The verbs "ser" and "estar" can be translated with "to be" in English. Below we explain how to use the two verbs.
In general it can be said that "ser" refers to "innate" characteristics, while "estar" is often used to talk about states or transitory properties. Beside of that, "estar" is also used to describe geographical positions.
"Ser" refers to "innate" or permanent characteristics.
For name, identity, origin, profession and religion the verb "ser" is used.
You can use "ser" for unchangeable properties, such as character and appearance.
For impersonal expressions you can use the verb "ser" in Spanish.
The place a person or a thing is from can be described with "ser".
With "ser" you can also talk about the material something is made of.
Time can refer to days, dates, years and the time of the day.
You can use "ser" to express results.
You can form the passive voice with "ser" + participle.
"Estar" is often used to talk about states or transitory properties.
The location of someone or something describes where it is permanently or transitory.
Exception: The location of an event/party is described using "ser", not "estar". Example: La fiesta es en mi casa. - The party is in my house.
You can use "estar" to express a temporary mood or state of a person.
"Estar" is also used to describe temporary and often subjective properties of objects.
"Estar" is used in many fixed idiomatic expressions.
To form ongoing actions you need "estar" + participle.
There are some adjectives that can be used with both "ser" and "estar" to form sentences. The meaning depends of the verb. In the following table you can find some examples:
|"ser" + adjective||translation||"estar"+ adjective||translation|
|ser inteligente||(to) be an intelligent person||estar inteligente||(to) be intelligent (special moment)|
|ser abierto/a||(to) be open-minded||estar abierto/a||(to) be open (e.g. door, window)|
|ser aburrido/a||(to) be boring||estar aburrido/a||(to) be bored|
|ser enfermo/a||(to) be chronically ill||estar enfermo/a||(to) be temporarily ill|
|ser bueno/a||(to) be good||estar bueno/a||(to) be attractive|
|ser cansado/a||(to) be a tiring person||estar cansado/a||(to) be tired|
|ser malo/a||(to) be bad||estar malo/a||(to) be ill|
|ser rico/a||(to) be rich||estar rico/a||(to) be tasty|
|ser viejo/a||(to) be old||estar viejo/a||(to) look old|
"Bien" and "mal" are only used in combination with "estar"! → "Está bien." - "It's okay."
In this lesson you learned how to use the verbs "ser" and "estar" correctly. Now test your knowledge in our free exercises.
Anthony, thank you for your words! I am happy to know that you are satisfied with the course and that you enjoy the lessons so much. It is a pleasure for me too! I like to witness your improvement, class after class, and I am sure that you will achieve your goal soon. Con mucho gusto!
Thank you, Danilo. It is always a pleasure having lessons with you and I have enjoyed our many conversations together. And what a joy that over time they have become easier for both of us to understand! :D
Ciao Robbie, thanks a lot for your feedback. I'm very happy you like the classes together and I'll do my best to keep them as fun and interesting as possible :-)
Hi Alba! Thank you so much for your wonderful review! I enjoyed our class too & I wish you the best of luck with all your future projects :-)
Dear Silvia, thank you very much for your feedback! It's a real pleasure to have classes with you, and I hope you find them useful!
Thanks a lot. It is understood that for any difficulty and / or misunderstanding I am at your disposal.Rina
Thank you Philippe for your beautiful words. Yours sincerely.
Dear Erik thank you so much for your great feedback !!!!!
Many thanks to you Clemence. See you! :-))))
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Thank you Sereen! Derya
Thanks Aleksandra !!
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