In our previous lesson we discussed the memorization of short phrases as a strategy to gain confidence when conversing in Spanish. The idea is to memorize specific chunks of speech and use them as building blocks to create more complex ideas. In this lesson we will focus on exploring phrases that use the verb esté.
The verb esté is a conjugated form of the verb estar (to be) in the present subjunctive. Let's see how speakers use it in everyday speech and learn how to build new sentences with it.
You can find many examples of the phrase para que esté in our catalog of videos. This phrase is used to express purpose and it's usually followed by an adjective or a verb in participio (-ado, -ido, -to, -so, -cho endings and its feminine and plural variants):
uno trata de abarcar lo más posible para que esté protegida lo más posible, ¿no?
one tries to cover as much as possible so that she would be as protected as she can be, right?
Captions 55-56, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 5Play Caption
In this case the speaker is talking about another person, a woman. The pronoun ella (she) is not needed in Spanish but you can actually add pronouns, names, or noun phrases between que and esté. You can also use actual adjectives instead of participios. For example:
para que Luisa esté protegida | So that Luisa would be protected.
para que el niño esté sano | So that the kid is healthy.
para que el trabajo esté terminado | So that the job is finished.
Here's an example from our catalog:
para que la patata esté blanda, se tiene que cocer mucho la crema
in order for the potato to be soft, the cream has to be cooked a lot
Captions 43-44, Cómetelo - Crema de brócoli - Part 4Play Caption
Since the subjunctive esté is used for both the first and third person singular, you can use the same expression to talk about yourself. You can add the pronoun yo (I) between que and esté, or not. Check out the following example that also uses negation:
Compra un seguro de vida para que [yo] no esté preocupada \ Buy a life insurance policy so I won’t be worried.
Another common phrase that uses esté is aunque esté. This phrase is used to introduce the idea of a concession. The word aunque [aún + que] means although, even if, though.
aunque esté un poquito más deteriorado, ¿no?
even though it might be a little bit more spoiled, right?
Caption 24, Los Reporteros - Sembrar, comer, tirar - Part 4Play Caption
Here are some additional examples:
Todos los años visito al doctor aunque [yo] no esté enfermo / I visit the doctor every year even if I'm not sick.
Aunque esta camiseta esté vieja, me sigue gustando mucho / Even though this t-shirt might be old, I still like it.
El dentista te recibirá hoy aunque esté muy ocupado / The dentist will see you today even if he's very busy.
Aunque esté cansado, aún tengo que hacer ejercicio / Even though I may be tired, I still need to exercise.
Finally, the phrase que esté muy bien (informal: que estés muy bien) is sometimes used to say goodbye:
Al contrario Joaquín, me da mucho gusto, le mando un abrazo. Que esté muy bien.
To the contrary, Joaquin, it's a pleasure, I send you a hug. Hope you're well.
Captions 18-19, ¡Tierra, Sí! - Atenco - Part 1Play Caption
You can also use it as an introductory greeting by adding the verb espero (I hope), especially in written communications: Hola, espero que estés bien (Hi, I hope you are well).
There are of course many other uses of the verb esté. Try to find more examples in our catalog of videos. Please send your feedback and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.