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Ser (with the conjugation es) is used for describing identities and characteristics, and talking about when something happens. For instance:
- Soy maestra. - I am a teacher. (That is what I am.)
- El presidente no es inteligente. - The president is not intelligent. (It's a characteristic of him.)
- La fiesta es esta noche. - The party is tonight.
Estar (with the conjugation está) is used to describe states or conditions, and talking about where something is. For example:
- La calle está oscuro. - The street is dark. (Maybe because one of the lights went out. If you were talking about the actual colour, you'd use es.)
- Estoy enfermo. - I am ill. (It's my current state.)
- Roma está en Italia. - Rome is in Italy.
It kind of leads you to the assumption that it's something permanent vs. temporary, but that thought is misleading, so you shouldn't trust it. The locations of cities are pretty permanent and they take estar. Or being dead: El hombre está muerto.
If you want to go in deep, here is a really good and comprehensive resource regarding this topic.
Great explanation, thanks. Just one small thing to add which confused me in the beginning, even when talking about location of events, you need to use ser. But only for events, objects and people use estar. For example: The party is at my house. -- La fiesta es en mi casa.
Also note, there are more complicated cases, eg. some adjectives can use both with different meaning: Es rubia - She is blonde. | Está rubia - She dyes her hair blonde.
There are good articles on the basics online, search for "ser vs estar".
I just aimed to give a basic overview. There's a lot to that topic. Reading up guides and delving into actual Spanish writing is still the best method to get a good grasp.
There are even some non-event objects that can use ser with a location. "Nuestra casa es aquí", for instance, where you don't assume that our home is a physical object within the place of "here", but you equate "here" and "our home". "This place is what our home is", so to say.
Yay for nontrivial cases. :)
Sure, that's pretty permanent. That's just where the confusion comes from. Many people say that "you use ser for permanent things and estar for temporary things". It holds kind of true for most situations, like (rather permanent) characteristics and jobs using ser:
- Él es puntual. - He is punctual (a punctual person).
- La manzana es verde. - The apple is green. (its natural colour)
- Ella es la jefa. - She is the boss.
... and (fleeting) moods and conditions using estar:
- Él está punctual. - He is on time.
- La manzana está verde. - The apple is unripe.
But locations of objects most always use estar to be described, no matter the permanence:
- El hombre está en el jardín. - The man is in the garden.
- Islandia está en el Atlántico Norte. - Iceland is in the North Atlantic.
So, that "ser = permanent and estar = temporary" thing might be helpful in some situations, but you shouldn't rely on it too much.
Linda: the reason estar is used for locations is that it derives from the Latin verb "stare", which means "to stand". That verb is used to talk about where something is located, and - pretty literally - to describe states.
Stand - state - stare - estar: these words are cognates.
Back when PIE or Latin or Spanish evolved, mountain ranges and landmarks tended to be very permanent.
Perce, I wrote that comment over a year ago. Who knows what I was thinking? :)
There are two possibilities here. One, I tend to use "most always" when I haven't found any counterexamples yet, but my gut feeling about the language wouldn't rule out that there's some corner case where that rule breaks down.
The other possibility is that I was thinking about location identity here. For instance, there is a sentence in this course that says something like "La salida es aquí" - "The exit is here." On first glance you'd think since we're talking about the location of an object, you should use estar in this case. But we're not talking about the location of the exit here, rather about its identity. Basically:
- La salida está aquí. - The exit is located in this place.
- La salida es aquí. - The exit is this place.
The reasoning that makes "estar" used for locations is that they are subject to change, such as mountain ranges that could tumble, volcanoes that could change their shape, or locations that could burn down.
Also, "estar" is used for emotions. When "ser" is used with a descriptive adjective, "ser" is used to indicate that the emotion being described is not temporary but rather a permanent personality trait. For example, "Estoy miedo" = "I am afraid," but "Soy miedo" = I am a coward." (There is quite a difference between a situation making you afraid, and having a craven disposition.)
