Grammar Guide
Using "Ser" with Origins

Using "Ser" with Origins

Quick Answer

While both ser and estar can translate to to be in English, they aren't interchangeable in Spanish.

  • Ser is used to classify and identify permanent or lasting attributes.
  • Estar is used to indicate temporary states and locations.

If this general rule is too vague for you, think of the acronym DOT. Ser is used for:

  • Descriptions of a person or thing
  • Origins of a person or thing
  • Time

In this article we'll take a look at the O in DOT: Origins. Let's get started!

Origins with Ser

Ser is used to describe the place a person is from or the material something is made from. You can use ser to answer the questions Where is this from? and What is this made of?.

In other words, ser is used to describe the essential origin of a person or thing. This can be either a place origin or a material origin.

Place Origins

In these cases, ser is used to talk about where a person or thing is from. It can refer to where a person was born or raised or where an item was made. To describe place origin, use the formula ser + de + location.

Celia es de España.
Celia is from Spain.
Patricia es de México.
Patricia is from Mexico.
Estos quesos son de Francia.
Those cheeses are from France.
Su vestido es de Italia.
Her dress is from Italy.

Material Origins

In these cases, ser is used to describe what something is made of. You can use the formula ser + de + material to talk about this sort of material origin.

Las sillas son de madera.
The chairs are made from wood.
Mi anillo es de oro.
My ring is made from gold.

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