Ser and estar

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Ser and estar

Many adjectives can be used with ser ser, presente and estar estar, presente.

  • As a general rule, we use estar to describe a temporary condition, and ser to describe something more permanent:

Magda es guapa (siempre).

Magda is pretty (always).

Magda está muy guapa (hoy en particular).

Magda looks very pretty (today in particular).

Nacho es feliz (en general).

Nacho is happy (in general).

Nacho está feliz (en este momento).

Nacho is happy (right now).

  • The meaning of some adjectives changes depending on the verb:

Teo está despierto (dejó de dormir).

Teo is awake (he’s not asleep anymore).

Teo es muy despierto (vivaz, listo).

Teo is very bright (spirited, smart).

  • Exception: with the adjective muerto (dead), we always use the verb estar (to be):

Beatriz Borbollón está muerta desde hace una semana.

Beatriz Borbollón has been dead for a week.

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