Spanish Grammar

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Ser and Estar in Spanish for Beginners

Ser and Estar in Spanish are some kind of evil twins for beginners. However, from basic to advanced levels, students will need to struggle to learn how to use them accurately. Keep reading and we’ll help you!

Ser and Estar in Spanish to make descriptions

At first levels, you will need to describe people, places and objects. It’s like a baby, who focuses on surroundings. But, how can you form ser and estar in Spanish in the present of indicative? Look at this table:

Present indicative of the verbs ser and estar

As you can see, the most used verbs, are also the most irregulars. Now that you can form Ser and Estar in Spanish, it’s time to know how to use them to make descriptions.

The verb ser to describe physical appearance

We use the verb ser with adjectives that describe our hair, eyes and body.

  • Moreno-a – brunette
  • Rubio-a – blonde
  • Pelirrojo-a – red-haired
  • Alto-a – tall
  • Bajo-a – short
  • Gordo-a – fat
  • Delgado-a thin
  • Azules / verdes / oscuros Dark / blue / green

Example: Mi hermano es alto y moreno. Sus ojos son verdes.

Easy, isn’t it? Now, it’s time to describe our personality.

The verb ser to describe traits of the personality

The characteristics that describe our nature and manners are introduced by the verb ser.

  • Tímido-a – shy
  • Amable – kind
  • Inteligente – clever
  • Aburrido-a – boring
  • Generoso-a – generous
  • Tacaño-a  – stingy
  • Maleducado-a  – impolite
  • Divertido-a  – funny

Example: Los españoles son muy divertidos y amables.

Nice! Now let’s see how to use the verb estar to describe mood and feelings.

The verb estar to describe mood and feelings

The verb ser shows more inherent traits of a person; on the other hand, with the verb estar and some adjectives, we express states, mood and feelings. That is one of the most important differences between ser and estar in Spanish.

Here’s a list of them

  • Contento-a – glad
  • Tristesad
  • Tranquilo-a – calm
  • Nervioso-a nervous
  • Aburrido-abored
  • Emocionado-aexcited
  • Preocupado-a worried

Example: Hoy estoy muy tranquilo porque mi hija está contenta.

Ser and Estar in Spanish to express location

Besides descriptions, ser and estar can be used to express the place where somebody or something are. We usually use the verb estar for this purpose, but you know what, all rules have exceptions.

The verb estar introduces the location of people, places and objects.

Example: Mi profesor está en Madrid y Madrid está en España.

On the other hand, the verb ser, can express the location where an event will take place.

Example: El concierto será en Madrid.

Ser and estar in Spanish, what a couple! Do you feel like putting what you learnt before into practice? Sure? Well, leave some sentences describing yourself and express location in the comments section below. Don’t forget to use the verbs ser and estar in Spanish accurately. And, of course, if you need further information about this topic, reserve a lesson on Spanishviaskype.

Infographic about Ser and Estar for beginners