Lesson 7 – The Spanish Verb Estar

Now that you’ve learned the Spanish verb “ser,” which means “to be,” it’s time to learn the other Spanish verb that means “to be” — Estar.

Here are the present tense conjagations:

Yo estoy (I am)
estás (you are)
Él/Ella/Usted es (he/she is, you are)
Nosotros estamos (we are)
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes están (They/You are)

Now, let’s talk about when to use Estar.

Estar is used to express temporary moods, feelings and conditions.

For example, you already studied how to meet and greet people, in which case, you learned the phrase — ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?). As you can see, the Spanish verb Estar is used because when you ask someone how they are, it’s a temporary mood that can change. Or for example: Estoy enfermo. (I am sick). Here we have a temporary condition.

Another use for Estar is location, to indicate where someone or something or some place is. When expressing location, you will also combine Estar + en.

¿Dónde estás? (Where are you?)
Estoy en mi casa. (I am in my house).

Finally, another use of Estar is to form the present progressive. This will be covered in another lesson, but basically it is combing Estar + gerund (-ing) of another verb:

Estoy comiendo. (I am eating).

This can be tricky, because in Spanish, the present tense conjugation of a verb can be used to express what we would say in English as the present progressive. For example:
1) Como pizza. (I eat pizza.) or (I am eating pizza).

In Spanish, you only want to use the present progressive (estar + gerund of another verb) when the action is literally taking place in that moment. (Estoy llamando a mi madre. – I am calling my mother.).