What does “Sto per” Mean in Italian?

What does “Stare per” Mean in Italian?

The phrase “stare per + infinitive” is used in Italian to indicate that an action is about to happen or is imminent. 

The verb stare means “to stand” or “to be,” and when it is combined with the preposition per and followed by an infinitive verb,  indicates that something is about to happen. 

For example,

  • Sto per uscire translates to “I’m about to leave”
  • Sta per piovere translates to “It’s about to rain”
  • Il film sta per cominciare translates to “the movie is about to start”

Of course, to convey the correct meaning, you must conjugate the verb stare according to the subject performing the action. It’s important to note that the infinitive form of the verb never changes in this type of sentence.

For example,

  • Noi stiamo per partire – We’re about to leave.
  • Marco e Maria stanno per arrivare – Marco e Maria are about to arrive (or they’re on their way).

Saying “I was about to” in Italian

To say “I was about to do something” in Italian, you can use the phrase stavo per + infinitive verb.

When used in the past, the verb stare is conjugated in the imperfect tense and is often used to describe a situation that occurred just before an action described in the passato prossimo.”

  • Stavo per uscire di casa, ma ha iniziato a piovere – I was about to leave, but it started to rain.
  • Stavamo per comprare casa, ma alla fine abbiamo cambiato idea – We were about to buy a house, but in the end we changed our minds.

In conclusion, stare per + infinitive is a useful pattern in Italian that can be used to indicate that something is about to happen, a change is imminent, or to give a warning. 

It’s similar to the English phrases “to be about to”, “to be on the point of” or “to beon the verge of”.

Stare + gerund

Another common use of the verb stare is in conjunction with the gerund form. 

The pattern stare + gerundio is a common construction in Italian that is used to express the idea of an action that is in progress or happening at the moment you speak.

For example, 

Sto leggendo – I’m reading [right now]

About the Author

Serena Capilli

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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Ciao, I'm Serena!

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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