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Learn Spanish: Ser vs. Estar

Learn Spanish Grammar

Spanish Pronunciation
Spanish Gender and Articles
Spanish Subject Pronouns
Spanish Verb Ser
Spanish Plural Nouns and Adjectives
Calendar in Spanish
Spanish Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers
Spanish Prepositions
Telling Time in Spanish
Spanish Verb Hay
Spanish Verbs Present Tense

Spanish Verb Ir
Spanish Verb Tener

Spanish Verb Estar
Ser
vs. Estar

Spanish Possessive Adjectives
Spanish Possessive Pronouns
Spanish Stem-Changing Verbs
Spanish Prepositions Por vs. Para
Spanish Demonstratives
Spanish Direct Object Pronouns
Spanish Indirect Object Pronoun
Direct + Indirect Object Pronouns
Spanish Verb Gustar
Weather in Spanish
Spanish Reflexive Verbs (coming soon)
Spanish Verb Acabar
Spanish Verb Volver
Spanish Past Tense - Pretérito
Spanish Informal Commands
Spanish Plural Familiar Commands
Spanish Nosotros Commands (coming soon)

Spanish Past Tense - Imperfecto
Preterit vs. Imperfect
Spanish Past Participles
Spanish Present Perfect Tense
Spanish Past Perfect Tense
Spanish Formal Commands
Spanish Subjunctive Mood
Spanish Future Tense
Spanish Conditional Tense

 

 

 

Contrasting Ser vs. Estar

 

Learn Spanish: Comparing The Spanish Verbs Ser and Estar

You previously learned about the Spanish verbs Ser and Estar, both which mean to be. In this learn Spanish grammar lesson, we compare both Spanish verbs, Ser and Estar to further distinguish when to use each one.

Here is a recap contrasting the differences.

SER

ESTAR

ORIGIN/NATIONALITY

LOCATION

To say where the subject is from.

¿ De dónde eres, Daniel?
(Where are you from, Daniel?)

Soy de Chile. Soy chileno.
(I’m from Chile. I am chilean.)

To say where the subject is.

¿ Dónde estás Daniel?
(Where are you, Daniel?)

Estoy en Argentina.
(I’m in Argentina.)

IDENTITY AND DESCRIPTION OF PEOPLE & THINGS

 

Usted es profesor y ella es arquitecta.
(You are a professor and she is an architect.)

Yo soy cátolico.
(I am catholic.)

Mi libro es grande.
( My book is big.)

 

PERSONALITY & PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

TEMPORARY CONDITIONS

Ser is used to describe the inner qualities and physical characteristics of the subject.

¿Cómo eres?
(What are you like?)

Soy alta, tranquila, simpática y atlética.
( I am tall, calm, nice and athletic.)

Estar is used to describe the condition of a person or a thing, how the subject feels, looks or appears at a given time.

¿Cómo estás hoy?
( How are you (feeling) today?)

Estoy nerviosa y cansada.
( I am nervous and tired.)

Ser and Estar when used with some adjectives experience a change in meaning

While Ser is used to describe the inner characteristic of the subject, Estar expresses the temporary condition of the subject in a given moment.

SER + Estar +
aburrido/a = to be boring aburrido/a= to be bored
buena/o = to be good buena/o = to look or taste good.
guapo/a = to be pretty/handsome guapo/a = to look pretty/handsome at a given time.

La película es aburrida.
The movie is boring.

Los muchachos están aburridos ahora.
The boys are bored now.

La leche es buena para Ud.
Milk is good for you.

La leche está muy buena hoy.
The milk tastes very good today.

Mi padre es muy guapo.
My father is very handsome.

Mi madre está muy guapa hoy
My mother looks very pretty today.