Ser versus Estar
Is there a consistent way to know which verb is used when preceding an adjective? In the first lesson I saw grande uses ser, and emfermo uses estar: "Ella es grande" but "Ella esta enferma".
(excerpted from www,studyspanish.com)
Notice that these two sentences can have different meanings in English. The apple is green. (Meaning the apple is not ripe.) The apple is green. (Meaning the color of the apple is green.) In the first case, our example speaks of the condition of the apple. The apple is green because it has not yet ripened. When the condition of the apple changes, that is, when it has ripened, it will no longer be green, it will be ripe. In the second case, our example speaks of the essential characteristics of the apple. The apple is green in color. This particular apple remains green even after it has ripened. In English, the verb "to be" can be used to tell how something is (the condition) and what something is (the essence). How is the apple? It is unripe. What color is the apple? It is green. In Spanish, a different verb is used to express "to be" depending on whether the speaker intends to address a condition or an essential quality. La manzana está verde. The apple is green. (condition) La manzana es verde. The apple is green. (essence) Note how the adjective "verde" actually changes meaning, depending upon whether it is used with ser or estar. La manzana está verde. (condition: verde = unripe) La manzana es verde. (essential characteristic: verde = color green) To address condition, use estar. To address an essential quality, use ser. If you are talking about what something is, use ser; if you are talking about how something is, use estar. What is she like? She is quiet. Use ser: Ella es callada. How is she acting? She is being quiet. Use estar: Ella está callada.
Ser is for the permanent state of "to be", examples: Soy una mujer, La gata es blanca. These are both conjugations of ser and they refer to permanent states of being, I am a woman and the cat is white. Estar is the temporary state of "to be", examples: Estoy enferma, La gata esta en la mesa. These are both temporary, I am sick and the cat is on the table.
Can't take credit for this, someone else posted it but I found it helpful: For how you feel and where you are, it's best to use the verb estar.
estar is for things that are more temporary, meaning they are not static conditions, whereas soy is for characteristics which are permanent.
Actually the question is answered on the lesson below: To be: Ser, Estar. If you hover with your mouse over the lesson, it will give a short description which explains it.
The way I know is that estar is for location or feelings/emotions, and soy is for description, occupation, job, or origin (where you were born).
Remember following mnemonic hint: ESTAR para los ESTADOS. [esp] estado = [eng] state. Whenever you are dealing with a temporal state of a thing, use ESTAR.
Note exception: ser estudiante
on this same point, for the sentence "we are the last ones" I wrote "estamos los ultimos" but the system wanted "somos los ultimos". Wouldn't you say being last is a state?
Right. And for example the sentence I had was: "Mis zapatos son nuevos". Following the logic of green apples, isn't it also a condition (new that will become old) like an unripe apple that will become ripe "La manzana está verde", but will always stay green "La manzana es verde"...?
The use of ser and estar is always a tricky one for native English speakers since we don't have this distinction. Generally speaking if you're talking about characteristics of a person e.g. they are tall, they are pretty etc. then you use ser. Ser is normally used for the more permanent characteristics. Generally, estar is used to describe things which change - i.e. more temporary states. So for your example:
Ella es grande - ser is used,as this is a characteristic.
Ella esta enferma - estar is used, since being sick is only a current state, which will change.
Obviously, there is more to it than that but as a general rule I find it very helpful!
Hope this helps!
The best explanation for ser is C.I.D classify, identify, and define, the link is for further explanations. http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/100848/ser-y-estar-by-lazarus#.UW1faUCkgVY
I think ser vs estar should be address when talking about the word enformo in this lesson because estar enfermo is very different from es enfermo.
The easiest that I have heard is that "Ser" is for descriptions, while "Estar" is for states of being. Feeling happy or sad is a state of being, while being a certain color or in a certain job is a description. I have yet to find any significant examples that do not follow this rule.