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  October 13, 2012 HOME >GRAMMAR AND LANGUAGE >SER AND ESTAR

 
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SER AND ESTAR

SER should be used for:

 

1) In a "who" situation.

 

Ejemplo (example):

Who is he? = ¿Quién es?

2) In a "what" situation.

 

Ejemplos (examples):

What is that? = ¿Qué es eso?

It’s a chair = Es una silla

3) Characteristics (Permanent or semi-permanent)

 

Ejemplos:

We are tall = Somos grandes
The house is made of stone = La casa es de piedra
These men are English = Estos hombres son ingleses
The door is red = La puerta es roja

4) Jobs and professions

When jobs and professions are described.

 

Ejemplos:

My mum is a teacher = Mi madre es profesora
My dad is a doctor = Mi padre es médico

NOTE: No article is needed (un/una) before the profession is stated.

5) Possession

When you are referring to a possession (whether it be yours or somebody else’s)

 

Ejemplos:

It is my car = Es mi coche
It is not your book = No es tu libro

6) Time

Relating to the time of day, the date and the season.

 

Ejemplos:

What time is it? = ¿Qué hora es?
It is three o’clock = Son las tres

What date is it? = ¿Qué fecha es?
It’s the third of April = Es el tres de abril

It is winter = Es invierno

 

7) Age

SER is used in connection with "Joven" (Young) and "Viejo" (Old)

 

Ejemplos:

The girl is very young = La chica es muy joven
The man is old = El hombre es viejo

8) Passive

SER is used with the past participle (ado/ido) to create a passive (when the subject does not do the action).

 

Ejemplos:

The pencil was broken by the boy = El lápiz fue roto por el chico
The plates are washed by the woman = Los platos son lavados por la mujer

NOTE: The past participle (ado/ido) always agrees with the subject in a passive.
i.e. La lapiz fue rota - but - los platos son lavados

 

ESTAR should be used for:

1) Location

To refer to a place (expressing where someone/something is)

 

Ejemplo:

The shop is near the park = La tienda está cerca del parque

2) Temporary situations

To refer to a temporary situation (e.g. an emotion - something which is not permanent

Ejemplo:

Today we are happy = Hoy estamos contentos

3) To form continuous tenses

To form the present continuous tense (to describe when you are in the process of an action), you must use ESTAR + present participle (iendo/ando)

Ejemplos:

I am eating = Estoy comiendo
He is speaking = Está hablando

4) Specific phrases

 

Ejemplos:

To be in favour of = Estar por
To be about to do something = Estar para hacer algo

5) With a past participle (ado/ido) to express the result of a past action:

To refer to a place (expressing where someone/something is)

 

Ejemplo:

The window is open = La ventana está abierta

NOTE: The past participle must agree with the subject (i.e. la ventana está abierta

 


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