Why is Mexico esta en America, rather than Mexico es in America?

Why is Mexico esta en America, rather than Mexico es in America?


Why is the phrase considered "Mexico esta en America" rather than "Mexico es in America?" I don't understand why the estar form is used instead of ser.

updated ABR 11, 2012
posted by solatera
The content of your question is important. I've met Mexicans who are justifiably indignant when US citizens claim exclusive possession of the word "Americans." They, too, are Americans! - 005457e3, NOV 7, 2009
A very important point. Thank you - solatera, NOV 9, 2009

3 Answers


It's a good question, and I'm pleased it's been asked.

In general, ser is used for things more permanent; estar for temporary.

A country's location is permanent, but estar is always used.

Which creates a rule: when referring to location, use estar.

Not logical, of course, but no big surprise, really. There's much in language usage that has no logic.

updated NOV 9, 2009
posted by 005457e3
Am coming to realize that. Just take it for granted in English which frequently seems to have no logic. - solatera, NOV 9, 2009

Welcome to the forum. If you look under the "more" tab you will see an option called Spanish grammar. There is a very tidy explanation of the differences in the uses of ser and estar.You will be able to read it faster than I could type it!

updated NOV 9, 2009
posted by nizhoni1
I don't have that option under the "more" tab. - Malenor, NOV 7, 2009
I think nizhoni1 meant 'Reference' then 'Spanish Grammer'. ;-) - chaparrito, NOV 7, 2009

ser is usually used for permanant things and describing yourself and people. estar usually refers to things that a not permenant and places. (ie countries, cities etc ) someone correct me if i am wrong.

updated NOV 7, 2009
posted by mike123587
SpanishDict is the world's most popular Spanish-English dictionary, translation, and learning website.