When to use Ser and estar

When to use Ser and Estar: The verb ” to be” in Spanish

Many students have difficulty with the verb “to be” in Spanish. The reason for this is
that in Spanish “to be” can be expressed with two different verbs: “ser” and “estar”. So today we’re going to go through a few basic uses of “ser” and “estar” and the conjugation after which you can practise with some exercises.

Situations in which ser is used

1.Names

To introduce ourselves.

When to use ser and estar

2.Descriptions

To describe physical features and personal characteristics.

3.Occupations

This can refer to a profession or a hobby. In other words, we use “ser” to indicate how someone makes a living or spends their free time.

When to use ser and estar

4.Time

When referring to time, this includes days, dates, years and hours.

5.Origin

When stating where a person, animal or objects is from.

When to use ser and estar
La pizza es italianaThe pizza is italian
Mario es portuguésMario is Portuguese

6. Relationships

For relatives, friends, partners etc…

When to use ser and estar
Victor es mi compañero de trabajoVictor is my colleague
Lola es mi hermanaLola is my sister

To resume…

When to user ser and estar

Situations in which estar is used

1. Physical position or posture

When to use ser and estar
Juan está sentadoJuan is sitting down
Yo estoy tumbada en la camaI’m lying down on the sofa

2. Location (temporary, permanent or metaphorical)

when to use ser and estar
¿Dónde estás? Estoy en el cineWhere are you? I’m in the cinema
La farmacia está al lado de mi casaThe pharmacy is next to my house
María está en la lunaMaría is miles away, she’s got her head in the clouds

EXCEPTION: The location of events and celebrations is always described using the verb ser

La fiesta es en mi casaThe party is at my house
El concierto es en la plaza principalThe concert is in the main square

3. Actions

To describe actions happening in the present we use the structure estar+gerund.

Estoy mirando la televisión I am watching TV
Estamos hablando por teléfonoWe are talking on the phone

4. Conditions

We use “estar” to describe physical or emotional conditions or states.

When to use ser and estar
Estoy muy cansada hoyI’m very tired today
Miguel está enfermoMiguel is sick

5. Emotions

To describe how a person is feeling at a particular time.

María está muy felizMaría is very happy
Estoy un poco tristeI’m a little sad

To resume…

Ser and estar: Conjugation

Ser and estar are irregular verbs. This means that they do not follow the nice, tidy conjugations you learned in the post: How to conjugate the present tense in Spanish (regular verbs) Therefore you must memorize their various forms.

When to use ser and estar

Now that you know the uses of “ser” and “estar” have a practice with this interactive exercise

Did you enjoy this post? Would you like to learn and practise Spanish with a teacher? I can help with private online classes. Click here to find out more.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Related Post

Amparo

Amparo

¡Welcome to my Blog!​ Learn Spanish online with these free lessons. I provide lessons, exercises and much more materials and resources for learners. Check them out!​

NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to receive my news and ressources to learn Spanish in your email and get this free guide.

"MY BEST SUGGESTIONS AND TIPS TO LEARN SPANISH FASTER"

Try a free class with me and learn Spanish at your own pace

it's easy and it's free!

Deja un comentario

NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to receive my news and ressources to learn Spanish in your email and get this free guide.

"MY BEST SUGGESTIONS AND TIPS TO LEARN SPANISH FASTER"