Are you teacher!!!!!!!! It's very imeresting.Es usted una profesora.Que interesante,como si a todo el mundo, le importara su trabajo.Hay personas que fingen o mienten acerca de su trabajo,no le cuente a nadie que no sea parte de su familia, su vida privada . Porque a nadie,excepto su familia le interesa.Espero,que lo haya entendido y no vuelva a cometer el mismo error. APRENDA DE LOS ERRORES Y NO LOS VUELVA A COMETER
Lunaperez apparently assumed that my earlier statement of "Soy profesora" would be a statement about myself in real life, and, for some reason, talking about your job on an online platform is "a mistake".
My reply translates as the following:
"I am not a teacher. :)
"The sentence 'Soy profesora' was just an example for showing the usage of the verb 'ser'."
For conditions estar is used, no matter how permanent.
- Siempre estoy cansado. - I am always tired.
- Mi madre está muerta. - My mother is dead.
- El coche está pintado de azul. - The car is painted blue.
Ser (with the conjugation es) is used for characteristics, things that are inherent to the object you're describing.
- Ella es muy inteligente. - She is very intelligent.
- ¿Por qué esta manzana es blanca? - Why is this apple white?
"But in Catholic Spanish culture, dead is overwhelmingly viewed as a temporary state."
Coming back to this page after a year, and reading all of the new comments, I had to rethink this comment, to which lunaperez289027 had responded "What are you saying!!!???!!!" What I remembered was another comment on another page, a comment saying that "estar" was used because Christianity teaches about "life after death." That is why I wrote the first paragraph of this comment a year ago.
Accordingly, especially given the background about "estar" coming from "stare," I think I'll stick with RyagonIV on this one.
P.S. Thanks for the info about "stare," RyagonIV.
Perce, both ser and estar are regularly used with past participles. It just comes down again to whether the property you're talking about is part of the nature of the object (ser) or not (estar).
Mi hija está cansada. - My daughter is bored.
Esta película es cansada. - This film is boring.
Ese dragón es pintado. - That dragon is painted.
Esa pared está pintada. - That wall is painted (on).
El actor es conocido. - The actor is well-known.
Ser is used to classify and identify permanent or lasting attributes. A little trick to help you remember: think of the acronym DOCTOR, which stands for Description, Occupation, Characteristic, Time, Origin, and Relationship. Estar is used to indicate temporary states and "locations", which this is here.
Hello Spanish lovers and learners! I have seen a lot of questions on when to know if esta or es should be used. Here is a basic way to understand the difference:
Esta and es both mean "is".
Esta is more permanent, and shows something is happening. Like a statement. "El hotel esta cerrado" means the hotel is closed. This statement is permanent. The hotel is closed. No excuses.
Es describes. It still means "is" but it is used in describing something. "El taxi es rouge" (though most are yellow) means the taxi is red. It describes that the taxi is coloured red. One more "es" example.. "El hotel es azul" means the hotel is blue. It is a description. So es describes.
To make it a lot easier to remember, I made up a sentence: Es describes the permanent esta statement.
Hope this helped!
This interpretation is a bit wild and I dare say not very helpful. Estar is permanent and shows that something is happening? What exactly is happening in "El hotel está cerrado"? Why would it be permanent if the hotel could be closed for just fifteen minutes? (Okay, unrealistic for a hotel, but you could likewise say "La tienda está cerrada.")
The category for "describing something" is a little broad as well. I could describe an apple as "being ripe" and it would use estar in Spanish: "La manzana está madura."
Think about how you would categorise these sentences:
- Nuestra casa está aquí. - Our house is here.
- La isla está en el mar. - The island is in the sea.
- El hombre está en la habitación. - The man is in the room.
- Él está corriendo por el bosque. - He is running throught the forest.
- Mi abuela está enferma. - My grandmother is ill.
- El gato está muerto. - The cat is dead.
