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Difference Between Ser and Estar in Spanish

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Infographics of Difference In Verbs Ser and Estar : To be in Spanish

Ser Or Estar. What do these Words Mean?

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The question here is Ser or Estar?. Both Spanish words mean To-be in English language. So where to use what and what's the difference between ser and estar? Let’s read below.
  • Mi hermano es alto. =My brother is tall

  • Lo importante es decir la verdad. =The important thing is to tell the truth.

What is Ser and Where to Use?

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In Spanish, the verb Ser is used to  describe and express different concepts ex relations which are permanent in nature. Ser is also used as per below.

1) Ser is used to Describe Someone’s Identity or Something in Nature
2) Use Ser to Describe Exact Location of an Event
3) Use Ser to Describe Relationships
4) Use Ser to Express Ownership
5) Use Ser to Talk about or Express Time
6) Use Ser to Describe Weather of a Place
  • La casa es de Javier. =The house belongs to Javier.

  • Tres y dos son cinco. =Three and two are five.

  • Son fabricados en Espana. =They are made in Spain.

  • Las tiendas estan cerradas. =The shops are closed.

  • Como estan ustedes? =How are you?

  • Mi padre esta de viaje. =My father's on a trip.

Infographics of What is Ser and Where to Use?

Use Ser to talk about People, Animals or Objects.

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Use the verb ser to describe Exactly about People or Animals or to describe Objects. You can also use ser to describe ideas and emotions. 

1I AmYo SoyYo Estoy
I am
2You AreTú eresTu estas
You are (own age group)
3He/She/It isEl esEl esta
He/She/It is
4They AreEllos/Ellas/Uds. SonEllos estan
They are
5We AreNosotros SomosNosotros estamos
We are
6You All AreUstedes SonUstedes Estan

  • Yo soy de Escocia. =I'm from Scotland.

  • la oficina de mi padre es enorme =my fathers office is huge

  • Mi hermana es budista =My sister is is buddhist

  • Tu idea es buena =Your idea is good

  • el amor es bendecido =Love is blessed

Use Ser to Describe Exact Location of an Event

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Estar is used for refer to things which are Temporary or not in permanent state and for locations. 
Ser is also to be used to refer or talk about permanent states of things, or characteristics which are definite. 
  • Joe estudia en la tercera habitación. =Joe is studying in third room

  • La fiesta tendrá lugar en la casa de Steve. =The party will take place at Steve's house

  • El seminario tendrá lugar en el edificio de la escuela. =The seminar will happen in the school building

  • El matrimonio es en el salón principal =The marriage is in the main hall

Use Ser to Describe Relationships

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Ser is used to Talk about your relations with someone ie your family, Friends. You can use Ser to describe how close you are to someone by talking or expressing a relationship. Ex Brother, Grandmother, Father, Son, Sister in Law, Nephew. 
  • Evan es mi hijo =Evan is my Son

  • Jessica es mi cuñada =Jessica is my sister in law

  • Joseph es mi bisabuelo =Joseph is my great grandfather

  • Mylo es mi hermano =Mylo is my brother

Use Ser to Express Ownership

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Ser is used to express ownership of an object or things. You can use Ser to talk about things you own or things that belong to you. You also need to refer to  Spanish Preposition De. 
  • Estos son mis zapatos =These are my shoes

  • este es mi itinerario de viaje =This is my travel itinerary

  • esos autos debajo para ti =Those cars below to you

  • esta es su casa =This is their house

  • Ese es el Mac Book Pro de mi hermano =That is my brother's Mac Book Pro

Use Ser to Express Time

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Ser is used to express events happened at exact time. Ex My lunch is at 2 PM Today.  You have to be aware of the fact for using “es” Vs “son”. Use “es” when you talk about one o’clock however “son” is used to talk about the hours from two to twelve.
  • Son las once de la mañana =Its eleven in the morning

  • Son las nueve de la noche =It's nine in the evening

  • Son las tres y media. =It's half past three. (To say what time it is or what the date is)

  • Todavía no son las tres de la tarde =Its still not three in the afternoon

  • ¿Qué hora es? =What time is it?

Use Ser to Describe Permanent Weather of a Place

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Ser is used to talk about permanent things ex London is a cold place. Es is used here meaning 'It Is'. Its hot in Dubai.
  • India es un país cálido =India is a warm country

  • Noruega es un pais frio =Norway is a cold country

  • Rusia está helada en invierno =Russia is freezing in winter

  • Londres es conocido por ser un lugar muy frío =London is known to be a very cold place

What is Estar and Where to Use it?

