Estar, estando, estado.
To be, being, been.

Estoy, estás, está, estamos, estáis, están.
I am, you are, he or she is, we are, you are, they are.

Estuve, estuviste, estuvo, estuvimos, estuvisteis, estuvieron.
I was, you were, he/she was, we were, you were, they were.


101. SER and ESTAR.- These two verbs have in English but one equivalent – TO BE; but their respective significations and uses are so materially different as to constitute one of the chief difficulties of the Spanish language. By careful observation, however, of the following simple rule, the learner will, we are assured, be enabled to overcome that difficulty, and know exactly when to use the one and when the other of these two verbs.

102. Whenever we wish to express what persons or things are, and their mode of being, in an absolute manner, SER is the verb to be employed; but if we desire to express the state or condition of persons or things, and the mode of that state or condition in a relative manner, then ESTAR must be used. The following examples will serve to render the application of this rule more clear:
1st. Esta casa es grande. | This house is large.
2d. Esta casa está limpia. | This house is clean.
3d. Esta casa está en Broadway. | This house is in Broadway.
4th. Luisa es guapa. | Louisa is pretty.
5th. Luisa es feliz. | Louisa is happy.
6th. Luisa está contenta. | Louisa is content.
7th. Luisa está enferma. | Louisa is sick.
8th. Luisa es enfermiza.  | Louisa is sickly.

In the first example we use SER to express what kind of a house the one referred to is – i. e. large ; in the second, ESTAR, inasmuch as we desire to express how, or in what state the house is, i. e. in a clean state; ESTAR is also employed in the third, sixth and seventh examples, the object being to make known respectively where the house is, and in what state or condition Louisa is or finds herself; while in the fourth, fifth and eighth SER again comes into play, seeing we wish to designate Louisa’s mode of being in an absolute manner.

From the above general rule may be deduced the following observations:
1st. That SER must be used whenever we wish to express possession, use, purpose or destination ; to point out the nationality, profession or calling of persons; the place of production of things or the materials of which they are composed; the simple fact of existence, the occurrence of events; and, finally, as an auxiliary in forming tlle passive voice of verbs.
2d. That ESTAR is to be employed in speaking of situation or position, place, state or condition, in making the progressive form in ndo (corresponding to the English ing) of other verbs; and, lastly, to govern verbs in the infinitive mood with the aid of a preposition, or past participles without such aid.

N. B.-The verb ESTAR can never be used with the present participles of IR and VENIR. Examples of the uses of SER and ESTAR:

La casaca es de mi hermano. | The coat is my brother’s.
La carta es para Margarita. | The letter is for Margaret.
El señor Walker es pintor. | Mr. Walker is a painter.
Este vino es de España. | This wine is from Spain.
La mesa es de madera. The table is of wood.
Has sido prudente en hacerlo así. | You has been prudent in so doing.
Hoy es la celebración. | The celebration is today.
Son las diez. | It is ten o’clock.
Fue el caso como te escribí. | The case was as I wrote to you.
Soy amado. | I am loved.

Esta casa está bien situada. | This house is well situated.
Nueva York está entre el río del Norte y el del Este. | New York is between the North and East rivers.
Estuve en casa hasta que llegó. | I was at home until he arrived.
El está escribiendo. | He is writing.
Mi amigo está listo para partir. | My friend is about to set out.
Estoy por no hacerlo. | I am inclined not to do it.
Estamos sin comer. | We have not dined (or eaten).
Esta carta está fechada en Madrid. | This letter is dated from Madrid.

N. B. – As it frequently occurs that, in perfett accordance with the rules of grammar, the same sentence may be construed with either SER or ESTAR, though conveying entirely different ideas, it is essential to inquire thoroughly into the respective value of these two verbs, in order to avoid the confusion which must necessarily arise from their mispplication. The important nature of this remark may be seen from the following examples :

Manuel es bueno. | Manuel is good.
Juan es malo. | John is bud (or wicked).
Pedro es agotador. | Peter is tiresome.
Juana es viva. | Jane is lively.
Alejandro es callado. | Alexander is taciturn.
Este niño es limpio. | This child is cleanly.
Esta naranja es agria. | This is a sour orange (i. e. of the sour species).

