Italian Language Blog

Does It Suit Me – Does It Fit Me? Posted by on Mar 21, 2016 in Grammar

Here’s a little point of grammar that can easily trip up the unwary:

In Italian, when we talk about things fitting, we usually use the form starci (from the verb stare = to be/stay/remain and ci = there). Let’s take a look at some examples:

Mi puoi mettere questa valigia in bagagliaio? – Purtroppo non ci sta!
Can you put this suitcase in the trunk? – Unfortunately it doesn’t fit!

Ci sta la verdura in frigo? – Non, non c’è spazio!
Will the greens fit in the fridge – No, there’s no space!

Non ti preoccupare, le scarpe ci stanno facilmente tutte in quel armadio
Don’t worry, all the shoes will easily fit in that wardrobe

Venite con noi alla spiaggia? – Ma come ci stiamo tutti e otto nella cinquecento?!
Are you coming to the beach with us? – But how will all eight of us fit in the cinquecento?! (FIAT 500)

carabinieri barzelletta

So far so good!

But then you find ourself in the negozio di calzature (shoe shop) trying on a pair of lovely Italian shoes and you want to say to the commessa (shop assistant): “unfortunately these shoes don’t fit”. What would you say?

Well, knowing the rule that stare with ci can mean ‘to fit’, it would seem logical to say something like “purtroppo queste scarpe non ci stanno”, or perhaps “purtroppo queste scarpe non mi stanno” (don’t fit me), wouldn’t it?

But unfortunately, dear reader, in this particular case a different rule applies!

Stare vs Andare When Talking About Clothing

stare (sta/stanno) = to suit
andare (va/vanno) = to fit

So how do we say: “unfortunately these shoes don’t fit (me)”? Answer: “Purtroppo queste scarpe non mi vanno

Let’s see a few more examples:

Come ti va la giacca? – Mi va benissimo!
How does the jacket fit you? It fits me really well!

Cosa pensi, mi vanno questi pantaloni? No, sono troppo larghi sul sedere
What do you think, do these trousers fit me? No they’re too baggy on your bottom

Now let’s see what happens when we rewrite the above examples using the verb stare instead of andare:

Come ti sta la giacca? – Mi sta benissimo!
How does the jacket suit you? It suits me really well!

Cosa pensi, mi stanno questi pantaloni? No sono troppo larghi sul sedere
What do you think, do these trousers suit me? No they’re too baggy on your bottom.

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  1. john coletti:

    very informative. keep it coming

  2. Tadele Asitatikie Dagne:

    It is an interesting articile. But, I am a bit confused at the end of the note. Which one is correct: Come ti sta la giacca? or come ti va la giaca?


    • Geoff:

      @Tadele Asitatikie Dagne Ciao Tadele,

      It depends what you want to say:
      come ti va la giacca = how does the jacket fit you, i.e. is it too big/too small/fits just right etc.
      ti sta bene la giacca = the jacket suits you, i.e. the jacket looks good on you.

      Hope that helps, a presto, Geoff 🙂

  3. Giovanna:

    I thank whoever did the graphic for the last photo, for guaranteeing my ‘laughter once a day”. Cracks me up every time I look at it.

  4. Lesley:

    Excellent article, molto utile e chiaro. Grazie.

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