What is SER and ESTAR? Well one thing I like to start with is the Shakespere expression SER O NO SER? I’m sure you can guess what I just said… TO BE OR NOT TO BE! That’s right, SER means TO BE.
The weird thing though is that ESTAR ALSO means TO BE. So in English we have one TO BE verb that’s literally called TO BE. In Spanish they have two TO BE verbs; SER and ESTAR.
What’s the difference? Well you use them differently based on what you need to say. SER is generally more permanent. ESTAR is generally more temporary. I like to remember that esTar has a T in it; that helps me remember it’s more Temporary.
This can be confusing at first but after a while it becomes locked in your brain! SER is used for things like who you are, your personality, your physical characteristics, where you’re from and your profession. Generally these things are more permanent. ESTAR is used for temporary things like emotion, how you’re feeling that day, where you’re located, if you’re sick or not, and if the food is hot or cold right then.
One of the fun things based on this is that you can change the verb to change the meaning of a sentence; like él está(using ESTAR) aburrido. And él es(using SER) aburrido. One means he is bored. -estar; temporary. The other, well; he is a boring person; permanently! Ha! You are not aburrido I promise. And you will definitely not get bored with learning Spanish- that is for sure! Good luck, and keep pushing forward!
Brittany is a bilingual Spanish teacher who has lived in Spain and Argentina. Through this blog, she hopes to relate her travels, insights, and Spanish speaking journey!