Spanish Grammar: The Verbs [SER] vs. [ESTAR]

Spanish Grammar: The Verbs SER vs. ESTAR

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Spanish Grammar: The Verbs [SER] vs. [ESTAR]
la gramática española: los verbos [ser] vs. [estar]  

  • The verbs [SER] and [ESTAR] mean to be. They are irregular verbs.
  • Identify differences and utilize [SER] and [ESTAR] correctly.


60-Second Spanish Grammar Lesson


First, let’s review the different situations that we can use SER and ESTAR.  

Many of you may think that it’s easy. SER are “permanent” things, and ESTAR are “temporary” things. While this is correct in a couple of cases, it really isn’t correct for a bunch of others. This method of teaching has been long since abandoned for others that include all of the different situations where SER and ESTAR are really used.

There are many different kinds of acronyms to help us learn SER, but many subdivide the categories down into different ways. Ultimately, here is what all of the acronyms have in common.

Origin: Telling people where you are from.

Yo SOY de los estados unidos.
I am from the United States.

El ES de México.
He is from Mexico.

Nationalities: Identifying your nationality.

¿Tú ERES estadounidense?
Are you an “united-statesian”?

No, yo SOY alemán.
No, I am German.

Descriptions: Describing characteristics of people, places, and things.

Mi amiga ES alta y inteligente.
My friend (fem.) is tall and intelligent.

Ellos SON muy tontos.
They are very silly (dumb).

Time: Telling time.

ES la una y media de la tarde.
It is one-thirty in the afternoon.

SON las nueve de la noche.
It is nine at night.

Possession: Indicating ownership (with ser + de).

El libro ES DE mi amigo.
The book is of my friend. (My friend’s book.)

Occupation: Identifying the professions, titles, and ranks of different people.

Ellos SON profesores.
They are professors.

Nosotros SOMOS estudiantes.
We are students.

This one is easier. Remember this, we all need H.E.L.P. with ESTAR.

Health: Expressing your state of physical/mental health.

Yo ESTOY enfermo.
I am sick.

Ellos ESTÁN de buen salud.
They are in good health.

Emotion: Expressing your current state of mind/body.

¡ESTOY enojado!
I am mad!

ESTOY de buen humor.
I am in a good mood.

El ESTÁ avergonzado.
He is embarrased.

Location: Describing where things are located.

La tienda ESTÁ enfrente de la plaza.
The store is in front of the plaza.

El hospital ESTÁ al lado de las oficinas.
The hospital is to the side of the offices.

Nosotros ESTAMOS detrás del cine.
We are located behind the cinema.

Present Progressive: The Present Progressive Tense (-ing).

Yo ESTOY estudiando.
I am studying.

El ESTÁ corriendo.
He is running.

Ella ESTÁ leyendo.
She is reading.

Nosotros ESTAMOS viajando.
We are traveling.

Remember, it is easiest to remember each of the cases where SER and ESTAR are used rather than decide the “permanent” vs. “temporary” (which can be confusing at times…)


¿De dónde es usted?
Where are you from?

Yo soy de los Estados Unidos.
I am from the United States.

¿Sus amigos son alemanes?
Are your friends German?

No, mis amigos no son alemanes.
No, my friends are not German.

Mi hermana es alta y bonita.
My sister is tall and pretty.

Mi perro es cómico.
My dog is funny.

¿Cómo está usted?
How are you?

Yo estoy muy bien, gracias.
I am very well, thanks!

¿Cómo se siente, estás enfermo?
How do you feel, are you sick?

No estoy bien, yo estoy enfermo.
I am not well, I am sick.

¿Está de buen humor hoy?
Are you in a good mood today?

¡Si, estoy de muy bien humor hoy!
Yes, I am in a very good mood today!

¿Está enojado su amigo?
Is your friend upset?

No, el no está enojado, está pensando.
No, he’s not mad, he’s thinking.



Quizlet Activities – The Verb [SER] – Basics

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Quizlet Activities – The Verb [ESTAR] – Basics

  • Direct Link: []
  • Click on the top right-hand corner for Options.
  • Click on the bottom right-hand corner to change Study Mode