Learn the difference between the verbs Ser and Estar.

Ser o Estar?

Discover the nuances of the Spanish verbs 'ser' and 'estar' in our comprehensive guide. For Houston residents seeking to deepen their Spanish language skills, understanding the distinctions between these two verbs is essential. Explore our article to find insights that will enhance your learning journey and consider enrolling in a Houston Spanish class near me to further solidify your understanding.

One of the first challenges that students face when they begin to learn Spanish is the use of the verbs SER and ESTAR, In English the verb BE (AM, IS ARE) is used but in Spanish it has a different meaning depending on the verb that is being used. Can you figure out the difference between these two sentences?


I am happy (yo soy feliz)

I am happy. (yo estoy feliz)



Traditional grammar considered that the verb SER describes permanent characteristics, while ESTAR does so with transitory attributes.

With the verb “to be” A=B, regardless of whether this identification is transitory or permanent. In phrases like: “Marta is from Madrid”; “Marta is a student”; “Marta is young”, and “Marta is nice”, we include Marta in various human groups, that is, we identify her. It doesn’t matter if the membership in these groups is transitory or permanent. These are inherent characteristics of the moment. We don’t know if Marta will be nice in the future, but we also know she won’t be young, so these characteristics define her today.



 On the contrary, “being” expresses something particular to the subject, A experiences or has become B. In the sentence “Javier está alto”, the information is presented from the idea of a state that Javier has reached. “Being” allows us to show a change of state but does not place him in any group. In turn, the verb “to be” indicates a spatial relationship, such as, “María is in class”. The location is static.


Ser o Estar 03


So SER is used to identify or include someone in a human group. In the sentences “He is Mexican” and He is a student” it does not matter if belonging to these groups is transitory or permanent. On the other hand, BE: expresses something circumstantial to the subject. A experiences or has become B, which indicates a spatial relationship.

The answer to the question: “Can you figure out the difference between these two sentences SER FELIZ and ESTAR FELIZ?” would be the following:

SER FELIZ is a characteristic that includes a person in the group.

ESTAR FELIZ: is the result of something. Example: “My friend is happy about his new job, because they gave him a pet (or for any other reason).

Now it’s your turn. Can you explain the difference between SOY TRANQUILO and ESTOY TRANQUILO?


Ser o Estar 04


Master the nuances of Spanish verbs like SER and ESTAR by signing up for a Houston Spanish class near me. Explore grammar intricacies and enhance your language skills effectively.

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