Easy Learning Spanish

ser and estar - Easy Learning Grammar Spanish

  • In Spanish there are two irregular verbs, ser and estar, that both mean to be, although they are used very differently. In the present simple tense, they follow the patterns shown below.
PronounserestarMeaning: to be
(yo)soyestoyI am
(tú)eresestásyou are
(él/ella/usted)esestáhe/she/it is, you are
(nosotros/nosotras)somosestamoswe are
(vosotros/vosotras)soisestáisyou are
(elllos/ellas/ustedes)sonestánthey/you are
  • ser is used:
  • with an adjective when talking about a characteristic or fairly permanent quality, for example, shape, size, height, colour, material, nationality.
Mi hermano es alto.My brother is tall.
María es inteligente.María is intelligent.
Es rubia.She’s blonde.
Es muy guapa.She’s very pretty.
Es rojo.It’s red.
Es de algodón.It’s made of cotton.
Sus padres son italianos.His parents are Italian.
Es joven/viejo.He’s young/old.
Son muy ricos/pobres.They’re very rich/poor.
  • with a following noun or pronoun that tells you what someone or something is
Miguel es camarero.Miguel is a waiter.
Soy yo, Enrique.It’s me, Enrique.
Madrid es la capital de España.Madrid is the capital of Spain.
  • to say that something belongs to someone
La casa es de Javier.The house belongs to Javier.
Es mío.It’s mine.
  • to talk about where someone or something comes from
Yo soy de Escocia.I’m from Scotland.
Mi mujer es de Granada.My wife is from Granada.
  • to say what time it is or what the date is
Son las tres y media.It’s half past three.
Mañana es sábado.Tomorrow is Saturday.
  • in calculations
Tres y dos son cinco.Three and two are five.
¿Cuánto es? – Son dos euros.How much is it? It’s two euros.
  • when followed by an infinitive
Lo importante es decir la verdad.The important thing is to tell the truth.
  • to describe actions using the passive (for example they are made, it is sold)
Son fabricados en España.They are made in Spain.
  • estar is used:
  • to talk about where something or someone is
Estoy en Madrid.I’m in Madrid.
¿Dónde está Burgos?Where’s Burgos?
Está cerca de aquí.It’s near here.
  • with an adjective when there has been a change in the condition of someone or something or to suggest that there is something unexpected about them
El café está frío.The coffee’s cold.
¡Qué guapa estás con este vestido!How pretty you look in that dress!
Hoy estoy de mal humor.I’m in a bad mood today.
  • For more information on Adjectives, see Adjectives.
  • with a past participle used as an adjective, to describe the state that something is in
Las tiendas están cerradas.The shops are closed.
No está terminado.It isn’t finished.
El lavabo está ocupado.The toilet is engaged.
Está roto.It’s broken.
  • when talking about someone’s health
¿Cómo están ustedes?How are you?
Estamos todos bien.We’re all well.
  • to form continuous tenses such as the present continuous tense
Está comiendo.He’s eating.
Estamos aprendiendo mucho.We are learning a great deal.
  • Both ser and estar can be used with certain adjectives, but the meaning changes depending on which is used.
  • Use ser to talk about permanent qualities.
Marta es muy joven.Marta is very young.
Es delgado.He’s slim.
Viajar es cansado.Travelling is tiring.
La química es aburrida.Chemistry is boring.
  • Use estar to talk about temporary states or qualities.
Está muy joven con ese vestido.She looks very young in that dress.
¡Estás muy delgada!You’re looking very slim!
Hoy estoy cansado.I’m tired today.
Estoy aburrido.I’m bored.
  • ser is used with adjectives such as importante (meaning important) and imposible (meaning impossible) when the subject is it in English.
Es muy interesante.lt’s very interesting.
Es imposible.lt’s impossible.
Es fácil.It’s easy.
  • ser is used in certain set phrases.
Es igual or Es lo mismo.lt’s all the same.
Es para ti.It’s for you.
  • estar is also used in some set phrases.
estar de pieto be standing
Juan está de pie.Juan is standing.
estar de vacacionesto be on holiday
¿Estás de vacaciones?Are you on holiday?
estar de viajeto be on a trip
Mi padre está de viaje.My father’s on a trip.
estar de modato be in fashion
Las pantallas de plasma están de moda.Plasma screens are in fashion.
estar claroto be obvious
Está claro que no entiendes.It’s obvious that you don’t understand.
Grammar Extra!Both ser and estar can be used with past participles.Use ser and the past participle in passive constructions to describe an action.
Son fabricados en España.They are made in Spain.
Use estar and the past participle to describe a state.
Está terminado.It’s finished.
Key points
  • ser and estar both mean to be in English, but are used very differently.
  • ser and estar are irregular verbs. You have to learn them.
  • Use ser with adjectives describing permanent qualities or characteristics; with nouns or pronouns telling you who or what somebody or something is; with time and dates; and to form the passive.
  • Use estar to talk about location; health; with adjectives describing a change of state; and with past participles used as adjectives to describe states.
  • estar is also used to form present continuous tenses.
  • ser and estar can sometimes be used with the same adjectives, but the meaning changes depending on which verb is used.
  • ser and estar are both used in a number of set phrases.

Siehe verwandten Inhalt

NEU von Collins!
NEU von Collins!
Englische Wortlisten
Englische Wortlisten
Die letzten Wortvorschläge
Die letzten Wortvorschläge
Einfache englische Grammatik lernen
Einfache englische Grammatik lernen
COBUILD Grammar Patterns
COBUILD Grammar Patterns
Blog der Liebhaber von Wörtern
Blog der Liebhaber von Wörtern
Online Scrabble Checker
Online Scrabble Checker
The Paul Noble Method
The Paul Noble Method
Create an account and sign in to access this FREE content
Register now or login in to access