Lesson Topics

Ser and Estar: Part IV

Notes:

  1. The written lesson is below.
  2. Links to quizzes, tests, etc. are to the left.

In the previous three lessons you learned the fundamental difference between ser and estar -- essence or condition, as well as some common uses for each verb. This lesson presents the two verbs side by side, with the emphasis on contrasting their uses. In the process, much -- but not all -- of the previous three lessons will be reviewed. The practice exercises and the test cover material from all four lessons (Ser and Estar Parts I-IV).



When the verb "to be" is followed by a noun, the verb ser is always used. In this instance, it might be helpful to think of the verb as equivalent to an "equal" sign, such as a = b. This type of sentence is always referring to essential characteristics, since the verb is "linking" what comes before the verb to what comes after the verb.

John is a doctor.
John = doctor.

Juan es médico.



When the verb "to be" is followed by an adjective, the verb used depends upon the meaning. When referring to an essential characteristic, use ser. When referring to a state or condition, use estar.

La sopa está fría.
The soup is cold.

Los elefantes son grandes.
The elephants are big.



When the verb "to be" is followed by an adjective, the verb can actually change the meaning of the adjective.

El profesor está aburrido.
The professor is bored.

El profesor es aburrido.
The professor is boring.



Let's distinguish between origin, location, and "to take place." To describe origin, or where something is from, use ser. To describe location, or where something is located right now, use estar. To tell where an event is taking place, use ser.

Mónica es de España. (origin)
Mónica está en Venezuela. (location)
La fiesta es en la casa de Mónica. (taking place)



Let's review.

  1. When a noun follows the verb, use ser
  2. When an adjective follows the verb, decide between "essence" and "condition"
  3. To tell where something is from, use ser
  4. To tell where something is located right now, use estar
  5. To tell where an event is taking place, use ser


Let's add another flashcard:

Verb Flashcards
Complete List

Ser and estar (contrasting uses)

When a noun follows the verb, use ser
When an adjective follows the verb, decide between "essence" and "condition"
To tell where something is from, use ser
To tell where something is located right now, use estar
To tell where an event is taking place, use ser

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