Stare per + infinitive
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 it 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!
Stare per + infinitive: when to use
Stare per + infinitive is used when the action described will happen in the very near future. 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.
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 ot 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), si vestono (they get dressed). 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.