Ser and Estar…What Are Their Differences?

Ser and Estar have always been a source of angst for those learning the Spanish language…The difficulty lies in that in English, we don’t distinguish between the different forms of To Be, whereas in Spanish, we do…

So what’s the difference? Basically, Ser is used for more or less permanent states of being, whereas Estar is used for temporary states of being.  We’ll explain it more below:

Ser expresses origin (where someone is from), and a person’s occupation. It also describes inherent qualities of people and things that aren’t likely to change (expresses the norm), and is used to tell time.

Estar indicates the location of objects and people. It also expresses a temporary condition or state, such as how someone is feeling. It describes qualities that are likely to change and depart from the norm. Estar is also used to talk about the daily weather changes.

Huh? You might still be saying…Depending on your learning style, explanations and grammatical rules aren’t always the best way to learn.  That’s why we also have examples below…:

I am sick (with a fever, flu, etc, temporary)………… Yo estoy enferma/o

 

I am sick (mental illness, permanent)……………… Yo soy enferma/o

 

I am calm (permanent state)…………………………Yo soy tranquila/o

 

I am calm (for the moment)…………………………..Yo estoy tranquila/o

 

I am nervous (permanent, anxiety disorder)……….. Soy nerviosa/o

 

I am nervous (for the moment, not usually)………… Estoy nerviosa/o

 

I am crazy (permanent, mental disorder)……………Soy loca/o

 

I am crazy (temporary, not usually)…………………..Estoy loca/o

 

I am fat (permanently overweight)…………………. Soy gorda/o

 

I am fat (not usually, recently gained weight)……….Estoy gorda/o

For the more visual learners out there, we’ve also made an infographic. Please feel free to print it out, tack it up on your wall, or use it however you wish! We’ll be posting a video too, for those who also want to hear audio 😉

As always, any questions, concerns, or any other kind of feedback, please shoot us a comment below or contact us via social media! We’d love to hear from you 😉

ser and estar differences
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