Spanish Grammar Guide

ser and estar (e.g.: Soy estudiante. Estoy en la biblioteca ahora.)

Questions about Ser and Estar

Q: Why is it soy estadounidense  and NOT estoy estadounidense?

R: Use ser for nationalities, which are a part of a person's identity.

Q: Why is it estoy cansado and NOT soy cansado to say "I'm tired?"

R: Cansado is used with estar to mean "to be tired." Only use ser if you want to say "I'm tiring" (i.e. a tiring person to others).

Q: Why is it el concierto es en el estadio and NOT  el concierto está en el estadio?

R: Remember that you should use ser to describe the location of an event and estar to describe the location of other things.

Q: Why is it la gata está muerta and NOT la gata es muerta?

R: You should always use estar with the adjective muerto. You could perhaps reason along the lines that being dead is a condition or change of state, not an identifying characteristic.

Q: Why is it soy de Canadá and NOT estoy de Canadá?

R: Although estar is often used for location, you need to use ser to indicate place of origin.

Spanish Grammar Guide » Verbs (e.g.: hablar, venir, ser, tener, hacer)
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Terry Nadasdi & Stéfan Sinclair


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