Differences between “ser” and “estar” in Spanish: Part I 1

The most difficult verbs in Spanish are the well-known ser, and estar, since they don't exist in any other language. In some cases, it is easy to identify when to use them but in other occasions it is not so obvious. If you want to learn it once and for all, continue reading this post.

Usability of ser:

“Ser” is used to define a thing, its characteristics or to classify it by categorization.

“Ser” describes the characteristics of a person or an object:

  • La mujer es inteligente (the woman is intelligent)

Be careful, because there are some adjectives that change with the use of ser and estar: Alba es rica, (Alba is rich), la paella está muy rica (The paella is very good)

To know the time, date and price

  • Son las 7 de la mañana (it's 7 am)

  • Hoy es 10 de abril (Today is 7th April)
  • Son 3 euros (It’s 3 euro)

Time expressions (ser + time adverb)

Es pronto, (it's soon), es tarde (it's late)

To indicate possession

  • Este libro es de María (this book is from Maria)

To indicate where we are from

  • Soy de Londres (I am from London)

To place a process in a date or in a place

  • ¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños? (When is your birthday?), ¿Dónde es la reunión? (Where is the meeting?)

To talk about the composition of a certain object

  • Este reloj es de oro (this watch is made of gold)

To identify someone, or talk about someone’s profession

  • I am a teacher ( soy una profesora)

However, if the job is temporary, we use estar.


If you liked our post don’t miss the following chapter, where we will focus on the verb “Estar”

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