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Ser and estar

Ser and estar

In many languages such as English and German, the verbs ser and estar have the same meaning. In Spanish we use the verb ser to talk about the characteristics of the subject.

For example:

Los alumnos son alemanes.

La iglesia es bonita.

And the verb estar to talk about the state or condition of the subject:

Juan está cansado.

El vaso está roto.

And about location:

Estamos en la isla de Margarita.

Both the states and the characteristics can be transient or permanent, this is not the criterion to differentiate both verbs.

María es joven (this is a transitory characteristic)

La abuela de María es vieja (this a permanent characteristic)

El café está caliente (this is a transitory state)

El perro está muerto (this is a permanent state)

The difference between both verbs is in the difference between the concepts of characteristic (ser) and state (estar).

In the following video we explain this with examples:

Difference between ser and estar

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