If you are in high school Spanish, or if you have taken it before, you know that SER vs ESTAR is one of the tricky grammar points to master.  In English, there is only one “to be,” and it comes in the forms of am, is, or are.  We say:

I am tired.
He is from San Diego.
We are going to the store.
They are tall.
I am nice.
It is two o’clock in the afternoon.

However, in Spanish there are TWO ways to say “to be.”

SER means “to be” when we are talking about personality, physical characteristics, time, origin, nationality, or profesion.  Looking at the sentences above, with which ones do you think we would use SER? *answers below

ESTAR means “to be” when we are talking about feelings, emotions, temporary states (like being sick or happy), location (like Where is the bathroom?), and reactions (like, Wow that coffee is hot!).  We also use ESTAR to form the Present Progressive tense (-ing sentences like, He is working), and we use it when we have a past participle we are using as an adjective (like, That seat is taken).  Can you identify which sentences above would use ESTAR? **answers below

Check out these videos for more grammar explanation and practice!


And here are some online quizzes and paragraphs that will check your answers for you so you can see how well you are understanding the concepts!

*(2, 4, 5, & 6)**(1, 3)

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