We use ser to explain:
- Somebody or one thing’s nature or identification
- Time and occasions
We use estar to explain:
- Somebody or one thing’s short-term state
- Somebody or one thing’s location
Longer, extra thorough reply:
Ser or estar: to be or… to be?
In case you have been studying Spanish for a while, you’ll know that understanding when to make use of ser and when to make use of estar will be actually difficult.
Very similar to the distinction between Spanish prepositions por and para, at first utilizing them accurately would possibly really feel like a wrestle. However the extra publicity and dialog apply you get, the extra it’s going to grow to be second nature to you.
Why are these 2 Spanish verbs so difficult?
Each verbs ser and estar imply “to be”, however there’s extra to it than that. The which means of a sentence can change, relying on which verb you utilize.
Let me clarify with an instance.
Mistakenly telling somebody, as an illustration, that estás aburrido (you’re bored) as an alternative of eres aburrido (you’re boring) may have socially catastrophic penalties!
Typically, the foundations for utilizing ser and estar will be troublesome to identify. However don’t fear, I’m right here to assist.
Ser and estar in motion: 4 golden guidelines
Now, I’m not going to offer you a boring, lengthy listing of guidelines to memorise (I’m picturing you yawning on the very prospect!).
As a substitute, I’m supplying you with 4 golden guidelines to information you. Observe them, and also you’ll perceive all the things there may be to find out about these two tough verbs!
Severely in want of assist, however not a lot of a reader?
Busuu’s app affords an internet Spanish course with tons of enjoyable, interactive methods to become familiar with the Spanish verbs ser and estar.
1. Use ser to explain somebody’s or one thing’s nature or identification
Ser describes your intrinsic traits, or your private identification – take into consideration each single attribute that shapes a part of who you’re.
These traits embrace somebody’s:
Use ser to explain what somebody or one thing appears to be like like, or what individuals are like – i.e., their persona traits.
|Carolina es una chica muy guapa y además es súper simpática.|
|Carolina is a really fairly lady and she or he’s additionally very good.|
You can even use ser to explain the place you’re from and your nationality.
|Yo soy de Argentina, pero mi padre es chileno.|
|I’m from Argentina, however my father is Chilean.|
A job can be a part of your identification – who you’re. Your career is the neighborhood you belong to – a life-style you establish with.
|Soy profesora de español.|
|I’m a Spanish instructor.|
2. Use estar to speak about about somebody’s or one thing’s state
Estar describes short-term states – how you’re feeling. It refers to one thing you expertise, the precise reverse of your nature or identification.
Let’s take a look at this instance:
|Estoy muy cansado porque he trabajado todo el día sin parar.|
|I’m very drained as a result of I’ve been working continuous all day.|
See: I’m describing how I’m feeling after working round like a headless hen at work.
On this case, I’m utilizing estar slightly than ser as a result of I’m describing my present state. I haven’t bought continual fatigue – it’s not a part of my fastened identification. I’m simply drained as a result of, at this second in time, I’m feeling overworked.
Undecided you get the distinction between utilizing ser for identification, and estar for state?
It’s a difficult one, we all know. Click on right here to skip to our part on identification (ser) versus state (estar).
3. Use ser to speak about time and occasions
Whether or not you’re asking what time it’s, telling somebody what day or the month you’re in, or speaking about one thing that’s going down, it’ll be time (see what I did there?!) to make use of ser.
Right here’s an instance involving time:
|Mi cumpleaños es en octubre.|
|My birthday is in October.|
Right here’s one other – this time, when somebody tells somebody the place an occasion is going on.
|El concierto es en el auditorio.|
|The live performance is within the auditorium.|
4. Use estar to speak about somebody’s or one thing’s location
When describing the place somebody or one thing is, you additionally use estar.
|Juan está en casa.|
|Juan is at house.|
Identification (ser) vs state (estar): a more in-depth look
4 golden guidelines coated. Nice!
Now, let’s discuss specifics. Keep in mind how I stated that sentences can have fully totally different meanings, relying on whether or not you utilize ser or estar?
Effectively, that is significantly true in terms of expressing somebody or one thing’s identification, versus somebody or one thing’s short-term state.
Listed below are three examples of situations the place, if you happen to decide the unsuitable verb, issues can get misplaced in translation.
1. Ser aburrido (to be boring) vs. estar aburrido (to be bored)
Within the ser instance, you’re describing somebody’s persona. Strive to not take it personally, Alberto!
|Alberto es aburrido.|
|Alberto is boring.|
In the meantime within the estar instance, you’re speaking about Alberto’s temper – how he’s feeling at a selected second in time.
|Alberto está aburrido.|
|Alberto is bored.|
2. Ser listo (to be intelligent) vs. Estar listo (to be prepared)
Right here, you’re saying that Alicia is an clever particular person. Her intelligence is a part of her identification.
|Alicia es muy lista.|
|Alicia could be very intelligent.|
But it surely’s a distinct story with the verb estar. On this instance, you’re describing Alicia’s state.
|Alicia está lista.|
|Alicia is prepared.|
3. Ser guapo (to be good wanting) vs. estar guapo (to look good)
Utilizing the verb ser right here would possibly make you blush – you’re being instructed that you just’re a lovely human being. That’s not one thing you’ll be able to change – within the phrases of Girl Gaga, you’re born this fashion!
|¡Qué guapo eres!|
|You might be excellent wanting!|
Utilizing the verb estar right here remains to be trigger so that you can blush – however the praise is extra particular to the second. Right here, you’re being instructed that you just look significantly good within the shirt you’re carrying.
|¡Qué guapo estás con esa camisa!|
|You look so good in that shirt!|
To sum up
It sounds fairly easy, proper? In fact, when you’ve bought your head round all the things on this submit, it truly is!
Discovered so much from this submit?
Have extra Spanish grammar and tough language ideas defined on Busuu, the award-winning language-learning app.