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If you ask where something is

(ie)

Donde esta el coche

but

If you say

Donde es el coche
(how does the latter translate)

  • Posted Jul 6, 2009
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19 Answers

1 Vote

Mónica es de España. (origin)

Mónica está en Venezuela. (location)

I really have to say this: the first sentence is not a "ser of location", but a simple classification (or identification), which is what the verb "ser" is mainly about. The phrase "de España" is a complement of a noun, so it is practically like an adjective. That sentence is not different from:

Mónica es española.

where "ser" has, again, nothing to do with origin or location. The "origin" is provided by the phrase "de España" or the adjective "española", but "ser" is simply the usual "CID verb" (Classify/Identify/Define). Replace those words, and "ser" will have exactly the same usage and meaning:

Mónica es guapa.

0 Vote

If you ask where something is

(ie)

Donde esta el coche

but

If you say

Donde es el coche

(how does the latter translate)

Use the verb estar, dónde está el coche.

I have no idea what it means using the verb ser.

0 Vote

A lad i work with lived in spain for a few years and says "donde es"
when he wants to know the location of where something is.

I know it is bad grammar but i wonderd how bad it was and how it sounds to a spanish speakers ear

0 Vote

A lad i work with lived in spain for a few years and says "donde es"

when he wants to know the location of where something is.

I know it is bad grammar but i wonderd how bad it was and how it sounds to a spanish speakers ear

Mind you ser can be used with donde such as ¿de donde es usted? - where are you from'

0 Vote

No "De" before "Donde"
My workmate has made a mistake and wont admit it by the looks of it
(He has a lived in spain so has a, this learning in a classromm is rubbish attitude)

Thats why i was wondering how a simple error like "donde es xxxx"
would sound to a native speaker

0 Vote

It is a pretty egregious error, and a dead giveaway the one is not a native speaker. The meaning is, however, understood.

From what I have been told, "dónde + ser" can be used to refer to the permanent location of a fixed place, but I have heard estar used in these contexts as well.

¿Dónde es Londres?
¿Dónde es el centro?
Allí fue donde chocaste con el otro carro.
(I'm not sure about this one, but I have heard ...) ¿Dónde es su casa?
Me gustaría invitarles a mi casa. --¿Dónde es?

These places and "sites" are fixed.

Estar, in reference to location, indicates the instant (and by nature, potentially temporary) location of something/someone. Since "el coche" can be in the street today and in the garage tomorrow, you must use estar.

That is how it was explained to me. Hopefully someone with more specific knowledge of the rules can correct me or enlighten us further.

0 Vote

I think that we have had several previous posts contrasting the uses of estar and ser with locations.
As I recall estar is used with the locations of tangible, physical objects and ser is used with intangible objects such as in: Where is the meeting? Where is the concert? ...the conference, the reunion, the dance, etc.

clipped from online:
Let's distinguish between origin, location, and "to take place." To describe origin, or where something is from, use ser. To describe location, or where something is located right now, use estar. To tell where an event is taking place, use ser.

Mónica es de España. (origin)
Mónica está en Venezuela. (location)
La fiesta es en la casa de Mónica. (taking place)

Let's review.

  1. When a noun follows the verb, use ser
  2. When an adjective follows the verb, decide between "essence" and "condition"
  3. To tell where something is from, use ser
  4. To tell where something is located right now, use estar
  5. To tell where an event is taking place, use ser

another source:
http://spanish.about.com/od/usingparticularverbs/qt/ser_events.htm

one (of several) past discussions:
http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/show/7085/

0 Vote

From what I have been told, "dónde + ser" can be used to refer to the permanent location of a fixed place, but I have heard estar used in these contexts as well.

¡Huy, huy, huy! We've got a problem, Huston. Location of physical objects, permanent or not, is given with "estar"... only! "Ser" is used, not when we refer to the physical place itself, but when we are concerned about what happens in that place. This subtle usage is best left for the most advanced students, and if taught initially, it is better to say that "ser" can be used for events (e.g. ¿Dónde es el concierto') only.

Sentences like "¿Dónde es el centro'" are not the same as "¿Dónde está el centro'", and they are somewhat colloquial.

¿Dónde es Londres?

¿Dónde es el centro?

These two will be regarded as incorrect, unless you know exactly how to use them colloquially, and that includes the correct tone while asking. If you ask that in a geography lesson, or to someone with a map, you'll probably be told you've used the wrong verb. Again, for a simple physical location question, "ser" should not be used.

¿Dónde es Londres?

¿Dónde es el centro?

Allí fue donde chocaste con el otro carro.

(I'm not sure about this one, but I have heard ...) ¿Dónde es su casa?

Me gustaría invitarles a mi casa. --¿Dónde es?

These places and "sites" are fixed.

I am afraid you're wrong: La fiesta es en centro, pero manañana será en las afueras. It is all about events taking place in those location, and not the location themselves.

Estar, in reference to location, indicates the instant (and by nature, potentially temporary) location of something/someone. Since "el coche" can be in the street today and in the garage tomorrow, you must use estar.

