Stare per + infinitive: Italian grammar lesson 143


Ready to sound like a local in Italy? Dive into the nitty-gritty of expressing “about to” in Italian with the handy “stare per” + infinitive construction. Whether it’s present, past, or future, we’ve got you covered!

  • Master the Moment: Use “stare per” + infinitive when you’re on the brink of doing something. It’s like saying “any second now” in Italian. 🕒
  • Conjugate with Confidence: Get your subject and “stare” in sync, slap on “per“, and follow up with an infinitive verb. Easy peasy! 📘
  • Time Travel: Not just for the present! Use “stare per” with past or future tenses to reminisce or predict those almost moments. ⏳
  • Reflexive Verbs: Got a verb that’s all about “me, myself, and I”? Place the reflexive pronoun before “stare” or attach it to the infinitive. Flexibility is key! 🤸‍♂️
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Try out sentences like “Sto per mangiare” (I’m about to eat) or “Stava per telefonare” (He/She was about to call) to get the hang of it. 🍝📞

My thoughts

How to say to be about to in Italian?

To say that you are about to do something, or that something is about to happen in the near future, in Italian we use the structure stare per + infinitive, which is the equivalent of the English structure to be about to + verb.

This construction is very common and can be used in all kinds of contexts:

Sto per andare a correre.

I am about to go running.

Sta per piovere.

It is about to rain.

Stiamo per uscire, ci sentiamo dopo.

We are about to go out, let’s talk later.

As you can see from the examples above, to use this construction you just need to conjugate the verb stare with the subject of the action, add per, and the infinitive of a verb. Simple!

When to use stare per + infinitive?

Stare per + infinitive is used when the action described will happen very soon. It is literally about to happen, which means it will happen very soon.

This construction cannot only be used with the present tense of stare but can also be used with the past (imperfetto) and future (futuro semplice) tense of the verb.

Stavo per uscire quando ha iniziato a piovere.

I was about to go out when it started raining.

Luca stava per ordinare quando siamo arrivati.

Luca was about to order when we got there.

Starò per partire a quell’ora.

I will be about to leave at that time.

Practice with Quizlet

Here's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.

How to use stare per + infinitive with reflexive verbs?

Now that you know how to use stare per + infinitive to talk about an event that is about to happen (in the past, present or future), you might be wondering how to use this construction with reflexive verbs.

As you know, reflexive verbs come with a reflexive pronoun: mi lavo (I wash myself), ti svegli (you wake up), and si vestono (they get dressed).

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With this construction, the reflexive pronoun can either go before the verb stare or join onto the end of the infinitive verb.

Have a look at the examples below:

Mi sto per lavare. – Sto per lavarmi.

I am about to wash myself.

Ti stavi per svegliare. – Stavi per svegliarti.

You were about to wake up.

Si staranno per vestire. – Staranno per vestirsi.

They will be about to get dressed.

This construction does not work only for reflexive verbs, but for all verbs that need a pronoun.

What is "stare per" + infinitive in Italian?

In Italian, the structure "stare per" + infinitive is used to indicate that an action is about to be performed or an event is going to happen soon. This is similar to the English structure to be about to + verb.

How do you use the infinitive in Italian?

The Italian language uses a specific form of verb known as the infinitive, which is always a single word. This particular verb form is identified by its ending, which can be either –are, –ere, or –ire. Examples of such verbs include "parlare" (meaning to speak), "credere" (meaning to believe), and "finire" (meaning to finish). It is worth noting that in some cases, the final –e of the infinitive may be omitted.

Italian word of the day
Hai voglia di fare una passeggiata?
Do you feel like going for a walk?
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One Response

  1. I discovered Lesson 143. Stare per + Infinitive <— To be about to + Verb
    Sto per andare a correre.
    Sta per piovere.
    Stiamo per uscire, ci snetiamo dopo.

    This helps reinforce the use of finire per + infinitive that I'm learning about here in Lesson 200.
    Finiamo per divorciare
    Finirai per ammaltarti
    Finirai per dimenticare

    That is to say, to help me get used to not trying to use a gerund after 'per'.

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