The Spanish word es
I am having trouble understanding the multiple meanings. One minute it means is then the next it means it's. Is there a way to remember when to use it's and when to use is.
es means is, the problem you're probably having is that in Spanish, you can drop the subject, so the sentence that seems to be using es for it's, is actually dropping the it entirely and beginning the sentence with is. So for instance, It is a dog: es un perro.
Es - it is. Example: Es una manzana.
The verb ser (to be) . . . él, ella, usted (es). Example: Ella es una vegetariana.
Note, it is not something you need to understand, it is something you need to get used to. If you read short paragraphs, you will learn es quickly. I would suggest something like the First Spanish Reader. Keep in mind, you will come across many words with multiple meanings in Spanish or any other language like English. Just pay attention to the meanings that you come across consistently. Eventually you may have to study Ser vs Estar. You may have trouble with that because both verbs mean "to be." If you want easy clues to remember, check out Memrise.com.
. . . uhhh I hope this helps.
Think of it like this: In the sentence "It's cold" what we're really talking about with the word it, is the state of the weather. So you could be saying "It (the weather) is cold" so really, we've still got "is" implied in the sentence.
Is comes from the English verb "to be", as in "I am", "you are" "he/she/it is" "we are" "you plural are" "they are"
In Spanish, we can talk about being with two verbs, ser and estar. Es comes from ser, está comes from Estar.
Trying to remember when to use estar and ser in Spanish is really difficult from a language learning point of view, because in English we only have one verb to refer to all states of being. Really simply, ser is more permanent, estar is more of a temporary state of being.
In the case of trying to translate "it's cold", I'd say "está frio hoy", because actually, it could be warm soon. Use "es" to talk about more permanent things, such as "es my simpático"
I hope this helps. You just need to keep practicing. Lots of drills, perhaps write out how to conjugate the verbs. At school we'd have to recite how to conjugate the verbs, and it really helps you cement what you've learned. I sometimes find myself going "soy, eres, es, somos sois, son". Why don't they all start with s? It's an irregular verb, so it doesn't follow a predictable pattern and just needs to be learned.