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Ser vs Estar

There are two 'to be' verbs in Spanish, ser and estar. Ser is used to describe the nature and characteristics of something (permanent). Estar is used to describe the current state of something (temporal).

  • La noche es oscura. Night is dark. (in general)
  • El cuarto está oscuro. The room is dark. (For example, the lights aren't working).
  • Ricardo es guapo. Richard is a handsome guy.
  • Ricardo está guapo. Richard looks handsome. (Maybe he is dressing up)
  • La falda es roja. The skirt is red.
  • El semáforo está rojo. The traffic light is red. (for the time being)
  • Helena es alegre. Helena is a happy person. (in general)
  • Helena está alegre. Helena is happy (right now).

Estar is also used to to when describing location.

  • Mi amigos están aqui. My friends are here.
  • La salida está allá. The exit is there.

PDF download: Ser vs Estar

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