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Ser vs Estar – to be or not to be… That is always the question.

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For our first post we are going to look at these two Spanish verbs which are always confused when we learn the language. Whole books have been written about the two important Spanish verbs; both ser and estar are translated in English as to be. Ser has a more passive form and estar a more active one or, how I like to explain this is, ser is for permanent status and estar is for more impermanent things. Estar is used to describe the current state of something- how it is at that moment. Ser is used to describe the nature and characteristics of something.

The window is open – La ventana está abierta

The window is big – La ventana es grande

The first sentence indicates something that can be change (the window can be closed). The second sentence indicates something more permanent. Here are a few more examples.

My car is very small – Mi coche es muy pequeño

My car is broken – Mi coche está roto.

Pedro and Ana are Spanish – Pedro y Ana son españoles

Pedro and Ana are in England – Pedro y Ana están en Inglaterra.

I hope this post helps you to understand the differences between both. There are some exercises available on the relevant sections of this site. If you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

Estar conjugation

Ser conjugation


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