You’ve got all the ‘be’s in your bonnet

by Bernard O'Shea

Romance languages

The purpose of this site is to enable you/me/us to chat up – oops, sorry, chat with, watch your prepositions, Bernardo! – the 1030 million people who speak the major Romance languages. The orange and yellow bits on the accompanying map from Wikipedia will give you some idea where most of them are. There should be a tiny, tiny dot in eastern Australia, in Sydney, to indicate me – Wikipedia has left me off the map!

Mastering the verb “to be“, needless to say, is an important step along the way because once you have done that you can then go on to say things like “I am hungry, I am thirsty, I am horny” etc etc. In some Romance languages, though, they say “I have hunger” and “I have thirst”, which is why the verb “to have” is also so important. Whether they also say “I have horniness” at this stage I have no idea, but I guess sooner or later we will find out.

In the meantime, here is a recap of the verb “to be” in the five featured Romance languages. Some of these languages have two verbs meaning “to be”, and some have more than one way of saying “you” depending on whether it is a formal or informal relationship.

French (être):

singular:  je suis;                      tu es;                  il, elle est;

plural:  nous sommes;          vous êtes;            ils, elles sont

Portuguese (ser)

singular: eu sou               tu és;                ele, ela, você é

plural:  nós somos                                  eles, elas, vocês são

Portuguese (estar)

singular: eu estou;               tu estás;               ele, ela, você está

plural: nós estamos;                                      eles, elas, vocês estão

Spanish (ser)

singular: yo soy;                   eres;                él, ella, usted es;

plural: nosotros -as  somos;      vosotros -as sois;    ellos, ellas, ustedes son

Spanish (estar)

yo estoy;                          estás;                   él, ella, usted está;

nosotros -as estamos;     vosotros -as estáis;      ellos, ellas, ustedes están

Italian (essere)

singular: io sono;                         tu sei;                    Lei, lui, lei è 

plural:  noi siamo;                      voi siete;                       loro sono 

Italian (stare, which can also mean “to stay”)

singular: io sto;                   tu stai;                 Lei, lui, lei sta; 

plural:  noi  stiamo            voi state;              loro  stanno

Romanian (a fi)

singular: eu sunt;                 tu eşti;                      el, ea este

plural: noi suntem             voi sunteţi                  ei, ele sunt

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