Lesson 4: Spanish verbs SER and ESTAR (Videos 1 & 2)



SER and ESTAR are arguably the most important verb in Spanish. Both together correspond to the English verb “to be”.

However, there is an additional difficulty here:

In English we use only one verb (to be) in the same case scenarios where in Spanish we should either use “ser” or “estar”.

Therefore, it is very important to know when and how each one is used.

Briefly, we can say that we must use “SER” when the situation is more or lesson “permanent”. And we must use “ESTAR” when the situation is more “impermanent”.

For example:

  • Yo soy Rodrigo (I am Rodrigo) – Here we use verb “ser” because it is “permanent”. My name is something that we can say is more or less “permanent”.
  • Yo soy un hombre (I am a man) – For the same reason, here we must also use verb “ser”.
  • Yo estoy contento (I am happy) – Here, however, we have tu use verb “estar”. That is because moods like happiness, sadness, or other, are impermanent states.
  • Él está comiendo (he is eating) – Again, here we use verb “estar” because the action “to eat” is not permanent. This sentence in Present Continuous is what we call “gerundio” in Spanish.
  • Él es feliz (he is happy) – This sentence can be build using either verb, depending on whether we want to transmit the idea that the person is regularly a happy person, or just circumstantially.
  • Él está feliz (he is happy) – Here we are using the verb “estar” to transmit the idea that the person (subject) is circumstantially “happy”, instead of a “permanent” state of happiness.

So, did you understand how it works?

In this video-lesson I will show you how to conjugate verbs SER and ESTAR in the present tense.

You can find a full list of all the video lessons by clicking on the List of Lessons tab on the Main Menu. You can also search the index for more lessons about SER and ESTAR.

To enlarge the watch-screen, click on the right icon on the lower right corner of the video.


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