Learn how to use SER and ESTAR in Spanish

When I have a beginner student in my Spanish class on Skype, I usually start with SER and ESTAR verbs. It is true that this can be a little tricky for a beginner, but if you catch it from the very first moment, you won’t be struggling with it for the rest of your life.

If you want to speak a second language properly, you need to start to think in that language and to do so, you need to understand how people think in that language. So let’s look at something about SER.

Ser is used to express the unchanging characteristics of a person, place or thing.

Whereas estar is used to describe changing aspects of a person, place or thing.

For instance, when you introduce yourself in Spanish, you say

Hola soy (Nombre), estoy encantada de conocerte

So you use SER for your name because that is a permanent characteristic of you and you use ESTAR to say pleased to meet you because you are pleased right now, but your mood could easily change. This use of ser can be thought as identification.

We also use SER for possessions, because ownership is an important description of a thing. For example:

Esa es mi casa

Well, now the economy says that a house’s owner may change frequently, but the language developed many years ago, when the market wasn’t important. For a thing, its owner is an essential characteristic.

We use ser for the time, the date and for events. This is because the time, the date and the event happens in a moment and don’t change until the moment itself has changed.

Hoy es jueves

And it is impossible for Thursday to be another day. However if you put a persona as the subject, then you could use estar.

Estamos a jueves

An informal way to say the day, but the important thing is that in this statement we are on Thursday and we can change to Friday so, estar is required.

And of course we use ser for definitions because a definition explains the essence of a concept.

Do you want to learn more? Try my Spanish lessons by Skype.

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