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Quick answer
"Está" is a phrase which is often translated as "he's", and "cómo es" is a phrase which is often translated as "what's he like". Learn more about the difference between "está" and "cómo es" below.
está(
ehs
-
tah
)
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
phrase
1. (used to express location; third person singular)
a. he's (masculine)
¿Dónde está Joaquín? - Está en el baño.Where's Joaquin? - He's in the bathroom.
b. she's (feminine)
Mi mamá no está en casa. Está en el centro comercial.My mom is not home. She's at the mall.
c. it's
¿Dónde está la aspiradora? - Está en mi habitación.Where's the vacuum cleaner? - It's in my room.
d. is
La Puerta de Brandenburgo está en Berlín.The Brandenburg Gate is in Berlin.
2. (used to express a quality; third person singular)
a. he's (masculine)
Francisco no vino a clases porque está enfermo.Francisco didn't come to school because he's sick.
b. she's (feminine)
Conozco a esa mujer. Está casada con un amigo.I know that woman. She's married to a friend of mine.
c. it's
No puedes abrir la lavadora cuando está lavando.You can't open the washer when it's running.
d. is
Mi celular está roto. Tengo que llevarlo a arreglar.My cellphone is broken. I need to get it fixed.
3.
A word or phrase used to refer to the second person formal “usted” by their conjugation or implied context (e.g. usted).
(formal)
(used to express location; second person singular)
a. you're
Si está cerca, puedo recogerlo con mi coche.If you're close, I can pick you up.
4.
A word or phrase used to refer to the second person formal “usted” by their conjugation or implied context (e.g. usted).
(formal)
(used to express a quality;second person singular)
a. you're
Si está con hambre, podemos ir a cenar ahora.If you're hungry, we can go have dinner now.
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cómo es(
koh
-
moh
 
ehs
)
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
phrase
1. (in questions; third person singular)
a. what's he like
¿Conoces al hermano de Marta? - No. ¿Cómo es?Have you met Marta's brother? - No. What's he like?
b. what's she like
¿Cómo es y a qué se dedica? - ¿Alicia? Es muy simpática y es enfermera.What's she like and what does she do for a living? - Alicia? She's very nice and she's a nurse.
c. what's it like
¿Has estado en Cádiz? - No. ¿Cómo es y a qué distancia está de aquí?Have you ever been to Cadiz? - No. What's it like and how far is it from here?
d.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
¿Cómo es Mercedes? - Es muy inteligente.What's Mercedes like? - She's very intelligent.
¿Cómo es la casa de Olga? - Es grande y luminosa.What's Olga's house like? - It's big and bright.
2.
A word or phrase used to refer to the second person formal “usted” by their conjugation or implied context (e.g. usted).
(formal)
(in questions; second person singular)
a. what are you like
¿Cómo es en la intimidad? Seguro que es usted muy distinto a como se muestra en su vida pública.What are you like in your private life? I'm sure you're very different from the way you show yourself in your public life.
3. (in statements; third person singular)
a. what he's like
¿Tienes un nuevo novio? Dime cómo es. Me lo tienes que presentar.Do you have a new boyfriend? Tell me what he's like. You have to introduce him to me.
b. what she's like
No sé cómo es porque apenas la conozco.I don't know what she's like because I barely know her.
c. what it's like
Estar desempleado no es el fin del mundo. - Tú no sabes cómo es porque nunca te encontraste en esa situación.Being unemployed isn't the end of the world. - You don't know what it's like because you never found yourself in that situation.
d.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Me pregunto cómo es Pablo. Todo el mundo lo encuentra fascinante, y yo estoy deseando conocerlo.I wonder what Pablo is like. Everyone finds him fascinating, and I'm looking forward to meeting him.
Luisa me explicó cómo es su apartamento, pero no tenía ninguna foto.Luisa explained what her apartment is like, but she didn't have any photos.
4.
A word or phrase used to refer to the second person formal “usted” by their conjugation or implied context (e.g. usted).
(formal)
(in statements; second person singular)
a. what you're like
Sé cómo es de verdad. A mí no me engaña.I know what you're really like. You won't fool me.
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