"Es aquí" ?'?
I've been watching Mi Vida Loca (Spanish lessons from the BBC, linked to by this site). A couple times they've said "Es aquí" in reference to a building (for example, when the taxi driver arrived at the apartment building, that's what he said).
I was always taught that in general, ser is used for permanent conditions and estar for temporary ones, but estar is always used for location. The previous discussions on this site about ser vs. estar don't seem to touch on this. I realize the apartment building isn't going to move . . . but still!! Is this right? Is this something that's peculiar to Madrid'
This is a bit tricky. I got this from Wikipedia: http://my.spanishdict.com/forum
Estar is used to refer to physical location. In Spanish, location is regarded as a state, and therefore is indicated with estar, even in those cases (e.g. Madrid está en España "Madrid is in Spain") when one might think that it is something so permanent and fundamental that it could be logical to use ser. With immobile things, quedar is sometimes used instead of estar, especially when there is a reference to a length of time, or a remaining distance, e.g.:
¿A cuánto queda la playa? / ¿A qué distancia queda la playa? = "How far away is the beach'"
Aún queda lejos = "There's still quite some way" / "It's still far"
El bar queda a cinco minutitos = "The bar's just five minutes away"
However, ser can sometimes occur with words such as aquí, which can mislead learners into thinking that physical location can be expressed with ser. In fact, the verb in this case identifies the place rather than expressing where it is. For example, one might say to a taxi driver the following phrases, to indicate that you have arrived:
Está aquí = "It's here"
Es aquí = "It's here"
The difference becomes clear if aquí is changed to esta calle:
Está en esta calle = "It's in this street"
Es esta calle = "It's this street"
Es aquí and es esta calle express the idea that "this is the place", a concept quite different from what is expressed by estar.
The only case in which true location is expressed by ser is when an event rather than a physical thing is referred to:
¿Dónde es la fiesta? = "Where is the party'"
¿Dónde está la sala de fiestas? = "Where is the discothèque'"
¡Uf! No puedo darte una fecha todavía, pero dudo muchísimo que esté terminado antes de octubre o noviembre si sigo a este ritmo. Lo empecé hace relativamente poco tiempo; solo llevo 32 páginas (con letra muy pequeña), y puede que tenga alrededor las 300 páginas.
Solo describe el uso de 1000 verbos de uso frecuente, e incluye sus conjugaciones, usos preposicionales, expresiones coloquiales, cuándo usar el subjuntivo, cómo formar construcciones pasivas reflejas, pronominales e impersonales, y colocaciones (listas de palabras y expresiones con las que se usan frecuentemente), advertencias para angloparlantes sobre el uso, etc. ¡Es muchísimo trabajo!
Dead is the typical example we all give to show how useless the permanent/temporary rule is. A much better rule is to say that "ser" classifies, defines or identifies people and things, so using "ser" with "muerto" would be fine for a vampire or a zombie, since they can be classified and identified as dead kind of people. Permanent has nothing to do with it.
Es menor de edad (underage) - A few seconds after that comment, you hear the bells... and he is 18 now, and therefore no longer underage. A few seconds: so much for permanent! What you really did was to identify that boy as as a minor, regardless of time considerations.
Es bajo - Permanent? Wait until he grows! This time he has been identified as short, regardless of time considerations.
Está muy alto - The person is not likely to shrink to half the size in the future, but we are not classifying him as "tall", but comparing him with previous situations when he wasn't that tall. Here past and present considerations trigger the use of "estar".
I was always taught that in general, ser is used for permanent conditions and estar for temporary ones
This is an evil myth perpetuated by lazy Spanish teachers. The difference between these verbs has nothing to do with premanence (or lack thereof).
"Ser" is used to describe; I tell my students it's when you're talking about the "essence" of a person (or place, or thing). This is why we say, "Ella es rubia" even though she may be on her way to the salon to dye her hair black (therefore this is not a permanent trait). We use "ser" with people's professions ("Soy profesora") even though I could easily quit my job tomorrow and become a head chef at Chilli's (again, not permanent). Your job is one thing that makes you who you are (part of your "essence"), so you use "ser."
"Estar" will describe a [e]state or condition - something that was brought on by a change (but this doesn't mean it will change back. The most famous non-temporary example is "Está muerto." Death is as non-permanent as you can get; the state of death was brought on by a change in condition (you were alive, something happened and now you're dead), which is why it takes "estar." Many people like to say "estar" is a temporary condition because most things that are brought on by change will change back, but not all.
An example that might help English-speaking brains see the difference is the use of "ser" and "estar" with "aburrido." "Bored" and "boring" are both translated as "aburrido/a;" the difference between the two comes with the "to be" verb.
If I say, "I am bored," I'm taking about my condition. I was prefectly happy, but then I started reading this neverending post about the differences between "ser" and "estar" and now I'm bored. It's a change in condition, so in Spanish I would say, "Estoy aburrida."