- El texto está en español. - The text is in Spanish.
- La casa está oscura. - The house is dark. (The lights are out.)
- La casa es oscura. - The house is dark. (It has a dark colour.)
- Mi hija es muy alta. - My daughter is very tall.
- Mi padre es policía. - My father is a policeman.
- Ese viejo es de un país extraño. - That old man is from a strange land.
- La reunión es el veintidós. - The meeting is on the twenty-second.
- Nuestra casa es aquí. - Our home is here.
Also "rouge" is French, or a bat. You'll want rojo here.
RyagonIV, thank you so much for catching my blunder. To write such an incorrect comment, I must have been distracted, because English Passive Voice ("is" + past participle) and English Present Progressive tense ("is" + present participle) definitely ARE NOT THE SAME THING.
I edited my comment to omit my conflation of English passive voice and Spanish Present Continuous Tense. I don't want anyone else to read my bad logic and perhaps be influenced by it. I just left the parts that are true, even if they are somewhat off topic.
-Clairethewizard, "esta" is used with "cerrando" because it is Spanish Present Continuous/Progressive Tense, which consists of the word "está" (is) as the first part of the compound verb and the present participle "cerrando" (closed) as the second part of the compound verb.
Both the Spanish Continuous Tense and the English Present Progressive Tense use some form of "to be" (ser) + the present participle; for example "is closing"/"está cerrando." In this way, they are very similar: both can be used to describe what is happening at the present moment, as in "La puerta está cerranda" (The door is closed). To native English speakers, whether the door will be open later is not indicated if the sentence has no contextual framework. However, the use of Spanish Continuous Tense indicates to native Spanish speakers that the door "will not be open for long."
Native Spanish speakers use the Spanish Continuous Tense to be emphatic. Native English speakers, on the other hand, use English Progressive Tense interchangeably with English Present Tense. Conversely, Spanish speakers habitually use Spanish Present Tense for the meanings conveyed by both English Present Tense and English Present Progressive Tense.
You're mixing up a very crucial thing here: progressive expressions are formed with a form of "to be"/estar and the present participle of the full verb, not the past participle. A progressive example:
- Él está cerrando la puerta. - He is closing the door.
The sentence "El hotel está cerrado" is not a progressive form; it describes a state rather than a progress. The hotel is closed and nothing is moving. Cerrado is a past participle form, which is used here as a (static) adjective.
Also I wouldn't call "red" a condition, unless we're talking about someone's face. Colour is usually an inherent characteristic to some object.
- Su cara está roja de ira. - His face is red with anger.
- La bandera es roja con rayas blancas. - The flag is red with white stripes.
listening to the audio makes figuring out what they said difficult on this particular statement. I am not hearing está what so ever. I hear the "es" connected to hospital, "hospital-es", and tá being connected to aqui, "tá-qui". Are they being lazy or is that how people speak normally? Combining words.
Sim, I think every languages does something like that. You generally don't pronounce spaces. That might just be a bit more extreme in Spanish because it has easy-to-pronounce syllables that you can just string together at a high speed. The way you describe it sounds right.
They are both definite articles, translating as "the" in English. But if you remember that Spanish is a language that has gendered nouns, a pattern should emerge: la is used with feminine nouns, and el with masculine nouns.
- la mujer (the woman), la silla (the chair), la camisa (the shirt)
- el hombre (the man), el hospital (the hospital), el vestido (the dress)
Tashfia, the verb ser (with the conjugation es) is used to talk about the identity and characteristics of some object, as well as the time and place of an event:
- Soy tu nuevo vecino. - I am your new neighbour. (identity)
- La niña es alta. - The girl is tall. (characteristic)
- El baile es el viernes. - The dance is on Friday. (time of event)
Estar (with the conjugation está) is used to talk about a condition or state that some object is in, as well as the location of an object:
- El perro está cansado. - The dog is tired. (condition)
- Estoy en la cocina. - I am in the kitchen. (location of an object)
Spelling errors and typos may be perfectly tolerable in the normal everyday world, but this is a language course and stricter standards are correctly being applied.
