Es vs. Está...Ser .vs. Estar | SpanishDict Answers
Do you #LoveSpanish? Share why for a chance to win $15,000 in scholarships from SpanishDict. Learn more!
report this ad
0 Vote

I am unsure of when to use "es" or "esta" for "is". For example mi casa es azul and la gato esta mirando el pez. In both sentences the two words mean is. I am not understanding when to use them appropriately. Thanks for your help.

8 Answers

1 Vote

Don't follow the permanent/temporary rule! It has too many loopholes and exceptions. Look a the link posted by Qfreed to read an excellent article about ser vs. estar

Also, I know this doesn't really answer your original question, but here's a small, kind of nit-picky correction:

la gato esta mirando el pez.

This sentence should be: "El gato/la gata está mirando al pez." Because word order in Spanish is flexible and the subject/object can come at the end or beginning of the sentence, the sentence "El gato/la gata está mirando el pez" could be interpreted as:

  • The cat is looking at the fish.
  • The fish is looking at the cat.

To clarify what is the object of the sentence, you add "a" before it.

0 Vote

Just type Ser v Estar in the search box. This has been asked countless times before.

0 Vote

I don't believe that your examples serve you well for what you are asking. I think that you are asking the difference between "is" when using the verb Ser (es) and when using the verb Esta (está).

Unfortunately in your 2nd example you are using Estar to form the present progressive tense so explaining why you use Estar in that situation will not answer your original question.

Ser .vs. Estar

0 Vote

Generalised rule is:

Ester usually expresses a current state of something (estoy feliz = I am happy).

Ser usually expresses a property/attribute of something, a permanent characteristic (Soy caucásica = I am caucasian).

If you are telling somebody where you are, then you'd use 'estoy', as that's just the current state of location, that will change over time.

While telling somebody you are a brunette, you'd use 'soy'... even though with dye you can change the colour of your hair, you'd consider that a concerted effort to change a property of your hair (its colour), rather than your hair colour being a resulting state of external influences (like your mood or where you are).

0 Vote

Don't follow the permanent/temporary rule! It has too many loopholes and exceptions

It's language, of course there're gonna be loopholes and exceptions, but that doesn't remove value in getting a feel for the meaning of words. An exception can only be recognised as an exception if you first understand the rule, and having a feel for meaning and remembering exceptions is far easier than having to remember each instance seperate and independant of everything else, which leave you lost of which to use if you come across a situation you've not previously memorised or have just forgotten.

When learning your first language, you don't memories is as a list of rules; you pick up on usage and get a feel for it, often being able to tell if something is right or wrong without being able to explain or understand why. The value of this shouldn't be underestimaed, or the value in being able to feel which is most likely correct and be corrected if you make a mistake over being completely in the dark because you haven't successfully memorised a particular word pattern.

Use everything at your disposal... the idea of telling somebody to /not/ use a generalisation that can yield positive result in more than half of common cases seems a bit wasteful.

0 Vote

Use everything at your disposal... the idea of telling somebody to /not/ use a generalisation that can yield positive result in more than half of common cases seems a bit wasteful.

I understand what you're saying, but the article by Lazarus explaining the uses of ser and estar provides a much more helpful and effective rule. I'm not saying that the permanent vs. temporary trick isn't helpful at the beginning of learning, but as you progress you start to notice the flaws of that "rule". I also don't believe it can yield a positive result in half of the cases, but that's just my opinion.

0 Vote

but the article by Lazarus explaining the uses of ser and estar provides a much more helpful and effective rule

Well in accordance with my "use everything at your disposal" rule, I guess I should go read that before further commenting!

0 Vote

Right I see, there seems to be a bit of a problem with the word 'temporary', take the example:

Mi abuelo está muerto ? My grandpa is dead (not exactly a temporary situation: he is not going to resucitate)

No of course death isn't a temporary attribute, but it is a temperal attribute; it changed at a free-determinate place in time.

I guess to me something like being a student feels more predeterminate, something that is set between specific times rather than something that is caused at an indeterminate time. So, you set yourself as a student (soy un estudiante), and the thing that is caused is that you study (Estoy estudiando).

So I guess causality plays a part here. Interesting topic anyhow; my feeling of which word fits seems to match the word that gets used, but rationalising that feeling into a set of rules you can tell someone without a string of examples to memorise does seem more complicated.

Answer this Question
report this ad