Video: Ser vs Estar

¡Hola Amigos! Learning when to use the verbs Ser and Estar in Spanish is one of the most challenging things for Spanish learners, and today I am going to make it easier for you to identify when to use each of them. Watch the video for more examples!

Ser and Estar can get really complicated to learn since they seem to follow their own rules on how and when to use each of them. The good news is that there is a very easy way to know when to use one or the other.

The main difference between these two verbs is that:

-SER is most commonly used to talk about things that exists in a way that cannot be changed or that would be quite difficult to change.

You need to use SER when talking about:

  • Nationality = Yo soy Mexicana. (I am Mexican.)
  • Physical traits = Karla es alta. (Karla is tall.)
  • People’s personalities = Enrique y Miguel son muy pesimista. (Enrique and Miguel are very pessimistic.)
  • Occupation = Mis amigas son maestras. (My friends are teachers.)

As you can see, SER usually describes things that are more permanent.

-On the other hand, ESTAR expresses a state, something that can change and/or varies from time to time.

You need to use ESTAR when talking about:

  • Emotions = Hoy estoy muy feliz. (Today I am very happy.)
  • Locations = Luis está en la biblioteca. (Luis is at the library.)
  • Weather = Hoy está un poco nublado. (Today it is a little cloudy.)
  • Temperature = Mi café está frío. (My coffee is cold.)

So, we use ESTAR for things that are usually not permanent.

Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but this is basically how SER and ESTAR work. Next time you are having a conversation in Spanish and are not sure about whether to use one or the other just stop a little and think about what you are about to say. Is that permanent? Can that change at some point? This way you will find it easier to chose between these two verbs.

Don’t forget to be patient with yourself. The best students are those who are not afraid to make mistakes, and therefore get a lot more practice in than those who remain silent. Let me know in the comments if you found this information useful. Do you have any other grammar question that you would like me to address in another video/blogpost? I love hearing from you!

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May Larios

May Larios García is a Mexican English and Spanish teacher who grew up in a small town in the state of Colima, Mexico. She graduated from the School of Foreign Languages in Colima in 2010. She has been teaching English and Spanish as a Foreign and Second Language since the age of 18. She has worked with students of all ages and hopes to be able to keep helping others learn around the world.

    May enjoys visiting new places, meeting new people, and she can't wait to show you all the awesome places where Spanish is spoken. When she is not working, you can find her in the kitchen creating vegan recipes, sharing laughs with her friends, or at the closest tiangüis or mercado looking for the freshest produce.