That is how it was explained to me. Hopefully someone with more specific knowledge of the rules can correct me or enlighten us further.

España está en Europa.
Nueva York está en Los EE. UU.

Unless these are instant or temporary locations, the rule you just stated is PLAIN WRONG.

[del]España es en Europa[/del]
[del]Nueva York está en Los EE. UU.[/del]

The two sentences above are plain wrong; utterly unacceptable. "Ser" and "estar" has nothing to do with permanent and temporary. It is a fallacy.

0 Vote

Thank you, Lazarus. I was hoping you would jump into this one with both feet.

This is a good example of incorrect and bad instruction that is commonly given by "Spanish teachers," and also the drawback of learning from natives who speak colloquially or incorrectly. We non-natives hear something from a native (especially if it is a somewhat educated person) and take it as being correct.

I appreciate you clearing this up for me/us. I had thought of the example "¿Dónde es la fiesta? / ¿Dónde va a ser la fiesta'"; it sounded correct, but I wasn't sure about that, because it contradicted my "rule." Now I know why ... the rule was a fallacy.

Now this makes a whole lot more sense, and once again answers one of my long-time lingering questions.

0 Vote

Lazarus, could you explain for those of us who seek to be "advanced students" the colloquial use of "¿Dónde es Londres'" and the correct tone?

Thanks again.

0 Vote

Hard to explain... too subjective. I guess it would have to sound, at least, as if you have serious doubts about what you are asking, and you exaggerate the raising tone in your question, signalling that you are about to use "ser" in a rather colloquial and subjective manner. On top of that, asking "¿Dónde es Londres'" is only possible if you metaphorically refer to it for what it happens it it, pretty much as if you asked for a carnival or a fair. It sounds very colloquial, and the problem of letting learners of Spanish use this, is that they try to use it in circumstances where it is simply unacceptable, such as "¿Dónde es el libro'". "Ser" can potentially be used this way with rooms, open spaces, or even larger areas, but not when the main issue is their physical location.

0 Vote

Allí fue donde chocaste con el otro carro.


Lazarus didn't make specific reference to this sentence (although it is subsumed under the general rules that he gave). This is not a statement about where something is but rather asserts an equation "there" = "the place where you collided with the other car". The same would be true of "Aqui es donde vivo.", you're defining (or at least, offering your "personal definition") of "here". It might be defined differently by others e.g. "the intersection of X and Y" or "a spot a short ways beyond ..." but, for you, its most important characteristic is that you reside there.

0 Vote

Hard to explain... too subjective. I guess it would have to sound, at least, as if you have serious doubts about what you are asking, and you exaggerate the raising tone in your question, signalling that you are about to use "ser" in a rather colloquial and subjective manner. On top of that, asking "¿Dónde es Londres'" is only possible if you metaphorically refer to it for what it happens it it, pretty much as if you asked for a carnival or a fair. It sounds very colloquial, and the problem of letting learners of Spanish use this, is that they try to use it in circumstances where it is simply unacceptable, such as "¿Dónde es el libro'". "Ser" can potentially be used this way with rooms, open spaces, or even larger areas, but not when the main issue is their physical location.

That makes it clearer now. Thanks for taking the time to explain that, Lazarus.

Allí fue donde chocaste con el otro carro.

Lazarus didn't make specific reference to this sentence (although it is subsumed under the general rules that he gave). This is not a statement about where something is but rather asserts an equation "there" = "the place where you collided with the other car". The same would be true of "Aqui es donde vivo.", you're defining (or at least, offering your "personal definition") of "here". It might be defined differently by others e.g. "the intersection of X and Y" or "a spot a short ways beyond ..." but, for you, its most important characteristic is that you reside there.

This is also clear now. It appears that both "Allí" & "donde" are both functioning as substantives here, one defining the other, therefore calling for the verb ser.

Do you concur, Lazarus?

I wish I were as apt at explaining and illustrating as the two of you are.

0 Vote

This is also clear now. It appears that both "Allí" & "donde" are both functioning as substantives here, one defining the other, therefore calling for the verb ser.

Do you concur, Lazarus?

I wouldn't go as far as saying that "aquí" functions as a sustantive, but I'd admit that that a place associated with a function is identified here with a location, and although this normally happens with nouns and adjectives, an adverb does the trick here somehow.

I agree with everything else (and samdie's explanation).

0 Vote

I'd like to come back to what Darren said

"Thats why i was wondering how a simple error like 'donde es xxxx?
would sound to a native speaker"

Before I wrote this post I was talking to a Polish girl that I met while walking the dog. Although her English was far, far, far from perfect we chatted for about 45 mins about pretty much everything. Her linguistic "crimes" included:-

1) Never uses articles (a, the)
2) Can only use the present tense
3) Never uses auxiliary verb "do" (eg What you think')

...and many more that I can't remember. Nevertheless she spoke clear, expressive and 100% understandable English. So I think Darren makes an interesting question.

I wonder how similar mistakes sound in Spanish.......

Saludos.

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