Differences between “ser” and “estar” in Spanish: Part II


After our last entry where we analyzed the verb “Ser”, now it is time to focus on the look-alike verb “Estar”.

Usability of estar

The verb “estar” describes a non-permanent state or situation which is perceived by the speaker. To summarize, state or situations that are liable to evolve and change are described with “estar”. In this way, if we say, ella es aburrida (she is boring) that means that this is a intrinsic characteristic of her personality , whereas if we say ella está aburrida, we want to underline that she feels bored right now.

Other uses:

  • We use estar, to talk about a location of a person, animal or object: Estoy en Sevilla (I am in Seville), la leche está en la nevera (the milk is in the fridge).

 

  • To talk about a temporary situation that is liable to evolve: Estoy enfermo (I'm ill)

 

  • To talk about activities that are happening as we speak (like present continuous in English): Estoy cantando (I am singing)

 

  • To indicate moods or situations: La habitación está sucia (The kitchen is clean)

 

  • To evaluate a process (estar + modal adverb): Matar a una persona está mal (killing a person is wrong)

 

  • To express the result of an action: La comida está lista (the food is ready)

 

Did you clear out your doubts with this post? It is highly important to understand when and why both verbs are used. Once you do so, you will have taken an enormous step with your Spanish skills. Feel free to share your questions with us!

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