Learning the differences between ser and estar, Spanish common verbs

In many languages, SER and ESTAR are the same verb, but in Spanish this two verbs have different uses, which is difficult for Spanish students.

Learning Spanish grammar: The correct use of the verbs ser and estar, keys to differentiate them.

Video How to use Ser and Estar in Spanish

Difference between Ser and Estar Spanish verbs

Uses of the verbs SER in Spanish

To describe

  • With permanent characteristics – Yo soy alto, Luis es simpático, Lola es rubia (I am tall, Luis is nice, Lola is blonde)
  • With a name – Yo soy Tio Spanish (I’m Tio Spanish)
  • To indicate the profession – Yo soy profesor de español (I’m Spanish teacher)
  • To indicate the country of origin – nosotros somos de España (I come from Spain)
  • To indicate kinship or friendship – Lola es mi amiga, Juan es mi hermano (Lola is my friend, Juan is my brother)
  • To indicate the material what is made – es un anillo de oro, este es un vestido de seda (that is a gold ring, this is a silk dress)
  • To indicate Possession – Esa es mi casa (This is my house)

For hours, dates, seasons …

  • Son las 5 (It’s 5 o’clock)
  • Hoy es día 20 de marzo (Today is 20 of March)
  • Es invierno (It is winter)

Ask about dates

¿Cuándo es el concierto? El concierto es le sábado (When is the concert? The concert is Saturday)

To indicate the price

¿Cuánto cuesta? ¿cuánto es? Son 15 euros (How much? how much is it? It’s 15 euros)

With time adverbs

  • Aquí ya es de noche (Is already night)
  • Fue ayer (It was yesterday)

Before the preposition PARA 

Indicating a recipient, an objective or purpose

  • Ese regalo es para Luis. (That present is for Luis.)
  • Esa máquina es para hacer cajas (That machine is for making boxes)

Uses of the verb ESTAR in Spanish

In general the verb ESTAR its used to say characteristics which may vary with time or if circumstances.


To indicate a temporary state, which can change from one moment to another

  • Estoy enfermo (I’m sick)
  • estoy enfadado (I’m angry)

To indicate the location where objects or person are

  • Paris está en Francia. (Paris is in France.)
  • Mi madre está en casa (My mom is at home)

With continuous tense, present progressive

The continuous verbs indicate activities that are happening at this time.
The grammar estructure: Estar + gerundio (… ando)

  • I listen to the radio (I refer to something I usually do)
  • I’m listening to the radio (I’m doing it right now)
  • Estoy estudiando para el examen, Esta lloviendo mucho (I’m studying for the exam, It’s raining a lot)

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