Ser vs Estar – Part 1

This lesson is about the use of Ser vs Estar, one of the most important subjects to review when learning Spanish for beginners.

Let’s get started.

  

 You may also watch this on youtube over here: 

Ser vs Estar

 

The use of Ser vs Estar is sometimes regarded as a

confusing subject when learning Spanish, but ser vs

estar rules are relatively simple and used every day

in conversational Spanish.

 

 

Knowing when to use  Ser and Estar is simpler than it

looks, both mean “to be” but they are used in different

situations, let’s look at some examples and the

Ser vs Estar rules.

 

For example,

If you want to say: “el es hombre” – “he is a man”

 

 

If you want to say: “el está borracho” – “he is drunk”

 

 

But when should we use them?

How do we know which one to use?

 

Ser vs Estar practice – The verb Ser:

 

Let’s look at some examples with the verb Ser,

pay close attention to the underlined words and

try to notice the patterns:

 

 

Ser vs Estar – Example 1

“La manzana es roja” – “the apple is red”

 

 

Image Credit: Roy on Flickr

 

“La manzana es verde” – “the apple is green”

 

 

Image Credit: Selma Broeder on Flickr

 

 

Ser vs Estar – Example 2

“El gato es blanco” – “the cat is white”

 

 

“El gato es negro” – the cat is black

 

 

 

Ser vs Estar – Example 3

El perro es grande – the dog is big

 

El perro es pequeño – the dog is small

 

The verb Ser is used to talk about permanent or essential characteristics of something. It is used to talk about what something is.

 

Let’s look back at one of the examples we just mentioned:

El perro es grande – the dog is big

 

El perro es pequeño – the dog is small

 

 

The size of a dog is an essential characteristic of

the animal. A dog does not wake up in the morning

being small, then gets big in the afternoon and small

again at night. It is either big or small.

 

 

Ser vs Estar practice – The verb Estar:

Let’s look at some examples with the verb Estar,

pay close attention to the underlined words

and try to notice the patterns:

 

 

Ser vs Estar – Example 4

“La manzana está buena” – “the apple is good”

Image Credit: Roy on Flickr

 

 

“La manzana está mala” – “the apple is bad”

 

Image Credit: ashleigh290 on Flickr

 

 

Ser vs Estar – Example 5

“El gato está sobre la mesa” – “the cat is on the table”

“El gato está bajo la mesa” – “the cat is under the table”

 

 

 

Ser vs Estar – Example 6

“El perro está corriendo” – “the dog is running”

 

 

“El perro está durmiendo” – “the dog is sleeping”

 

 

The verb Estar is used to talk about non-permanent

or non-essential characteristics of something. It is used

to talk about how or where something is.

 

 

Let’s look at another example:

El es aburido – he is boring 

(what he is, a boring person)

 

El está aburido – he is bored

(how he currently is,

hey is currently bored)

 

 

How do I remember which verb to use?

Using mental associations is a great way to learn new

things by leveraging the ones you already know.

One associationI have found to be very useful in relation

to the subject of Ser and Estar is the phonetic similarity

between the verb Estar and the word for those shiny

celestial bodies, Stars.

 

A star does not stay still during the night, they move, 

they do not hold a permanent position in the sky

due to Earth’s rotation.

 

So, next time you are unsure of which verb you should

use, between Ser vs Estar; just think of a star in the sky,

ESTAR in the sky, and how it has a non-permanent

place during the night, that will help you remember.

 

 

Would you like to learn more?

You may review this chart about when to use Ser

and when to use Estar: HERE

 

Now let’s look at some final examples of

Ser vs Estar:

“La manzana es roja” – “the apple is red”

 

Image Credit: Roy on Flickr

 

 

“La manzana está mala” – “the apple is bad”

Image Credit: ashleigh290 on Flickr

 

 

“El gato es blanco” – “the cat is white”

 

 

“El gato está durmiendo” – “the cat is sleeping ”

 

 

“El perro es pequeño” – “the dog is small”

 

 

“El perro está descansando” – “the dog is resting”

 

 

The use of Ser vs Estar is a very important subject when

learning Spanish for beginners, take the time to practice

until it comes out naturally; this is one of the most useful

subjects in conversational Spanish that is used every day.

 

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Do you have questions?

Let us know in the comments section below,

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7 thoughts on “Ser vs Estar – Part 1”

    1. “Santos” means “holy” (in plural) or “saints”.

      Let us know if you have more questions,

      Thanks for visiting! =)

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