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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.  

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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

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Occupation

 

Tu papá es jefe de cartera, mi amor.

Your dad is a portfolio manager, my love.

Caption 52, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 3

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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

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Time

 

Diremos, "¿Qué hora es?"

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

Caption 49, Español para principiantes - La hora

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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

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Relationship

 

Esa es mi tía Silvia.

That is my Aunt Silvia.

Caption 24, Español para principiantes - Demostrativos

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Emotion

 

Estoy triste.

am sad.

Estoy triste.

I am sad.

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

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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

The Preposition en in Spanish

Are you familiar with prepositions in Spanish? In this lesson, we will talk about the preposition en, which is one of the most commonly used prepositions in the Spanish language. In fact, this preposition works like the English prepositions “in,” “on” and “at.” Let's take a look. 

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How to use the preposition en in Spanish

 

We use the preposition en when we want to state that something ocurred in a particular year or when we want to make a reference to a particular season or month of the year. In other words, we use the preposition en when talking about time.

 

Esa institución dejó de existir en mil novecientos noventa y nueve.

That institution ceased to exist in nineteen ninety-nine.

Caption 60, Carlos comenta - Los Años Maravillosos - Costumbres alimenticias y conflicto

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Y en invierno suele hacer mucho frío.

And in winter it tends to be very cold.

Caption 15, Clara explica - El tiempo

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En abril, llueve mucho.

In April, it rains a lot.

Caption 17, El Aula Azul - Estaciones y Meses

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When it comes to time, we also use the preposition en when we want to express a particular amount of time:

 

En veinte minutos se va a servir la cena.

In twenty minutes dinner is going to be served.

Caption 3, Muñeca Brava - 36 La pesquisa

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The preposition en in Spanish is also used when we want to indicate the location of a person or object.

 

Estoy en la escuela, El Aula Azul.

I am at the school, The Blue Classroom.

Caption 4, El Aula Azul - Ser y Estar

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El perro de Ana duerme en el horno.

Ana's dog sleeps in the oven.

Caption 5, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam

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One of the most common uses of the preposition en is when we use it to talk about means of transportation.

 

Me fui a Bélgica con mi novio en avión.

I went to Belgium with my boyfriend on a plane.

Caption 2, Blanca y Mariona - Proyectos para el verano

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The preposition en is also used to express the value of something.

 

Y las cabañas sin baño están en ochenta mil pesos.

And the cabins without a bathroom go for eighty thousand pesos.

Caption 35, Cleer y Lida - Reservando una habitación

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Finally, the preposition en is also used to indicate how something is carried out.

 

En silencio pensaré tan sólo en ti

In silence I will think only of you

Caption 34, La Oreja de Van Gogh - Deseos De Cosas Imposibles

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In this example, notice how we can use the preposition en along with the verb pensar (to think) when we want to express "thinking of" someone or something.

 

Common expressions that use the preposition en in Spanish

Apart from the uses we have mentioned above, the preposition en can be found in various expressions that are quite common in Spanish. Let's look at some of them:

 

¿Es en serio?

Seriously?

Caption 50, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

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Acuérdate que tenemos muchos amigos en común.

Remember that we have a lot of friends in common.

Caption 14, Los casos de Yabla - Problemas de convivencia

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En realidad, sólo con la práctica podemos entender mejor.

Actually, only with practice can we better understand.

Caption 64, Carlos explica - Tuteo, ustedeo y voseo: Conjugación

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To summarize, the following are the most common uses of the preposition en in Spanish:

 

- When talking about time (years, month, seasons or amount of time)

- To indicate the location of a person or an object

- To indicate the means of transportation

- To express the value of something

- To indicate how something is carried out.

- In some very common expressions

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That's it for today. Now that you know how to use the preposition en in Spanish, try to write some sentences with all the different uses we mentioned throughout this lesson. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.

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