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    Ser or Estar. Uses of these two verbs in Spanish

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    Ser or Estar?

    There are other differences (besides "temporary" vs. "permanent") between these two troublesome guys! And what about this? Sometimes we use "to be" in English, but the translation in Spanish is neither "ser" nor "estar". . . but "tener" or "haber" (as if it were not confusing enough already).
    This library solution will give you some pointers for you to decide more confidently when to choose "ser" and when to choose "estar". First, consider the following questions:

    What verb would you use . . . ?

    To talk about someone's nationality? Profession?
    To talk about possession?
    To express time? A date? An address?
    State, mood?
    To describe someone's looks or personality?
    To talk about relationships?
    Civil status?

    How about these two cases in which you would use "to be" in English?

    To talk about existence?

    Please see attached file for practice exercises.

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    Solution Preview

    Ser or Estar?

    What verb would you use . . . ?

    To talk about someone's nationality? Profession? SER
    To talk about possession? SER
    To express time? a date? An address? SER
    Location? ESTAR
    Venue? SER
    State, mood? ESTAR
    To describe someone's looks or personality? SER
    To ...

    Solution Summary

    Students of Spanish usually find that it is hard to choose between SER or ESTAR in Spanish, because so many times these two verbs translate as TO BE in English. Each verb has many different uses, although the difference most often mentioned is that SER describes permanent situation, while ESTAR is used for the description of temporary ones. However, other differences should be considered, as SER is also used to talk about time (is there anything less permanent than time?), while ESTAR can be used to talk about permanent states, such as death.
    The solution clarifies the most common uses of these two Spanish verbs, and it also provides examples of the use of "haber" and "tener", which are other verbs that can be translated as TO BE.