available if she asked me.)
  • Sarebbero davvero una bella coppia. (They would really be a nice couple.)

Past Conditional

The past conditional, or “condizionale passato,” is used to express hypothetical events in the past. Here’s the conjugation of “essere” in the past conditional:

Iosarei stato/aI would have been
Tusaresti stato/aYou would have been
Egli/Ella (Lui/Lei)sarebbe stato/aHe/She would have been
Noisaremmo stati/eWe would have been
Voisareste stati/eYou would have been
Essi/Esse (Loro)sarebbero stati/eThey would have been

Example sentences:

  • Saresti stata tanto buona con me, se non avessi conosciuto mia madre? (Would you have been so good to me if you hadn’t met my mother?)
  • Saremmo stati meglio in una stanza più grande. (We would have been better in a bigger room.)

Subjunctive Mood (Congiuntivo)

The subjunctive mood, or “congiuntivo,” is used to express doubt, uncertainty, possibility, invitations, or hypotheses. It includes several tenses.

Present Subjunctive

The present subjunctive is used when the main sentence is in the present tense.

Che iosia
Che tusia
Che egli/ella (Lui/Lei)sia
Che noisiamo
Che voisiate
Che essi/esse (Loro)siano

Example sentences:

  • Sono felice che tu sia qui. (I’m happy you’re here.)
  • Spero che siate felici insieme. (I hope you’re happy together.)

Past Subjunctive

The past subjunctive is used after a main sentence expressing insecurity or a hypothesis in the past.

Che iosia stato/a
Che tusia stato/a
Che egli/ella (Lui/Lei)sia stata
Che noisiamo stati/e
Che voisiate stati/e
Che essi/esse (Loro)siano stati/e

Example sentences:

  • È incredibile che sia stato tanto stupido. (I can’t believe that I’ve been that stupid.)
  • Mia mamma è contenta che siamo stati con lei tutto il weekend. (My mother is happy that we’ve been with her all weekend.)

Imperfect Subjunctive

The imperfect subjunctive is used after a main sentence expressing insecurity or a hypothesis in the past.

Che iofossi
Che tufossi
Che egli/ella (Lui/Lei)fosse
Che noifossimo
Che voifoste
Che essi/esse (Loro)fossero

Example sentences:

  • Non credevo che Palermo fosse così bella. (I didn’t think Palermo was so beautiful.)
  • Pensavate che fossi stupido? (Did you think I was stupid?)

Past Perfect Subjunctive

The past perfect subjunctive is used to describe a fact that might have happened before a past action.

Che iofossi stato/a
Che tufossi stato/a
Che egli/ella (Lui/Lei)fosse stato/a
Che noifossimo stati/e
Che voifoste stati/e
Che essi/esse (Loro)fossero stati/e

Example sentences:

  • Se fossi stato più attento, non sarei caduto. (If I had been more careful, I wouldn’t have fallen.)
  • Se voi foste stati con lei, si sarebbe divertita di più. (If you had been with her, she would have had more fun.)

Imperative Mood (Imperativo)

The imperative mood is used to give direct commands or make requests.


Example sentences:

  • Sii felice! (Be happy!)
  • Siate fieri di voi! (Be proud of yourselves!)


The gerund is used to express ongoing actions.

Pastessendo stato/aHaving been

Example sentences:

  • Essendo domenica, i negozi sono chiusi. (Being it Sunday, the shops are closed.)
  • Essendo stato due anni in Francia, parlo il francese. (Having been two years in France, I speak French.)

Learning to conjugate “essere” in Italian is a crucial step in mastering the language. With these conjugations and examples, you can confidently navigate different tenses and moods to express yourself accurately in various situations.


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