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Ser and Estar: An Easy Trick for Using These Verbs

Do you know how to say the verb "to be" in Spanish? The answer to that question has two options: ser and estar. In fact, mastering the verbs ser and estar is one of the first challenges you need to tackle when learning Spanish. In order to help you out with this challenge, we're going to share a very simple trick with you. Hopefully, it will help you remember when to use ser and estar.  

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Two words for learning the difference between ser and estar

The trick is very simple. All you need to remember are these two words: DOCTOR and PLACE. Use the former for the verb ser and the latter for the verb estar.

 

DOCTOR for ser

 

The word DOCTOR stands for the following: 

 

Description

Occupation

Characteristic

Time

Origin

Relationship.

 

Let's see some examples using the third person singular of ser in the present tense:

 

Description

 

"El coronavirus es un virus contagioso".

"The coronavirus is a contagious virus."

Caption 27, El coronavirus - Introducción y vocabulario

 Play Caption

 

Occupation

 

Tu papá es jefe de cartera, mi amor.

Your dad is a portfolio manager, my love.

Caption 52, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 3

 Play Caption

 

Characteristic

 

Él es un chico... Es muy simpático.

He's a guy... He's very nice.

Caption 52, Clase Aula Azul - Información con subjuntivo e indicativo

 Play Caption

 

Time

 

Diremos, "¿Qué hora es?"

We'll say, "What time is it?"

Caption 49, Español para principiantes - La hora

 Play Caption

 

Origin

 

Mi... mi madre es libanesa, mi padre de España.

My... my mother is Lebanese, my father [is] from Spain.

Caption 67, Eljuri - Hablamos Con La Artista Sobre Su Nuevo Álbum

 Play Caption

 

Relationship

 

Esa es mi tía Silvia.

That is my Aunt Silvia.

Caption 24, Español para principiantes - Demostrativos

 Play Caption

 

PLACE for estar

 

The word PLACE stands for the following:

 

Position

Location

Action

Condition

Emotion

 

Let's see some examples using the first person singular of estar in the present tense:

 

Position

 

Ahora, estoy en el centro.

Now, I'm in the center.

Caption 25, Raquel - Las direcciones

 Play Caption

 

Location

 

Ahora estoy en el Monumento Natural Dunas de Artola,

Now I'm at the Dunas of Artola [Artola Dunes] Natural Monument,

en la Playa de Cabopino.

on Cabopino Beach.

Captions 31-32, Viajando con Fermín - Dunas de Marbella

 Play Caption

 

Action

 

Silvia, ¿qué estás haciendo?

Silvia, what are you doing?

Estoy bebiendo un vaso de agua.

I'm drinking a glass of water.

Captions 25-26, El Aula Azul - Actividades diarias: En casa con Silvia

 Play Caption

 

Condition

 

Ay... ¿Y puedes llamar a mi trabajo y decir que estoy enferma?

Oh... And can you call my work and say I'm sick?

Caption 4, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 2: Sam va de compras

 Play Caption

 

Emotion

 

Estoy triste.

am sad.

Estoy triste.

I am sad.

Captions 9-10, El Aula Azul - Estados de ánimo

 Play Caption

 

Finally, we want to leave you with a little rhyme that will help you to choose the appropriate verb between ser and estar. This little rhyme, which is quite handy for the verb estar, goes like this:

 

For how you feel and where you are,

always use the verb ESTAR. 

 

In other words, keep in mind that when talking about emotions and location you should always use the verb estar.

 

That's it for today. We hope this little trick helps you to understand the difference between ser and estar, a little bit better. And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions

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