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Quick answer
"Estar ocupado" is an intransitive verb phrase which is often translated as "to be busy", and "ser" is a copular verb which is often translated as "to be". Learn more about the difference between "estar ocupado" and "ser" below.
estar ocupado(
ehs
-
tahr
 
oh
-
koo
-
pah
-
doh
)
An intransitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and does not require a direct object (e.g. Everybody please stand up.).
intransitive verb phrase
1. (to be tied up)
a. to be busy
No puedo salir a jugar ahora. Estoy ocupado.I can't go out to play right now. I'm busy.
2. (to be in use)
a. to be taken
Este asiento está ocupado. El hombre que está aquí simplemente fue al baño.This seat is taken. The man that's sitting here just went to the bathroom.
b. to be occupied
El baño estaba ocupado, por lo que fui al que está en el tercer piso.The bathroom was occupied, so I went to the one on the third floor.
c. to be busy (telephone)
El número está ocupado. Llamaré de nuevo en diez minutos.The number is busy. I'll call again in ten minutes.
3. (to be under military control)
a. to be occupied
Esa región ahora está ocupada por ISIS.That region is now occupied by ISIS.
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ser(
sehr
)
A copular verb links the subject of a clause to the predicate (e.g. My brother is tall).
1. (used to talk about characteristics)
a. to be
Sus ojos son azules.Her eyes are blue.
Mi abuelo es profesor.My grandpa is a teacher.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
2. (used to indicate origin)
a. to be
Soy de Nueva York.I'm from New York.
3. (to serve as)
a. to be
El lápiz es para escribir, no para lanzar.Pencils are for writing, not for throwing.
4. (used to talk about prices)
a. to be
¿Cuánto quiere por este cuadro? - Son diez dólares.How much do you want for this picture? - It's ten dollars.
5. (to be composed of)
a. to be made of
El casillero antiguo de mi abuela es de roble.My grandma's antique dresser is made of oak.
6. (used to indicate possession)
a. to be
Este reloj es de mi madre.This watch is my mother's.
7. (to take place)
a. to be
La fiesta será en mi casa.The party will be at my place.
8. (to be associated with; used with "de")
a. to root for
Yo soy del mejor equipo del mundo: FC Barcelona.I root for the best team in the world: FC Barcelona.
An impersonal verb is a verb with no apparent subject (e.g. Llueve en España.).
9. (used to express time)
a. to be
Son las siete de la mañana.It is seven in the morning.
Era de noche cuando llegaron.It was night when they arrived.
An auxiliary verb, or helper verb, is a conjugated verb that comes before a main verb and determines the main verb's tense, mood, or aspect (e.g. I have gone.).
10. (with the passive voice)
a. to be
El edificio fue diseñado por un equipo de arquitectos.The building was built by a team of architects.
A masculine noun is used with masculine articles and adjectives (e.g. el hombre guapo, el sol amarillo).
11. (entity)
a. being
Hay un ser vivo en el lago, pero no sé qué es.There's a living being in the lake, but I don't know what it is.
12. (human)
a. person
Su papá es un ser muy agradable.Her dad is a very nice person.
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