Ser y estar

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Ser y estar

With many adjectives, we can use both ser SER and estar ESTAR for 'to be', the choice depending on:

  • whether we are signaling a temporary (estar) or permanent (ser) feature:

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).

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

Beatriz Borbollón está muerta desde hace una semana.

Beatriz Borbollón is dead.

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