Estar vs Ser
Although both the verbs, Estar and Ser, can be translated as ‘to be’, they both show some difference between them in usage. Estar and Ser are two major Spanish verbs. If the speaker has the intention of conveying a condition or a quality, then he uses the two verbs differently. Once you understand what is meant by a quality and what is meant by a condition then you will know when to use estar and when to use ser. Other than that, simply knowing the difference between the two verbs will not help you as both mean ‘to be’. Therefore, this article explains to you when to use which of the two.
In English, the verb ‘to be’ can be used to give the sense of condition and quality as well. However, in English the same verb is used and we have to understand whether it is a quality or a condition the verb refers to. Nevertheless, in Spanish the two verbs estar and ser are used differently to convey the sense of condition and quality.
What does Estar mean?
Estar as mentioned before means ‘to be,’ and it is used when we want to express a condition. Now, look at the following sentence.
The apple is green.
Here we are speaking of the condition of the apple. That means the apple is not ripe. Now, have a look at the following Spanish sentence.
La manzana esta verde.
It means ‘the apple is green’. Here, the ripe condition of the apple is meant. That means estar is the equivalent for English ‘to be’ when we are speaking about a condition.
What does Ser mean?
Ser also, as mentioned before, means ‘to be,’ and it is used when we want to express a quality. Now, look at the following sentence.
The apple is green.
Here, we are speaking of the quality or the characteristic of the apple. That means, the apple is green in colour. Colour is a quality. Now, have a look at the following Spanish sentence.
La manzana es verde.
It means ‘the apple is green.’ Here, the quality of the apple is meant. So, here, ser is the equivalent of English ‘to be’when we are speaking about a quality.
You can see that the verbs estar and ser are used differently. In English, you would find the verb ‘to be’ used without difference. In other words, it would be better to remember as follows:
Estar is an irregular verb in the Spanish language. Hence, it does not follow rules that pertain to regular verbs. Therefore, it is essential that you memorize its usage.
Seris an irregular verb too. It also does not follow the rules meant for regular verbs. Therefore, it goes without saying that it should be memorized along with its usage.
Look at these variations of Estar and Ser due to their irregular nature.
|Variations of “Estar”||Variations of “Ser”|
If you are intent on explaining what something is, then use ‘ser’. On the other hand, if you are intent on explaining how something is, then use ‘estar’.
What is the difference between Estar and Ser?
• To convey a sense of condition, you should use the verb ‘estar’.
• On the other hand, to convey a sense of quality you should use ‘ser’.
• Both ser and estar are irregular verbs. That means you have to memorize their usage.
• If you want to explain what something is use ser.
• If you want to explain how something is then use estar.
Once you memorize how the two words are conjugated and when to use them, you will be able use estar and ser without confusion.