Ser vs Estar

To generalize, it is said that…

Ser is used to describe something as it usually is. Estar is used to describe the state of something.

Take a look!

– Soy aburrido.
– I’m a boring person.

– Estoy aburrido.
– I’m bored.

Use of Ser

Use ser with personality and physical appearance adjectives.

You can also use ser with names, professions, time, dates, and to describe the material something is made of.

Nationality, origin, definitions, and events are also expressed with ser. Let’s see some examples!

In Spanish, we don’t use ser to express age. We use tener. 

– Tengo 31 años.
– I am 31 years old.

Personality Adjectives

– Soy aburrido.
– I’m a boring person.

– Pedro es muy simpático.
– Pedro is very friendly.

– Mi hermana es un poco perezosa.
– My sister is a bit lazy.

Physical Appearance Adjectives

– Soy alto.
– I’m tall.

– Sofia es morena.
– Sofia is brunette.

– Mis hijos son bajitos.
– My children are short.


– Soy Tati.
– I’m Tati.

– Ella es Susi.
– She is Susi.

– Es Marcos.
– He’s Marcos.

Professions and Occupations

– Somos ingenieros.
– We are engineers.

– Son albañiles.
– They are bricklayers.

– Soy profesora.
– I am a teacher.


– Es la una en punto.
– It’s one o’clock.

– Son las dos y media.
– It is half past two o’clock.

– Son las ocho de la noche.
– It’s eight at night.


– Es lunes.
– It is Monday.

– Hoy es 10 de enero.
– Today is January 10.

– Es viernes.
– It’s Friday.


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

– El piso es de cerámica.
– The floor is ceramic.

– La muñeca es de porcelana.
– The doll is made of porcelain.

Nationality and Origen

– Soy salvadoreña.
– I am Salvadoran. 

– Soy de El Salvador.
– I am from El Salvador.

– Es de China.
– It is from China.


– El mate es una bebida.
– Mate is a beverage.

– Coatepeque es un lago.
– Coatepeque is a lake.

– Francia es un país. 
– France is a country.

Now you know when to use ser, but do you know how to conjugate it?

Here’s the full conjugation of the verb ser (+ a simple chart with its most popular tenses).

Use of Estar

Use estar with temporary adjectives such as cansada (tired) or triste (sad).

You can also use estar to state where you, someone else, or something is located.

Some verb phrases are also formed with estar! Let’s see some examples!

Temporary Adjectives

– Estoy cansada.
– I am tired.

– Estás enfermo.
– You are sick.

– Estamos tristes.
– We are sad. 


– Estoy en casa.
– I am home.

– El libro está en la mesa.
– The book is on the table. 

– ¿Dónde estás?
– Where are you?

Marital Status

– Estoy soltera.
– I am single.

– Estás casado.
– You are married. 

– Estamos divorciados.
– We are divorced. 

In Latin America, it is common to describe marital status with the verb ser. Always use ser with viudo (widower) or viuda (widow).

Present Progressive

– Estoy cocinando.
– I am cooking.

– Estás trabajando.
– You are working.

– Estamos descansando.
– We are resting. 

The equivalent to verbs that end in -ing in English are verbs that end in -ando or -iendo in Spanish.

Passive Voice with Estar

– La puerta está cerrada. 
– The door is closed. 

– El trabajo está terminado.
– The work is done.

– Los platos están lavados.
– The dishes are washed. 


– Estoy muy bien. 
– I am very well.

– Está allí.
– It is there. 

– Estamos a la derecha.
– We are on the right. 

Describe Food

– La sopa está buena.
– The soup is good.

– El queso está arruinado. 
– The cheese is bad.

– La pizza está rica.
– The pizza is delicious.

Do you know how to conjugate estar? If not, here you have the full estar conjugation (+ a little chart with common tenses).

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