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What is the difference between está prohibido and es prohibido..'

  • Posted Jan 20, 2009
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I'm not totally sure but I surmise that 'está' is a temporary state of prohibition and 'es' is constant or permanent!

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Peter, the permanent and temporary distinction for "ser" and "estar" is a bad pseudo-rule, and it fails all the time. Both "ser" and "estar" can be either temporary or permanent.

When you use any of these verbs with a past participle (such as "prohibido"), "estar" is used to indicate the result of a process, i.e. they decided to forbid people from doing something, and as a result, it is forbidden ("está prohibido"). "Ser" is used to indicate a process, so "es prohibido" refers to the action of forbidding something. Using "ser" you could only say things like "El tabaco fue prohibido" = "tobacco was (declared) forbidden" to refer to the act of making something forbidden, the the act itself, and not its consequences.

La discoteca será cerrada mañana = The disco will be closed tomorrow. (Tomorrow it will be open, but someone will close it)
La discoteca estará cerrada mañana = The disco will be closed tomorrow. (Tomorrow it will remain closed after the night.)

"Será" means that someone will initiate the process of closing it, whereas "estará" means that it will remain closed, which is the result of something someone has done before.

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Thanks, that's cleared up a few questions on 'ser' and 'estar'. Priceless stuff!

lazarus1907 said:

Peter, the permanent and temporary distinction for "ser" and "estar" is a bad pseudo-rule, and it fails all the time. Both "ser" and "estar" can be either temporary or permanent.When you use any of these verbs with a past participle (such as "prohibido"), "estar" is used to indicate the result of a process, i.e. they decided to forbid people from doing something, and as a result, it is forbidden ("está prohibido"). "Ser" is used to indicate a process, so "es prohibido" refers to the action of forbidding something. Using "ser" you could only say things like "El tabaco fue prohibido" = "tobacco was (declared) forbidden" to refer to the act of making something forbidden, the the act itself, and not its consequences.La discoteca será cerrada mañana = The disco will be closed tomorrow. (Tomorrow it will be open, but someone will close it)La discoteca estará cerrada mañana = The disco will be closed tomorrow. (Tomorrow it will remain closed after the night.)"Será" means that someone will initiate the process of closing it, whereas "estará" means that it will remain closed, which is the result of something someone has done before.

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Lazarus wrote:
the permanent and temporary distinction for "ser" and "estar" is a bad pseudo-rule, and it fails all the time.

I think "all the time" is misleading here. If you mean often (as "all the time" is used colloquially), then I agree with you, but if you mean "in every single instance" (which is the real meaning of "all the time"), then I disagree, because this "rule" does apply quite often. True, there are many exceptions, which is why learners are often confused, but I think it is safe to say that "ser often indicates a permanent state, while estar often indicates a temporary state, although there are exceptions to this."

Matthew,
One distinction is that ser+past participle is used for passive constructions.

Entrar en ese cuarto es prohibido por los dueños.
Entering that room is prohibited by the owners.

When you state the agent of the passive action as above (using por), you must use ser. If you are merely referring to a state in which something is prohibited, you must use estar.

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That "all the time" was an exaggeration, of course; I meant to say "often". In Spanish we say "todo el mundo" when we mean "many people", and in my ciy, Sevilla, we tend to speak over-exaggerating even more. My fault.

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Nonetheless, Wow! your explanation helps for those really confusing instances (or it will help if I can keep it straight, or if I can pass the rules through my head as fast as I need to be able to to get them to my tongue ...Well, that is if I ever actually get a chance to speakgrin

lazarus1907 said:

That "all the time" was an exaggeration, of course; I meant to say "often". In Spanish we say "todo el mundo" when we mean "many people", and in my ciy, Sevilla, we tend to speak over-exaggerating even more. My fault.

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temporary
The professor is bored.

El profesor es aburrido. --> always boring
The professor is boring.

But always with clocktimes:

Son las diez y media --> it's half past ten

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laidback said:

To make it more confusing.. Ser and estar (contrasting uses)

Replace the rule with a simpler one: "ser" defines, identifies and classifies; "estar" does everything else (i.e. mainly states and situations). Nouns are words used to define and identify, so they clearly belong to "ser". The word "aburrido" means "related to boredom", so used with "ser", you are classifying or identifying someone as a person "related to boredom"; using "estar" you are saying something about his situation being "related to boredom". The rule I gave above is the same for "estar", for it is used to indicate the result of a processed when it is followed by a past participle. Unsurprisingly, "estar" is for situations and results, and past participles indicate finished actions.

Indicate the time is a specific use of "ser", and it has to be learnt separately, but since there is no room for confusion here, it is never a problem.

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