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Restare and rimanere: Italian grammar lesson 112

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Restare and rimanere in Italian

In this lesson we will look at the Italian verbs restare and rimanere. 

These two verbs have a very similar meaning, and they can often be used interchangeably. They both mean “to remain / be left / stay“.

Let’s have a look at some examples in context:

Sono rimasta a casa sua fino a mezzanotte.

I stayed / remained at his place until midnight

Resta solo un biscotto, li ha mangiati tutti Michele.

There is only one biscuit left, Michele ate them all.

As we just mentioned, restare and rimanere are synonyms most of the time.

However, there is a slight difference between the two: restare is mostly used to talk about a place, while rimanere is more about time.

Do not worry at all about this slight shade of meaning though, as even native speakers sometimes can’t tell the difference between the two, and in spoken language, they’ve practically always synonyms.

Often, people choose one or the other based on personal preference, style or phonetics (how it sounds).

Restare and rimanere: conjugation

restare italian

Here is the conjugation of the two verbs in the present tense:


io rimango
tu rimani
lui / lei rimane
noi rimaniamo
voi rimanete
loro rimangono


io resto
tu resti
lui / lei resta
noi restiamo
voi restate
loro restano

If you want to form coumpound tenses, you will need to learn the past participle of these verbs:

  • rimanere – rimasto, rimasta, rimasti, rimaste
  • restare – restato, restata, restati, restate

Both verbs take the verb essere (to be) to form compound tenses.

Here, for example, is the passato prossimo:

io sono rimasto/a sono restato/a
tu sei rimasto/a sei restato/a
lui/lei è rimasto/a è restato/a
noi siamo rimasti/e siamo restati/e
voi siete rimasti/e siete restati/e
loro sono rimasti/e sono restati/e

Rimanere and restare: How to use

restarci male italian

Now that we know how to conjugate these verbs, let’s have a more detailed look at when and how to use them.

Restare and rimanere can be used to:

  • Talk about staying or remaining in a place:

Sono rimasta a casa tutto il giorno.

I stayed home all day.

Resti qui a pranzo?

Will you stay for lunch?

  • Talk about a situation/state staying the same over time:

Siamo rimaste amiche.

We remained friends.

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La situazione resta incerta.

The situation remains uncertain.

  • Talk about something “left“:

Mi restano solo 10 euro nel portafoglio.

I only have 10 euros left in my wallet.

Sono rimasti solo due partecipanti.

There are only two contestants left.

Rimanere and restare: common expressions

disappointed in italian

And here are some common colloquial expressions with the verbs rimanere and restare. I hope you find them useful!

rimanerci/restarci male

to be disappointed

rimanere/restare d’accordo

to have agreed on something

rimanerci/restarci di sasso (di stucco)

to be stunned

restare/rimanere a bocca asciutta

to be left high and dry

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