Ser vs Estar

Uses of Ser General Ser Rule Ser is used to classify and identify permanent or lasting attributes. If the general rule isn? t specific enough for you, think of the acronym DOCTOR, which stands for Description, Occupation, Characteristic, Time, Origin, and Relationship. 1. Description For description, think of what you would say if someone asked you “What? s he like? ” These are the essential qualities that define a person and probably won? t change. They can be a name or a physical description. •         Yo soy Raul. (I am Raul. ) •         Yo soy alta, morena, y delgada. I am tall, dark-skinned, and thin. ) •         Andres es catolico. (Andres is Catholic. ) 2. Occupation Occupations are seen as part of who you are. They describe one aspect of your identity. •         Soy profesora del espanol. (I am a Spanish teacher. ) •         Ellos son estudiantes. (They are students. ) •         Mi padre era jardinero. (My father was a gardener. ) No Indefinite Articles Notice that the indefinite articles un, una, unos, and unas are omitted when describing an occupation after the verb ser. 3. Characteristic Characteristics are personality descriptions of a person.

They also answer the question “What? s he like? ” •         Amalia es inteligente, atrevida, y amable. (Amalia is intelligente, daring, and friendly. ) •         Mi esposo es romantico y carinoso. (My husband is romantic and caring. ) 4. Time Time includes days, dates, and hours. For hours, use es for one o? clock and son for all other hours. •         Hoy es miercoloes. (Today is Wednesday. ) •         Ayer fue mi cumpleanos. (Yesterday was my birthday. ) •         Ahora es la una y media. (Right now it? s one thirty. ) •         Son las cinco y veintecinco. (It? s five twenty five. 5. Origin As the place a person is from or the material something is made from is not going to change we use ser for origin. •         Celia es de Espana. (Celia is from Spain. ) •         Adela es peruana. (Adela is Peruvian. ) •         Mi anillo es de oro. (My ring is gold. ) 6. Relationship Even after someone dies or someone breaks up, relationships are described using ser. •         Lynne es mi madre. (Lynne is my mother. ) •         Marcos es mi ex-novio. (Marcos is my ex-boyfriend. ) Uses of Estar General Estar Rule Estar is used to indicate states of being and locations.

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If the general rule doesn? t suffice, think of the acronym PLACE, which stands for Position, Location, Action, Condition, and Emotion. 1. Position Position is the physical position or posture a person or thing is in. •         Mi abuela esta sentada. (My grandmother is sitting down/seated. ) •         Yo estaba acostada cuando me llamaste. (I was lying down when you called me. ) 2. Location The location of someone or something describes where it is permanently, temporarily, actually, or conceptually. •         El bano esta a la derecha de la sala. (The bathroom is to the right of the living room. •         Estamos en el cafe ahora y estaremos en el cine en 20 minutos. (We are at the cafe right now              and we will be at the movie theatre in 20 minutes. ) •         Mi abuelo esta en una nube. (My grandfather is out of it/lost. ) Exception for Parties This is a big one: The location of an event (party, game, meeting, etc. ) is described using SER. Not ESTAR! •         La fiesta es en mi casa. (The party is at my house. ) •         El juego de futbol es en el Speck. 3. Action Estar is used to describe an ongoing action using the present progressive tense. •         Estoy lavando los platos sucios. I am washing the dirty dishes. ) •         Estamos leyendo los periodicos. (We are reading the newspapers. ) 4. Condition Physical and mental conditions are described using estar. •         Estoy tan cansada esta manana. (I am so tired this morning. ) •         Mis ninos estan enfermos hoy. (My children are sick today. ) •         Mi madre esta un poca loca. (My mother is (acting) a little crazy. ) 5. Emotion How a person is feeling at a certain moment is described using estar. •         Estoy triste. (I am sad. ) Ella esta contenta porque recibio unas flores de su novio. (She is happy because she received some flowers from her boyfriend. )