Video:Learn Spanish: Differences Between Ser and Estarwith Milo De Prieto
It can be difficult to distinguish between ser and estar, the two forms of the verb "to be" in Spanish. Here are tips for the differences between ser and estar, and tips on when to use each.See Transcript
Transcript:Learn Spanish: Differences Between Ser and Estar
Hola, I'm Milo for About.com and today we're talking about some differences between ser and estar, the two Spanish "to be" verbs. The idea of having two words for the most basic of verbs can be confusing. But with some practice you will soon be navigating the difference effortlessly.
Main Difference Between Ser and Estar Is Permanent Versus Temporary
The main basic difference is that estar is for temporary status and location while ser is for permanent being. Here is a typical example: ¿Cómo esta Marcelo? / ¿Cómo es Marcelo?
The first sentence is asking how Marcelo is doing. The second is asking what is he like. Notice the difference between temporary and permanent status.
Differences Between Ser and Estar for Location
Regarding location, you use ser to talk about where an event is taking place, but estar for where something is. La fiesta es en mi casa. The party is at my house. Mi casa está en calle Aribau. My house is on Aribau Street.
Obviously, you'll use estar more than ser when discussing location.
Differences Between Ser and Estar for Characteristics
Think that you use ser for permanent characteristics and estar for temporary conditions:
Guillermo está enfermo. Guillermo is sick.
Guillermo es alto. Guillermo is tall.
Differences Between Ser and Estar Can Change the Meaning of Sentences
To further underline the difference, see how changing the verb can change the meaning of the sentence: Estoy nervioso. / Soy nervioso.
The first one says that you are nervous right now about something. The second says that you are a nervous person. This construction applies to many adjectives, so be aware when you mean something as an inherent characteristic or are merely talking about a condition.
Estoy frío. I am cold.
Soy frío. I'm a cold person.
As you continuing practicing and immersing yourself in the language, the uses of ser and estar will become second nature to you. For more information on Spanish, check us out at About.com.