"The boys are fine, thanks."
Translation:Los niños están bien, gracias.
markwest- you have to use estar because it's temporary. Children are fine, for the moment, but maybe tomorrow they won't be.
I learned years ago that using a conjugation of "ser" with bien has a sexual connotation. As in "she's good." I don't know if that's universal, though.
los niños son buenos, gracias didn't work either. I didn't say it is right, I just don't know why it's wrong
This is me 2 weeks later. Now I have the answer to my own question above. Thanx DL :)
"Los niños están bien, gracias". =The boys are fine (For now anyway, but that could change) i.e. ""Estoy enfermo" (I'm ill but I hope to get better) "Soy enfermo" (I'm ill and it's terminal) or, depending on context (I'm a sick, twisted individual and should be locked up) :(
Thanks, but I was more interested in knowing what 'bien' is doing here and why it is not in a plural form. Am I right to be under the impression that the word 'bien' actually refers to 'están' rather than 'niños' and is a quality of their 'being' rather than the boys themselves?
Can anyone explain the circumstances wherein you should use esta as opposed to son/es/etc?
The verb "estar" means "to be" just like the verb "ser" means "to be." However, "estar" is used usually for more temporary meaning. For example, location ("She's in the kitchen" = "Ella está en la cocina" or "It's under the tree" = "Está debajo del arbol") and conditions ("I'm tired" = "Estoy cansado" or "The plates are dirty" = "Los platos están sucios"). Any of these things could potentially change the next day or even in the next moment. That's why the verb "estar" is used. The verb "ser" is used for generally more permanent things. For example, nationality ("We are American" = "Somos americanos" or "He is Puerto Rican" = "Él es puerto riqueño") and characteristics ("They are intelligent" = "Ellos son inteligentes" or "You are so tall!" = "¡Tú eres tan alto!") and profession ("I'm a lawyer" = "Soy abogado" or "We are actors" = "Somos actores") and several other uses too numerous to list here. True, some of these things that use the verb "ser" could change, but they are generally more permanent.
I hope this helps to clarify a bit!
paullatino- You are right about your explanation about temporary, it needs estar, but some of your exemples are more about location. ellá está en la cocina. está debajo del arbol- So with those 2 sentences, it's about location not temporary meaning.