"We are not new."
Translation:Nós não somos novos.
"To be new" seems like a temporary state to me. Can anyone explain why 'ser' is the proper verb here?
"ser" (to be) means a long-term condition (Ex: I'm young = Eu sou jovem -- and that will continue up to some time... as well as Nós não somos jovens = We're not young). "Estar" (to be) means a temporary condition "I'm late for work" = estou atrasado pro trabalho -- at this moment)
An interesting semantic tangle. Apart from the fact that the English translation seems really odd, if we are not new then we are old and most of us can't get any younger so we are permanently old and therefore ser seems appropriate. Of course, when they are dead, then they would use "estar" (Paulo will tell me if I'm wrong) and they would say (figuratively of course) "Nós estamos mortos" :-)
You can also use "estar" for young/old. "Eu sou velho" (im old, i cant change it) "eu estou velho" (now, at this point of my life, im old). "Ele está morto" (he's in trouble, or he is dead) "ele é um morto" (he doesnt do anything -- or he is a walking dead!!!)
Do you mean the "We're dead" someone would say when he is in trouble? Like, you know, "When your father get's home you're going to get it!" In that case, I can see why that is temporary... and amusing. :)
No, I meant literally dead; I used the word "figuratively" because dead people can't talk - sorry I wasn't very clear. Anyway, I can't think of anything more permanent than being dead, despite this the correct choice of "to be" for this state is estar.
If he is literally dead use "estar". Expressions using "morto/a/os/as" - estar morto de = "have much" - "estou morto de fome" = lit: i have much hunger (i am starving)."estamos mortos de sono" = we are too drowsy. "To be a dead" = "to be a lazy person. Ele é um morto = he is too lazy, has no initiatives ;)
Thank you Paulo. I'll try not be "um morto" while you are watching me.
Maybe it's not obvious to you as a native speaker, but the association of estar with being dead is at first sight puzzling to us English speakers. Although it is a bit technical, for anyone interested, here is a wikipedia article that sheds some light on the matter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance_copula
It boils down to this (**): "It is often stated that the difference between the two verbs [ser and estar] corresponds to "permanent" versus "temporary", but it is more accurate to describe the distinction as one of "essential nature" [ser] versus "state or condition" [estar]". So death is not seen as part of one's essential nature but is simply a state like having pimples which will clear up soon.
(**) I've taken quite a liberty by using that quote because it comes from the section on Spanish (I added the references to "ser" and "estar"). The article goes on to comment on the differences between Spanish and Portuguese: "[In Portuguese] there is perhaps a little more of a concept of permanent versus temporary, rather than essence versus state." It does not change the fact that estar is used for death.
Thank you so vey much....Certamente você não é um morto!!!