How do you know if you should use fue or estuvo when talking about how something was? An example would be "How was your trip?" or "How was the food?" and things of that nature. If I wanted to say "I was mad" then I would definitely say "Estuve enojado" because it was how I was being since it's a mood, right?

4 Answers



You are really asking when should you use the verbs:

                                         SER  or Estar  (to Be )   

                                             A quick guide  

               **Estar** ( estuve = I was )                        **Ser**  (Fui  = I  was)_     

Used to indicate position and temporary states Used to indicate Occupation
of being/temporary states of a noun and permanent states of being

Estoy en mi casa = I am at home / Fue: Soy un hombre = I am a man

estaba sentado = He was sitting down / Fue: Era un medico = he used to be a doctor

You will learn in lesson 2:10 that you always use the imperfect to express feelings since you cannot know when the feelings started or finished

For further details please see lesson 1 .11 Ser v Estar and 2.10 the Preterite v the Imperfect the last lesson should hopefully answer your major concerns

P.S I' m sorry... the layout was clear when I wrote this post but changed radically upon pressing submit button so words are not where I planned for them to be Hope you can understand my message if not just go to lesson 2.10 and Paralee will hopefully make it alot clearer

  • Oh! That's what they mean when they involve emotions in verb usage. - salsero69 May 18, 2010
  • Yes to some extent although Paralee covers verbs indicating emotion also in an advanced form in lesson 3:14 to become with Ponerse, Volverse, Hacerse y Convertirsee - FELIZ77 May 18, 2010


I think they are interchangeable.

I know that there are a couple of tenses in French that I interchange regularly because they essentially mean the same thing. If I can remember I'll post some samples.

  • May 18, 2010
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  • Maybe in French. But in Spanish, ser and estar have different uses. they are not interchangeable. - Goyo May 18, 2010
  • Please don´t suggest they are interchangeable! Unless you mean with expressions, eg. soy lista I am intellegent/clever but estoy lista I am ready. - caza May 19, 2010
  • I onlyu said that because either a spanish teacher or someone else had mentioned that they were. - salsero69 May 19, 2010
  • Not to worry, a mis-understanding probably - see Goyo´s note above. - caza May 19, 2010



A good description on the differences between the two. And my little 2 cents... They can be interchanged depending on exactly what you're going for. For example, The food was delicious could be "La comida fue deliciosa" if you were describing it without emotion like in general people think the food is good. If you personally think it's good, you would say "la comida estuvo deliciosa" because it was good for you and in that moment!

  • May 18, 2010
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This painting was one of Picasso's well-known/famous paintings.

Should I use "fue" or "era". For me the right answer will be "fue" Could you please tell me why? Thank you!

I know that "fue" is Preterite and "era" Imperfect.

Preterite: Imperfect is used for things not finished in the moment in the past we are considering (maybe they finish later, while still in the past, but that is no important when using this tense). Therefore, it is used, for example, to describe things in the past, or for things that used to happen regularly.

Preterite is used for things that ended (or started with verbs like "empezar") in the moment in past we are considering.

I do understand the difference between Preterite and Imperfect but I am sure which one to use in this case. Please help! Thanks!

  • May 19, 2010
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