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To Be / Ser / Estar

 

The difference between verb “ser” (to be) and verb “estar” (to be) – La diferencia entre el verbo “ser” y el verbo “estar”

 

The verb ser is used for conditions or characteristics that are permanent and the verb estar is used for transitory or not permanent conditions or characteristics.

 Compare:

  • Maria es bonita (Maria is beautiful) – Maria is really beautiful, maybe since she was born

  • Maria está bonita (Maria is beautiful) – In that moment Maria is beautiful, but maybe she doesn’t look beautiful all the time.

Conjugation of the verb ser and estar  – Conjugación de los verbos ser y estar

In Spanish, the conjugation of the verb is the result of the root of the verb (stem) and a specific termination. For example, the conjugation of a verb for the person “Yo” (I) is different from “Ellos” (they). Thus, generally, the termination of the verb is enough to indicate which person the verb is related to, even when the person is omitted in a sentence.

Examples:

  • Soy feliz. (I’m happy.)
  • Eres linda. (You’re beautiful.)

Verb “ser”

 

 Singular

1

Yo

 soy

2

 Tú

 eres

3

Él / Ella / Usted

 es

 Plural

1

Nosotros / Nosotras

 somos

2

  Vosotros / Vosotras

 sois

3

 Ellos /  Ellas / Ustedes

 son

 

 

Note

  • In this website vosotros and vosotras are not going to be considered because these forms are just used in Spain.

  • Usted and ustedes are respectful and formal words used to express you, in the singular and plural forms.

Examples:

  • (yo) Soy inteligente. (I’m intelligent.)
  • Ustedes son hermosas. (You’re beautiful.)
  • (nosotros) Somos vecinos. (We are neighbors.)

 

Verb “estar”

 Singular

 1

Yo

 estoy

 2

 Tú

 estás

 3

Él / Ella / Usted

 está

 Plural

 1

Nosotros / Nosotras

 estamos

 2

  Vosotros / Vosotras

 estáis

 3

 Ellos /  Ellas / Ustedes

 están

 

Examples:

  • (yo) Estoy enojado con ella. (I’m mad at her)
  • (nosotros) estamos tristes. (We are sad.)
  • Ustedes están cansados? (Are you tired?)

 

Important Notes

1- When referring to places that a person is located, the verb “estar” must be used and when referring to a place that a person is from, the verb “ser” is used.

Compare: 

(yo) Estoy en Barcelona. (I’m in Barcelona.)  - Observe that in this example the verb estar was used

(yo) Soy de Barcelona. (I’m from Barcelona.)  - Observe that in this example the verb ser was used

 

2- For nationalities and professions use also verb ser

Compare: 

(yo) Soy dentista. (I’m dentist.)

(yo) Soy mexicana. (I’m Mexican.)