HomeQ&Aser o estar

ser o estar

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i was just wondering if there were any tips that u had on when to use ser or estar. we are studying the imperfect and preterite tenses of these verbs and im having a real hard time distinguishing between them. if any one could help it would be deeply appreciated

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updated NOV 21, 2008
posted by nate4

13 Answers

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Michael said:

Estoy cansado (yo) but "es cansado" is wrong.

Not if it is a classification:

El trabajo es cansado.

updated NOV 21, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Es precioso/a (El vestido, la casa)
Es emocionante (el juego de futbol, correr)
Es increíble.
Es romántico. (estar bajo la luna llena)
Estas preciosa (ella)
Estoy cansado (yo) but "es cansado" is wrong.
Son aburridos (Ellos) They're boring
Estan aburridos (Ellos) They're bored
Espero que de algo te sirva esos ejemplos.

updated NOV 21, 2008
posted by michael3
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I think it makes sense because there are words that aren't "conditions, or space/time situations" like tranquilo y nervioso and others but I'm sleepy, so I'll think of more later.

lazarus1907 said:

Katie said:

When I said feelings, I meants like:-Estoy sano -Está enfermo -Estoy nervioso -Estás tranquiloetc.etc.I was speaking more of how the person is feeling than what he/she feels about it. What you were saying was more like characteristics. You have a good point though.

Regardless of the "feeling" side of it, all those comments are related to conditions, or space/time situations, so I think that mixing subjective criteria, such as feelings, and referential relationships, make very little sense. Most situations where SER/ESTAR choice has to be made are compatible with all the rest of your rules, but the "feelings" one, which is entirely subjective, can be expressed with either verb, so it is not a really operative rule, if you ask me.

>

updated NOV 20, 2008
posted by Katie
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Re: feelings and ser. Here's a sentence I just read from Trafalgar which illustrates Lazarus' point to some degree.

Era Doña Francisca una señora excelente, ejemplar, de noble origen, devota y temerosa de Dios, como todas las hembras de aquel tiempo; caritativa y discreta, pero con el más arisco y endemoniado genio que he conocido en mi vida.

updated NOV 17, 2008
posted by Natasha
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Katie said:

When I said feelings, I meants like: -Estoy sano -Está enfermo -Estoy nervioso

-Estás tranquilo

etc.etc.

I was speaking more of how the person is feeling than what he/she feels about it. What you were saying was more like characteristics. You have a good point though.

Regardless of the "feeling" side of it, all those comments are related to conditions, or space/time situations, so I think that mixing subjective criteria, such as feelings, and referential relationships, make very little sense. Most situations where SER/ESTAR choice has to be made are compatible with all the rest of your rules, but the "feelings" one, which is entirely subjective, can be expressed with either verb, so it is not a really operative rule, if you ask me.

updated NOV 17, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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When I said feelings, I meants like:
-Estoy sano
-Está enfermo
-Estoy nervioso
-Estás tranquilo
etc.etc.
I was speaking more of how the person is feeling than what he/she feels about it. What you were saying was more like characteristics. You have a good point though.

lazarus1907 said:

Katie said:

Ser-identification, origin, and possesionEstar-feelings, conditions, and locationsI hope that helps

I'm curious about that "feelings" part of your rule. Where does it come from'Es precioso.Es emocionante.Es increíble.Es romántico.All those are classifications (or identifications, or definitions), but they also express feelings. I think your "feelings" rule is mixing up things unnecessarily; the rest seems pretty good.

>

updated NOV 17, 2008
posted by Katie
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i see your point and am glad i could learn. i understand that each word has it's exceptions which makes it a little tough for me since i live in a part of the United States where there are few native speakers.

lazarus1907 said:

christian said:

im not sure if this is of any help but i will give it a shot.ser is usually something that can't easily be changed about yourself or whomever you may be speaking about

Close, but not necessarily. A sentence like "Mi hijo es menor de edad" can be stated a few milliseconds before my son is not longer a minor, and that changes easily.

christian said:

estar would be something more along the lines of if someone were to ask you where you were(relative location; permitting they aren't asking where you are LIVING) or anything that is easily changed such as the shirt you are wearing or what have you.

Again, close, but not necessarily easy: in "Estoy muerto", there is very little you can easily do to change that.

SER and ESTAR have more to do with how we want to present things and people than the "easiness" of their situation.

>

updated NOV 17, 2008
posted by christian
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christian said:

im not sure if this is of any help but i will give it a shot.ser is usually something that can't easily be changed about yourself or whomever you may be speaking about

Close, but not necessarily. A sentence like "Mi hijo es menor de edad" can be stated a few milliseconds before my son is not longer a minor, and that changes easily. The whole statement was meant to be presented as a classification, regardless of its validity (which happens to be just a few milliseconds) or how easy it is to get it changed.

christian said:

estar would be something more along the lines of if someone were to ask you where you were(relative location; permitting they aren't asking where you are LIVING) or anything that is easily changed such as the shirt you are wearing or what have you.

Again, close, but not necessarily easy: in "Estoy muerto", there is very little you can easily do to change that.

SER and ESTAR have more to do with how we want to present things and people than the "easiness" of their situation.

updated NOV 17, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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im not sure if this is of any help but i will give it a shot.
ser is usually something that can't easily be changed about yourself or whomever you may be speaking about such as: their name, place of birth(or national origin for that matter), gender would be another good example.
estar would be something more along the lines of if someone were to ask you where you were(relative location; permitting they aren't asking where you are LIVING) or anything that is easily changed such as the shirt you are wearing or what have you.

when dealing with emotions i find it easiest to first understand what exactly you are being asked. albeit this is hard for some people who aren't native speakers and we tend to relate it to phrases that we know in our native language so a mix up can be quite expected in certain situations but in a classroom i don't think it would be an issue; anyway. if they were to ask you how you WERE feeling would most likely be estar every time.
when dealing with ser it is going to be more along the lines of how you would act habitually, speaking as i used to be lonely, happy, upset or what have you.

if this helps you i am glad, if it confuses you then don't think about any of it and disregard it. as i tend to learn Spanish in a most unorthodox manner.

updated NOV 17, 2008
posted by christian
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Katie said:

Ser-identification, origin, and possesion Estar-feelings, conditions, and locations

I hope that helps

I'm curious about that "feelings" part of your rule. Where does it come from?

Es precioso.
Es emocionante.
Es increíble.
Es romántico.

All those are classifications (or identifications, or definitions), but they also express feelings. I think your "feelings" rule is mixing up things unnecessarily; the rest seems pretty good.

updated NOV 17, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Ser-identification, origin, and possesion
Estar-feelings, conditions, and locations
I hope that helps

updated NOV 17, 2008
posted by Katie
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Try the following advice, and then do a search, please:

SER is used to classify, identify and define.
ESTAR is used for situations (i.e. things located in time or space).

This is so far the most accurate rule you can get if you don't want to memorize pages of rules.

updated NOV 17, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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This has got to be the most Frequently Asked Question here. If you look for ser/estar in the Search Forum box, you should be able to find quite a few helpful discussions.

updated NOV 17, 2008
posted by Natasha
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