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In Spanish Language, Estar is used to describe Someone's Mood or Feeling's, Someone's health, A Particular location, An ongoing actions, Or particular opinion in terms of taste or someone's appearance.
Please review Examples below:

  • Estar de vacaciones. =To be on holiday.

  • Estas de vacaciones? =Are you on holiday?

  • ¿Estás bien? =Are you well?

Infographics of What is Estar and Where to Use it?

Use Estar to Express Feeling's, Mood or Health

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Use Estar to talk about your feelings and mood at a particular moment. Estar is also used to express health or feelings of a person at a given time. 
  • Es joven/viejo. =He's young/old.

  • Que guapa estas con esta vestido! =How pretty you look in that dress!

  • Estamos todos bien. =We're all well.

  • Marta es muy joven. =Marta is very young (Use ser to talk about permanent qualities)

  • Es delgado. =He's slim.

  • Esta muy joven con ese vestido. =She looks very young in that dress(Use Estar to talk about temporary state or qualities)

  • Estas muy delgada! =You're looking very slim!

  • Hoy estoy cansado. =I'm tired today.

  • Estoy aburrido. =I'm bored.

  • Mi hijo esta muy feliz hoy =My son is very happy today

Use Estar to Describe Ongoing Activity or Action

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Estar is used to talk about ongoing activity, action not permanent in nature. Estar describes progressive action ex Working, jumping, studying, helping etc.
  • No esta terminado. =It isn't finished.

  • Esta comiendo. =He's eating (To form continuous tenses such as the present continuous tense)

  • Estamos aprendiendo mucho. =We are learning a great deal.

  • Juan esta de pie. =Juan is standing.

  • Estar de viaje. =To be on a trip.

  • Evan está jugando hoy =Evan is playing match today

Use Estar to Talk about Food or Someone's Appearance

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Estar is also used to talk about taste or your opinion about food, or appearance. Ex you are looking beautiful this evening, or this chicken vindaloo is little spicy. 
  • El cafe esta frio. =The Coffee's cold.

  • Este plato sabe simplemente delicioso =This dish taste just lovely

Use Estar to Talk about Location

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Use Estar to talk about location of someone or something at a particular moment.
  • Madrid es la capital de Espana. =Madrid is the capital of Spain.

  • Mi mujer es de Granada. =My wife is from Granada

  • La boda sera en Madrid. =The wedding will be in Madrid.

  • Todavía estoy en la escuela =I am still in school

Use Estar to Talk about Changing Weather

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Estar is also used to talk about weather at a specific moment ex Its windy today, its snowing this afternoon.
  • se esta poniendo húmedo =it's getting humid

  • se está calentando =it's getting warmer

  • está claro ahora =It is clear now

  • aun esta lloviendo =it is still raining

  • se está poniendo frío =it's getting cold

Whats the Difference Between Ser and Estar

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Both Verbs i.e Ser and Estar can be used with past participles ex "To Be". It is recommended that you should use the past participle and Ser in passive constructions while describing an action. 

Observe the Key Point Below:

1Ser and Estar are irregular verbs. You should to learn them for correct Spanish language skill.
2Both Ser and Estar actually mean's “to be” in English, but are generally used in different context and sentences. Few examples are given  below. 
3Ser is to be used with adjectives that describe permanent qualities and/or characteristics, with nouns or pronouns suggesting you who or what somebody or something is, with time and date, and to form the passive.
4Estar is to be used to talk about a particular location, of someone's health, usually with adjectives describing a change of state, and with past participles used as adjectives to describe states.
5Estar is also used to form present continuous tenses.
6Ser and Estar can sometimes be used with the same adjectives, but the meaning changes depending on which verb is used.
7Ser and Estar are both used in a number of set phrases.

  • Sus padres son italianos. =His parents are Italian.

Why is it important to use the Verb Ser and Estar?

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For permanent qualities of things, use Ser however to describe temporary things Estar is used. If you are not sure which to use where, try thinking about very 'To Be' in the sentence. 

PronounSerEstarMeaning: to be
(yo)soyestoyI am
(tu)eresestasyou are
(el/ella/usted)esestahe/she/it is, you are
(nosotros/nosotras)somosestamoswe are
(vosotros/vosotras)soisestaisyou are
(ellos/ellas/ustedes)sonestanthey/you are

  • Ella es escocesa =She is Scottish

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