The Italian phrase Spero che tu stia bene (I hope you are well) is useful whenever you wish to show concern for another person’s well being. It tends to be used in written communication such as letters, emails and texts rather than in speech just like the English equivalent.
Let’s take a quick look at the various components that make up this phrase:
Spero che tu stia bene.
I hope you are well.
- Spero is the first person singular present of the verb sperare (to hope). You could also say io spero (quite literally I hope) but because the conjugated verb form already tells us who the subject is, it isn’t necessary to include the subject pronoun io ( I ).
- Che (that) functions as a conjunction that connects spero to the clause tu stia bene.
- Tu is the second person singular informal subject pronoun, otherwise known as the informal ‘you‘. It is used with people you know well such as friends and family members.
- Stia is the subjunctive equivalent of stai (the second person informal singular of stare ‘to be / to stay‘). The subjunctive mood is required in clauses introduced by the conjunction che when verbs that indicate uncertainty (in this case sperare) are in the main clause.
Spero che (I hope that) + tu stai bene (you are well). = Spero che tu stia bene.
- Bene is the Italian word for well, fine or okay.
When talking to someone with whom you have a more formal relationship, such as your boss, or someone you don’t know very well, such as a shop assistant, it is more courteous to address them with the subject pronoun Lei (you – formal) rather than tu.
Spero che Lei stia bene.
I hope you (formal) are well.
Stia also happens to be the subjunctive equivalent of sta (second person formal singular of stare).
Spero che (I hope that) + Lei sta bene (you are well).
= Spero che Lei stia bene.
Finally when addressing two or more people, you would use the personal pronoun voi (you or all of you) and stiate, the subjunctive equivalent of state (second person plural of stare).
Spero che voi stiate bene.
I hope (all of) you are well.
Spero che (I hope that) + voi state bene (you are well).
= Spero che voi stiate bene.
Note that Italians will often exclude the subject pronoun voi because stiate already tells us exactly who the subject is. Since both tu and Lei take stia as their conjugated verb, it is best to include them in the sentence so as to avoid confusion, unless it is very clear from the conversation who you’re referring to.
✅ Spero che tu stia bene. // ❌ Spero che stia bene.
✅ Spero che Lei stia bene. // ❌ Spero che stia bene.
✅ Spero che voi stiate bene. // ✅ Spero che stiate bene.