Raciel Hernández
Professional Teacher
Easy Ways To Understand the Difference Between Ser and Estar
¿What is a simple way to understand the differences between ser and estar?
 
The most common, and perhaps simple, explanation for Ser is that it signifies a permanent state of being. Contrarily, Estar signifies a more temporary state of being.
 
However, there are exceptions to this explanation, for example both of these sentences are correct: Mi hermano es alto AND Mi hermano está alto.
 
It will be more clear if you understand:
 
1) Verb “Estar” uses:
 
a) Continuous or changing process. Example: el jarron esta roto (the jar is broken). It may be broken, but it can change its quality if we fix it.
b) Immediate experience. Example: You see a kid and you note if they are short or tall: ese niño esta alto (That child is tall). According to what we saw we say that the child has this characteristic and you can use Estar. 
2) Verb “Ser” uses:
 
Ser is used to describe characteristics that are not changing, or generally accepted truths.
 
Example: El café es amargo (Coffee is bitter). This statement comes from a concrete and general reality. That is, we do not need to try coffee to know that this is always so.
 
What are the most common uses?
 
Below you will see how Ser and Estar are used in day to day Spanish.
 
Check it out:
 
1. Verb Ser (Describing permanent characteristics and generally accepted truths)
a) Physical characteristics
 
Marco es Alto (Marco is Tall)
Mi amigo Ernesto es muy delgado (My friend Ernesto is very thin)
b) Dates and Time
 
Mañana es Miercoles (Tomorrow is Wednesday)
Son las Tres de la Tarde (It’s 3 pm)
c) Time and Place
 
La fiesta será el martes (The party will be Tuesday)
El concierto de Radiohead será en el Estadio Azteca (Radiohead concert will be at Aztec Stadium)
d) Character

Mi tio es aburrido (My uncle is boring)
Los niños son muy divertidos (Kids are funny)
e) Can be used when there is a passive voice
 
Las camas son hechas por María (The beds are made by Maria)
Las investigaciones son hechas por los científicos (The research is done by the Scientists)
f) Function of something
 
Esta máquina es para hacer helados (This machine is for making Ice-Cream)
La Lavadora es para lavar la ropa (The washer is for cleaning the clothes)
g) The cost of something, you can use Ser to ask for prices
 
¿Cuanto es por los zapatos? (How much for the shoes?)
¿ Cuanto es por el refresco? (How much for the Coke? )
h) Material of an object
 
Este Anillo es de Oro (This ring is gold)
Esta blusa es de Seda (This shirt is silk)
i) Possession
 
La pluma es del profesor (The pen is the teacher’s)
La computadora es de mi Hermano (The computer is of Professor)
j) Origin

Mi mejor amigo es de Peru (My best friend is from Peru)
Yo soy de Mexico (I’m from Mexico)
2. Verb Estar (Temporary states or changing processes)
a) Health condition
 
Estoy muy enfermo (I’m very Sick)
Estoy enfermo del estomago (My stomach hurts)
b) Mood
 
Estoy muy triste (I’m very sad)
Mi tío está muy feliz por la llegada de su hijo (My uncle is very happy for the arrival of his new baby
c) The location of an event or monument
 
Mi hermano esta viendo el Fútbol en el Estadio Azteca (My brother is watching soccer at the Aztec Stadium)
Mi tia esta en una fiesta (My aunt is at a Party)
d) Age

Mi abuela esta muy joven (Mi grandmother is young)
Tus tíos estan muy viejos (Your uncles are old)
e) Price (These expressions is more common in Spain)
 
¿A cuánto están las papas? (How much do the potatoes cost? )
¿A cuanto están los frijoles (How much do the beans cost?)
f) When you are in someone’s company
 
Estoy con mi mamá (I’m with my Mom)
Estoy trabajando con un amigo (I’m working with a friend)
g) Actual price of Something

Este departamento esta en 1000 pesos al mes (This flats costs 1000 pesos per month)
Este mango está en 20 pesos (This mango costs 20 pesos)
h) With gerunds
 
Estoy trabajando (I’m working)
Mi hermano estaba cantando (My brother was singing)
i) To tell someone you have a relationship with another person
 
Desde hace un año estoy con Julio (I’ve been with Julio for five years)
Estoy con Maria desde hace tres años (I’ve been with Maria for three years)

Taken from Blania <a href="https://www.blania.co/difference-ser-estar/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.blania.co/difference-ser-estar/</a>;
Jun 2, 2020 11:26 PM
Comments · 1
Thank you for all of your examples of how to use these two verbs.
June 2, 2020
Raciel Hernández
Language Skills
English, Spanish
Learning Language
English