The "temporary/permanent" understanding of ser/estar is useful, but not a strict rule. It comes from the fact that feelings use estar and characteristics use ser, and in this meaning of the two the estar is temporary and ser is permanent. However, there are other uses of both that have nothing to do with how long something is done.
One is location. Location uses estar. It has nothing to do with temporary/permanent. "Es" is only used for locations of events, like where something is happening at the moment. A party, or a concert. So, with place the meaning is actually the opposite. Ser is for where temporary events are happening, and estar is for simply stating location.
Another example is facts. "son los cinco y media." "It is 5:30" This is, of course, temporary, but we still use ser.
Thank you for your helpful explanation, Nick.
I've just noticed that the Duolingo App on an iPad includes grammar notes, but on my desktop where I usually do my Duolingo sessions, you can't see those notes. The grammar notes for this one, 'Travel 3', explains about estar for location. I'll have to make sure I get to see the grammar notes!
I have a question about the "está" in this sentence. My understanding is that "ser" is used for unchanging states of being. For example, "I am tall (implied: and I always will be)." Conversely, "estar" is used for changing states of being, for example "it is cloudy (implied: at the moment, but it isn't always cloudy".
So, my question is: why is está used here when the location of a building is a fixed state? Wouldn't the university always be nearby here? Is it just an exception to the rule? Or do I not understand the rule accurately? Thanks for your help.
"Cerca aquí" is incorrect. If you're using cerca to say "close to [something]", you need to use the de. Cerca itself is only an adverb (most closely translating to "close" or "close by"), but if you want to use it with a noun or pronoun, you need a preposition instead. That's the purpose of the de.
- La escuela está cerca. - The school is close.
- La escuela está cerca de aquí. - The school is close to here.
- La policia siempre está cerca aquí. - The police is always nearby here. (Not "close to this place" but "in this place, they are close".)
I just re-read your above explanation. Wasn't clear the first time I read it a few days ago. Probably b/c I'm not crying from frustration like I was the other day. That day when I was getting about one out of eight sentences correct and about ready to give up forever. (But I'm better now!) ;-) gracias
The 'de' between 'cerca' and 'aqui' really throws me for a loop. So I hovered over it and the clue was that cerca+de= nearest. I thought, 'that doesn't sound right' but since that what it said, it's what i put down and then I got it wrong. And their correct answer doesn't make sense. After reading all the comments here, I understand that for some reason not really explained is that between the words cerca and aqui, its needed. How are we supposed to know, for future words, when a sentence needs an extra, basically unused word, between two other words? WHY does the 'de' go there? B/c 'de' means from and 'near from here' doesnt mean squat in english! What is worng with just saying 'cerca aqui'??
So 'a' in spanish meaning 'to' is used only when it has to do with going somewhere? Like 'un boleto a Madrid'? And when 'to' is used to mean something that doesn't move or is not moving? like 'Mi bicicleta esta cerca de tu carro'? I just want to make sure I got this right before I go on.
"Un boleto a Madrid" works, but nothing is really moving there. I was more talking about things like "ir a Madrid" or "caminar al parque". When you have a movement like this, a indicates the goal of that movement.
(Also note that Spanish uses a like this in somce circumstances where English doesn't use "to". Like in "llegar a la estación", "to arrive at the station", or "entrar al hotel", "to enter the hotel". Those are still goals of movements.)
When "to" doesn't refer to the goal of a movement, well, in those cases you have to figure out what the "to" refers to instead. You can't have a sweeping translation for that. Prepositions are usually the wildest part of any European language because the same word gets used in very different circumstances.
He is close to the car. - Él está cerca del coche.
I want to learn to dance. - Quiero aprender bailar.
You have to do this. - Tienes que hacer esto.
I am starting to worry. - Empiezo a preocuparme.
I'm here to help. - Estoy aquí para ayudar.
She is happy to see you. - Ella está feliz de verte.
It is quarter to three. - Es las tres menos cuarto.
The technical reason is that cerca is an adverb, but adverbs don't interact directly with (pro)nouns. Just like in English where you can't say "I am close the library." Instead, you need to put a preposition in between to make them play nice. That's "to" in English and de in Spanish.
You have a lot more of these intermediate prepositions in Spanish than in English:
- La gata está debajo de la silla. - The cat is under the chair.
- El cuadro está encima de la nevera. - The painting is above the fridge.
- Corré alrededor del bosque. - I ran around the forest.
Why is "de" necesary? it seems to be completely left out of the translation. What would "La universidad está cerca aqui" translate to? How does one determine when to include a totally arbitrary and seemingly unnecesary preposition to a sentence? How do we know whether de means "To or From" when used this way?
"La universidad está cerca aquí" would mean something like "Here the university is around". It would make sense, but doesn't sound good.
The totally arbitrary and seemingly unnecessary preposition is used here because cerca itself is not a preposition. It's an adverb, meaning "nearby". To have it play nice with nouns and pronouns, you have to add de. The same happens with a number of adverbs:
- debajo de la silla - under the chair
- encima del armario - above the wardrobe
- dentro de tu alma - inside your soul
- alrededor de la casa - around the house