"The bikes are new."
Translation:Las bicicletas son nuevas.
That 'rule' is way too much of a simplification and I personally believe it does more harm than good. If you treat them that way you will constantly end confused due to exceptions. The difference between ser and estar is one that English speakers struggle with constantly because they are extremely nuanced.
This sentence uses ser because being new is a definitive characteristic even though not a permanent one. Ser is used with definitive characteristics. Even though the bike may not be new to you, if I'm buying it from you just now, it's new to me - the actual condition of the bike does not necessarily affect its "newness".
Rather than thinking of ser as used for things which are permanent and estar as used for things which are temporary, I would like to suggest that you think of them as follows and you will be wrong far less often:
- Ser pertains to identity (with all of its elements)
- Estar pertains to states of being: condition, location, and motion (the present progressive). However, keep in mind that condition does not include definitive characteristics.
There are a couple of acronyms I ran across that I think help:
- For ser, remember the acronym DOCTOR (Description, Occupation, Characteristic, Time, Origin, and Relationship)
- For estar, remember the acronym PLACE (Position, Location, Action, Condition, and Emotion)
EDIT: I see you found the two acronyms from one of your posts below.
Yes I probably asked this question a couple months ago and resolved it myself later. But what you said is helpful and others will benefit too. Thanks for an indepth response.
Son nuevas means "are brand new", estan nuevas means "are like new". Both translations are valid for this exercise, depending on the circumstances. Therefore estan should not be considered an error here.
So looking at this again using the two acronyms DOCTOR & PLACE we've been told about we are talking about a description (D). It doesn't fit under p.l.a.c.e. So while the general rule is temporary/permanent it doesn't work all the time. I am learning this too and I keep going through these two acronyms to see which works best. I still make many mistakes.
Hmmm, seems like it could fall under condition (C) quite naturally as well. But I'm just a gringo so what do I know?? :-P
This is how Condition was described
Physical and mental conditions are described using estar.Estoy tan cansada esta mañana. (I am so tired this morning.)Mis niños están enfermos hoy. (My children are sick today.)Mi madre está un poca loca. (My mother is (acting) a little crazy.)