Lesson 5 – Where are you from? Another Use of Ser

You have previously learned how to use the verb Ser to describe people, places and things, and also how to ask how or what someone, something or some place is like.

Another use for the Spanish verb Ser is to describe where someone or something is from.

Note: We’re not talking about someone or something’s current physical location (in which case you’d use the verb Estar), rather where someone or something is from – the origin.

For example: Where are you from? I’m from Buenos Aires.
In Spanish this would be:

¿De dónde eres tú? (Where are you from?)
Soy de Buenos Aires.
(I am from Buenos Aires)

The literal translation is “From where are you?,” the “de” meaning “from.” (note: “de” means “of” also).

Now when you meet someone for the first time, you can ask them where they are from. This is a really great question because Spanish is spoken in so many countries. Therefore, it makes for a great icebreaker to find out where they are from.

Many people make the mistake of using the verb Estar (also means: to be) to describe where they are from. This mistake happens because in Spanish, Estar is used to describe location. However, don’t fall for this simple trap — where you are from, your origination, is something permanent and cannot change, and therefore, falls under Ser, not Estar.