Difference between “ser” and “estar”

Learning the differences between “ser” and “estar” is usually a headache for learners of Spanish. Always the same mistakes! Lot of students come to our school joining our intensive courses with this problem.

It’s time to fix this up, you can get it!

But this time I’m not the one giving tips, to help you with this I introduce you one of our best teachers at our school, Laura Rivas. After her deep explanation I’m sure you’ll understand every single difference between these verbs.

Laura has been our Spanish teacher for the past two years, and at the same time she has a Spanish lessons channel on YouTube (her user name is laulu) with more than 10.000 followers!! She loves to teach the Spanish language and she is also originally from Málaga, so we could say our school has grown with her together!

Most of the time, Laura is teaching Spanish in Spanish (even for beginners!), what’s something really hard to accomplish. This time I recover this video she made a few years ago for advanced students (you can also turn on subtitles on the video):



In case your Spanish skills are not so good to follow this video, I want to make it easy for you too. These are the uses for each verb:

We use “ser” for:

  1. Descriptions: Mi nombre es Jose Moreno.
  2. Occupations: Laura es profesora de Español.
  3. Characteristics: Nuestros cursos son divertidos.
  4. Time: Hoy es Jueves y son las 4 de la tarde.
  5. Origin: Laura y yo somos de Málaga.
  6. Relationships: ¡Laura y yo somos buenos amigos!

We use “estar” for:

  1. Position: Ahora mismo estoy sentado en el sofá.
  2. Location: El ordenador está sobre la mesa.
  3. Actions: Tú estás leyendo esta publicación.
  4. Conditions: Esta tarde estoy muy cansado.
  5. Emotions: Normalmente estoy de buen humor.

Some last tips to use these verbs properly:

  1. Use “ser” for permanence and “estar” for transience:
    Yo no soy alto. / Yo estoy cansado.
  2. Use “estar” when describing something in the moment:
    Ella es muy alegre. /  Hoy ella está enfadada.
  3. Use “estar” for location, except when speaking about events:
    El niño está en el colegio. / La fiesta es en mi casa.
  4. Use “ser” for an action and “estar” for a current condition:
    La camisa fue lavada por mi madre. / La camisa está limpia y seca para guardarla.
  5. Use “estar” to describe how food tastes but “ser” when referring to food on a menu of a restaurant:
    Esta paella está deliciosa. / La paella de ese restaurante es deliciosa.

I hope you understood the differences between “ser” and “estar”, otherwise you can always join a Spanish course at our school!  😉

Thanks Laura for your video!

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