Duo does try to make allowances and will typically:
tolerate a single letter error (missing, extra or incorrect)
only issue warnings about incorrect accents
ignore punctuation other than apostrophe and quotation marks
ignore case (UPPER, lower, MiXeD)
El is only the singular masculine article. It never means "my".
But English sometimes uses "my" where Spanish uses el because they don't use the same grammatical expressions. For example:
- Me quito el vestido. - I am taking off my dress. (lit. "I take the dress off myself.")
- ¿Tengo algo en el cabello? - Do I have something in my hair? (lit. "Do I have something in the hair?")
That mainly happens when you're talking about inalienable objects, usually body parts or clothes you're wearing. If the context of the sentence already makes clear whose body parts or clothes they are, you don't need to mention the owner again.
The literal translation of "aquí" is "here." "This way" and "here" have different meanings. The only time to use interpretations instead of translations is when the colloquial usages are different. For example, "¿Qué años tiene?" colloquially translates to "How old are you?" because the literal translation, "What years have you?" is not the normal colloquial way that English speakers say it.
Why is there no accent on the last syllable of "hospital?" Just because, I suppose.
Because the stress naturally falls on the last syllable in that word. The pronounciation rules of Spanish govern that, unless there is an accent on a vowel:
- The stress is placed on the second-to-last syllable if the word ends on a vowel, s, or n.
- The stress is placed on the last syllable in all other cases.
So hospital doesn't get an accent, but cárcel does.
What has been confusing me is that in English a condition is sometimes a characteristic.
Q: "What is her condition?" (¿Qué es su condición?) A: "She is ill." (Está enferma.)
In Spanish, the question calls for "ser" because it literally asks about a condition, and the answer calls for "estar" because it is about health.
In the English dialogue example that I gave, both "condition" and "ill" refer to the same thing and the English verb "is" is used. It is colloquial English to understand that the "condition" of her health is "illness" BOTH at this moment OR for always. Conversely, Spanish speakers specify that the illness a permanent characteristic (think "infirm"/sickly/muscular dystrophy") by using "ser," and specify that the illness is a temporary condition (think "cold/flu/measles") by using "estar."
I think this is correct. If any native Spanish speaker or very knowledgeable Spanish-as-a-second-language student would confirm my thesis, I would be very grateful. If my hypothesis is incorrect, perhaps they could use the same example to explain why.
The question would be "¿Cuál es su condición?" Remember that "qué es" asks for definitions and "cuál es" looks for an answer.
"¿Cuál es su condición?" is - grammatically - not asking about a condition. Otherwise it'd be asking about the condition of the object "her condition". Instead, it asks about an identity. It says "what? = condition", and such identities use the verb ser.
In "Está enferma" you're talking about the condition of the subject ella.
Hi, I'm Justin. I typed "The hospital is here," instead of "El hospital esta aqui" and it said I was wrong. When the exam said "Type what you hear," I thought I was supposed to translate it. Is there any way you could fix the question to clarify that you want them to type exactly what they hear? Thank you in advance. = )
How hard would it be to make "The Hospital is here," a viable answer to the question? The person already has to understand what the speaker is saying in Spanish in order to translate it into English. I certainly heard: "El hospital esta aqui," I just thought I was supposed to translate it into the language that I was taking the test in. I did what was expected me which was to comprehend what the speaker was saying. I typed what I heard, I just typed it in English.
Duolingo's framework doesn't allow for multiple sentences to be correct for a "type what you hear" task. The reason is that the sentence you need to type is referencing the sentence that is being spoken (which can easily be a terrible idea in programming). So if you added a second sentence there, you'd suddenly have two different starting points.
You should make a difference between "hearing" and "understanding", it seems. In any case, now you know what to do with these tasks.