If I say, "I am boring," I am describing myself. Sadly, I am a very boring person (probably because I drone on and on about grammar aspects no one else gives a flip about - and I do this for English grammar, too. No one is safe!) This is part of my "essence," who I am, so I will say, "Soy aburrida." (Or, "Soy una persona aburrida.")
Then there is the list of other uses, such as "ser" is used with time ("¿Qué hora es'"), "estar" is used with location ("¿Dónde está ...'"), but if you twist your head around them, you can see how they also fit into the description of essence v. change in condition "rules" (okay, so building and cities are not going to move, but people are. I was outside, then a change happened, I walked inside, and I'm inside the house. When you're talking about Madrid being in Spain, it's part of its description... it kinda works). You can probably find that list on the References page of this site, under Grammar (I haven't read it, but I know it's there...) But for your everyday, "he is ___|" ser/estar, think of it as description v. change in condition.
To answer your specific question, though, Mark's answer explained it clearly. (I personally wouldn't use "Es aquí," but I can see why it makes sense gramatically.) I saw the permanent/temporary blasphemy (not your fault, you were taught by a lazy person) and I had to butt in.
'steps off her soapbox and walks quietly into the sunset'
This is an excellent & enlightening discussion.
But Lazarus, you've caught my attention about the subjunctive -- where can I find out more?
Regarding está muerta I like the description given by JJ Keenan in his book 'Breaking Out of Beginners Spanish'
"When the person is remembered and eulogized years later, people won't say 'he was a good person, a kind person, and a dead person.'"
Necesito comprarme este libro, ¿cuando sale'
I went off on an overall rant of ser v. estar (in all cases); Lazarus was staying with the topic and talking only about location.
> ¿ Estoy cansado, casado, aburrido, acostado, dormido, despierto, felíz, complacido, herído, descepcionado, ilusionado...'
All these are a condition (brought on by change), so they take "estar."
Una fuerte tormenta está azotando la costa oeste del país (A strong storm is beating up the western shore/side of the country): "está azotando" = "is beating/hitting." This is the present progessive tense. "Estar" is the helping verb used with this tense. (I don't see this as a "use" of estar when looking at it v. ser, because it's a separate verb tense that is conjugated with estar and the present participle of the verb.)
Same with "se está realizando" = "is taking place." Present progressive of "realizarse."
Trying to catch me? Ok, let me answer then:
We were initially talking about using these two verbs predicatively with places (look at the thread title!), not attributively with adjectives. Cansado, aburrido, dormido,... are not places, so my explanations don't apply to them.
"Está azotando" is a phrase (perífrais) similar to the present progressive in English, not an predicative use of "estar" to locate things, so nothing to do with my explanations either.
Add this line before my explanations: "When talking about places....", (e.g. aquí, allí, etc.) and they will make perfect sense, but I thought it was clear considering what this thread is about.
Regarding Criss' comments, she was (slightly off-topic, and) referring, not to places like me, but to attributive uses of the verbs ser and estar, where people have to chose which one to pick with words such as "cansado", aburrido, dormido,.. If you read her explanations and examples you'll understand.
This is an evil myth perpetuated by lazy Spanish teachers. The difference between these verbs has nothing to do with premanence
Estar is used to simply locate people, animals and things.
¿ Estoy cansado, casado, aburrido, acostado, dormido, despierto, felíz, complacido, herído, descepcionado, ilusionado...?
Ser can be used to indicate where events are taking place, or to identify places .
¿Una fuerte tormenta esta azotando la costa Oeste del país, la boda se está realizando en la iglesia del pueblo'
The subjunctive can be fairly successfully using one simple rule that apply to over 99% of the cases, and it is based entirely on understanding why you use it, and not on memorizing blind rules, and verbs and structure lists. Some practice is required to understand when and how to use this rule, of course, but the interesting thing is that it can also be applied in English too most of the time!
My book does not just tell you "use subjunctive with this verb here and indicative there", but also why, with examples, and all based on the rule, so you can do the same once you understand how the rule works.
There are many articles published by very successful and experienced teachers of Spanish as a foreign language explaining the advantages of this system, and how their students' learning has improved dramatically since they abandoned the old system. There is, for example, one article called "Urban myths about the subjunctive". These three are mentioned:
PRIMERA LEYENDA URBANA: el modo subjuntivo es el que se usa para expresar sentimientos y emociones.
SEGUNDA LEYENDA URBANA: el subjuntivo se usa para hablar de lo que no es seguro.
ÿLTIMA LEYENDA URBANA: el subjuntivo se usa para expresar opiniones subjetivas, o la subjetividad en general.
Haha! I was blinded by frustration, and couldn't type correctly!
I agree with Quentin
This whole discussion reminds me of trying to explain to a Russian friend when to use the articles (a, an, the) in English. (This is exceedingly difficult, has anyone ever tried it') Russian, of course, does not use articles like we do. Just when you think you've explained it, you think of another example that doesn't quite fit. The fact is that in some cases, including or not including the article just slightly changes the meaning. This seems to be the case above . . .