Manuel está bueno. | Emanuel is well.
Juan está malo. | John is sick.
Pedro está cansado. | Peter is tired.
Juana está viva. | Jane is alive.
Alejandro está callado. | Alexander is silent.
Este niño está limpio. | This child is clean.
Esta naranja está agria. | This orange is sour (i. c. unripe).

What is said in the course of the present lesson relative to SER and ESTAR, being all that is requisite to enable the student to determine which of the two is to be used in any ordinary case, his attention shall not again be called to them until we come to treat of their idiomatic uses.


Hablando. | Speaking.
Estudiando. | Studying.
Comprando. | Buying.
Buscando. | Looking for.
Necesitando. | Needing, wanting, reqoiring.
Aprendiendo. | Learning.
Vendiendo. | Selling.
Leyendo. | Reading.
Bebiendo. | Drinking.
Comiendo. | Eating, dining.
Escribiendo. | Writing.
Recibiendo. | Receiving.
Viviendo. | Living.
Residiendo. | Residing.
Teniendo. | Having, holding.
Siendo. | Being.
Queriendo. | Wishing, desiring, loving.
Llevando. | Carrying, taking.
Enviando. | Sending.
Tomando. | Taking.
Pagando. | Paying.
Pronunciando. | Pronouncing.
Cantando. | Singing, chanting.
Tocando. | Touching, playing.
Haciendo. | Doing, making.
Pasando. | Passing.
Trabajando. | Working.
Mandando. | Sending, commanding.
Yendo. | Going.
Viniendo. | Coming.
Estando. | Being (in a certain state, h.).
Norte, sur, este, oeste. | North, south, east, west.


– ¿Es grande tu casa? Es grande; pero está en mal estado.
– Is your house large? It is large; but it is in a bad state.

– ¿En que calle está la casa de tu hermano? Está en la Cuarta Avenida.
– In what street is your brother’s home? It is in (the) Fourth Avenue.

– ¿Es Luisa linda? Es muy linda.
Is Louisa pretty? She is very pretty.

– ¿Está ella contenta? No está contenta, porque está enferma.
– Is she contented? She is not contented, because she is sick.

– ¿Es enfermiza? Lo es mucho.
– Is she sickly? She is very much so.

– ¿De quién es esta casa? Es de mi hermano.
Whose house is this? It is my brother’s.

– Está muy bien situada.
– It is very well situated.

– Esta carta es para Margarita.
– This letter is for Margaret.

– Nueva York está entre el río del Norte y el del Este.
New York is between the North and East rivers.

– El señor Walker es pintor.
– Mr. Walker is a painter.

– La mesa es de madera.
– The table is of wood.

– Estuve en casa hasta que llegaste.
– I was at home until you arrived.

– Mi amigo está a punto de partir.
– My fryend is about to set out.

– Estoy sin comer.
I have not died (I am without eating).

– ¿Qué estás haciendo? Estoy escribiendo.
– What are you doing? I am writing.

– Manuel es bueno.
– Manuel is good.

– Manuel está malo.
– Manuel is ill.

– ¿Está Pedro cansado? Está cansado y es agotador.
– Is Peter tired? He is tired, and he is tiresome.

– ¿Por qué está tan callado Alejandro? Porque es callado.
– Why is Alexander so silent? Because he is taciturn.

En las lecciones de este blog se ha seguido la obra de

Alberto de Tornos “The Combined Spanish Method”. D. APPLETON ~ COMPANY (New York) 1869

Licencia de Creative Commons
Esta entrada está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-CompartirIgual 3.0 Unported.


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