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Difference Between Ser and Estar

What is the difference between ser and estar?

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Ser and estar can both be translated as “to be”

In Spanish, a different verb is used to express “to be” depending on whether the speaker intends to address a condition or an essential quality.

 

Subject - Estar Ser (to be)

Yo (I) - estoy - soy

Tú (You)(Informal) - estás - eres

Usted (You)(Formal) - está - es

Él/Ella(He/She) - está - es

Nosotros(as)(We) - estamos - somos

Vosotros(as)(You)(Informal) - estáis - sois

Ustedes(You)(Formal) - están - son

Ellos(as)(They) - están - son

 

ser estar in spanish verb
Estar (To Be)

Notes:

1- To address condition, use "estar". "Estar" is an irregular verb. 

e.g.

El plátano está verde - The banana is green (condition)

La sopa está caliente - The soup is hot (condition)

Ella está enferma - She is sick (condition)

 

2- If you are talking about how something is, use "estar"

e.g.

Question: ¿Cómo está él? - How is he?

Answer:    Él está enojado - He is mad

 

Note: "Estar" is used to express geographic or physical locations.

e.g.

Question: ¿Dónde estás? - Where are you?

Answer: Estoy en el trabajo.-  I’m at work

Question:¿Dónde está mi llave? - Where’s my key?

Answer: La llave está en tu cuarto - The key is in your bedroom

Tip: The one exception to this rule is that "ser" is used to tell where an event is taking place. (La fiesta es en mi casa. - The party is at my house)

 

Note: "Estar" is used with adjectives to express a state or condition (“how” something is).

Question:¿Cómo está el agua? - How’s the water?

Answer: El agua está fría. - The water is cold.

Question:¿Cómo estás tú? - How are you?

Answer: Estoy muy bien, gracias.-  I am very well, thanks.


Note: "Estar" is used with many idiomatic expressions.

estar de acuerdo- to be in agreement

estar de pie- to be standing

estar en camino- to be on the way

estar en las nubes - to be daydream

 

Note: "Estar" is used with the Progressive Tenses

Question:¿Qué estás haciendo? - What are you doing?

Answer: Estoy estudiando Español  - I am studying Spanish

 

learn spanish ser estar spanish verb
Ser (To Be)

Notes:

1- To address an essential quality, use "ser". "Ser" is also irregular.

e.g.

El plátano es verde – The banana is green (quality)

El colchón es suave - The mattress is soft (quality)

 

2- If you are talking about what something is, use "ser".

e.g.

Question: ¿Qué es ella? -What is she?

Answer: Ella es una profesora – She is a teacher

 


Note: "Ser" is used to express the hour, day, and date.

e.g.

Question:  ¿Qué hora es? - What time is it?

Answer:   Son las dos. - It’s two o’clock.


Question: ¿Qué día es hoy? - What day is today?

Answer:   Hoy es Martes. - Today’s Tuesday.


Question: ¿Cuál es la fecha de hoy?- What’s today's date?

Answer:  Es el treinta de mayo.-  It’s May 30.



Note: "Ser" is used to express place of origin.

e.g.

Question: ¿De dónde eres tú? – Where are you from?

Answer:  Soy de Colombia. - I’m from Colombia.



Note: "Ser" is used to express occupation.

Question: ¿Cuál es tu trabajo? - What is your job?

Answer: Soy ingeniero - I’m an engineer



Note: "Ser" is used to express nationality.

Question: ¿Es ella cubana? - Is she Cuban?

Answer:  Sí, ella es cubana - Yes, she’s Cuban.



Note: "Ser" is used to express religious or political affiliation.

Ellos son comunistas – They are communists

Es el gobierno Socialista - It's the Socialist government

Nosotros somos cristianos - We are christians

El sistema es Capitalista - The system is Capitalist

 


Note: "Ser" is used to express the material something is made of.

Eso es de cemento - That is (made of) cement

Las mesas son de madera - The tables are (made of) wood



Note: "Ser" is used to express possession.

Question: ¿De quién es el libro?-  Whose book is it?

Answer: Es de Carlos – It’s Carlos’s

 

Note: "Ser" is used to express the relationship of one person to another.

Question:¿Quién es ella? - Who is she?

AnswerElla es la esposa de mi tío - She is my uncle's wife

 

Note: "Ser" is used with certain impersonal expressions.

Es necesario que llegue temprano - It is necessary to arrive early

Es importante que practiques a diario - It is important that you practice daily

 

Note: "Ser" is used to tell where and when an event is taking place.

El cumpleaños es el sábado - The birthday is Saturday

El evento es el lunes en el teatro - The event is Monday at the theater

La reunión es en el trabajo - The meeting is at work

.

Note: "Ser" is used with adjectives to express inherent, or essential qualities.

María es inteligente – Maria is smart

Ustedes son muy rápidos – You (all) are very fast


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