SER or ESTAR? That is the question
Choosing between the verbs ser or estar can be confusing for those learning Portuguese. Let’s make it easier.
Both words mean to be and both are irregular verbs.
|ele / ela||é||está|
|eles / elas||são||estão|
The difference between ser and estar is in the way each is used. Typically, ser is used to describe more permanent states and to refer to time and dates.
|use of ser||example||translation|
|time and date||São seis horas.
|It's six o'clock.
|definitions||Duolingo é um aplicativo.||Duolingo is an app.|
|Esta explicação é importante.||This explanation is important.|
|professions||O Pedro é piloto.||Pedro is a pilot.|
|Eu sou alto.||I am tall.|
|origin||Nós somos do Canadá.||We are from Canada.|
|possessions||Esse celular é meu.||This cell phone is mine.|
|A festa é na minha casa.||The party is at my house.|
|materials||A mesa é de madeira.||The table is made of wood.|
|climate||A região é fria e húmida.||The region is cold and wet.|
Estar is used to describe states that are transitory or temporary.
|use of estar||example||translation|
|location||Luis mora em Londres mas está em Madri hoje.||Luis lives in London butis in Madrid today.|
|Não, você está enganado.||No, you're mistaken.|
|temporal situations||Essas roupas estão na moda.||These clothes are fashion.|
|weather||Está chovendo.||It's raining.|
|moods||Estou triste.||I'm sad.|
|the result of a process||O jantar está servido.||Dinner is served.|
Sometimes we can use both ser and estar with certain adjectives, but the meaning of the adjectives will change. Here are some examples.
|Ele é bonito.
He is good-looking.
|Ele está bonito.
He looks good (right now).
|Ela é mal-humorada.
She is a grumpy person.
|Ela está mal-humorada.
She is in a bad mood.
|Ela é decidida.
She is a decisive/determined person.
|Ela está decidida.
She has made her decision.
|Eles são chatos⁺⁺.
They are annoying.
|Eles estão chatos⁺⁺.
They are being annoying.
⁺⁺Chato can also mean boring or picky.
Practice your Portuguese!
Tell us in the comments section how you are feeling at this moment. What are you like normally?
Thank you very much! I will copy a.s.a.p. and place on my P. notice board and make sure I look at it every day until I absorb it naturally. I have just returned from a holiday in Portugal (lost my streak at sea - no sat nav!). Whilst there I was so happy how much I was able to make myself understood in so many different every day situations, having studied daily for 10 months with Duolingo plus assistance from U tube European P. to help me with the different pronunciation and some completely different words. I am only half way through my tree, but considering how well I managed when only half way through the course, I am very motivated to finish the tree and be able to converse easily when I visit Portugal again!!!! Muito Obrigada Duolingo :))
A somewhat-related question: If I were to say "if it's not acceptable", would it be advisable to use the conjunctive/subjunctive mood instead of the 3rd person conjugation? Or would the personal infinitive be even more appropriate?
So which (if any) of these would be correct?
A: "Se não é aceitável"
B: "Se não seja aceitável"
C: "Se não for aceitável"
Acho importante referir o verbo "ficar". Eu sei que, por si, o verbo significa "to stay" mas também pode-se traduzir para "to be".
Olha o que diz neste site: http://www.nativlang.com/po/qg_verbs_serestarficar.htm
When it comes to location (where something is), both ser and estar can be used. With stationary objects, such as buildings, places, or landmarks, the verb ser sounds more logical, but estar is also acceptable. Of course, you will also use the verb estar when talking about the location of a person or a moving object.
There is a third alternative: ficar. The word roughly means to be located, but it translates best to be when talking about location:
A casa fica aqui the house is here.
Eu fico na rua I'm in the street.
Ficar is also the Portuguese verb for to stay.