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The Spanish Verb Ser: Describe Your Family in Spanish


Any time I teach a high school class, we always learn how to use the verb ser to describe people and their characteristics.  Ser means “to be,” and you’ll see it in many forms in English in the present tense: am, is, are.
You can look at this chart below to see the different forms of ser in Spanish and how to say them:
And here is what they mean:
Each of these forms correspond to the different Spanish subject pronouns, which are pronounced as follows:
And here is what they mean:
Now that you know all these forms, you can say things like, “I am tall.”  Or “He is blonde.”  Or “They are nice.”  All you need to learn is a few adjectives.
Here is a short list of useful adjectives:
Look at the subject pronouns above.  How do you say he? That’s right, él!  Now, how do you say he is?  Yes, él es.  Okay, look at the list of adjectives.  How do you say tall?  Well, there is alto and alta.  Anytime an adjective (describing word) ends in an “O” or an “A”, you have to choose one of those endings.  Use the “O” ending if you are describing a masculine noun and an “A” if you are describing a feminine noun.  So for he is tall, you would choose alto, because he is masculine.  So “He is tall” in Spanish is “Él es alto.”  See how that works?
You are ready now to answer the questions:

¿Cómo es?* (KOH-moh ehs)

What is he/she like?


¿Cómo eres?* (KOH-moh EH-rehs)

What are you like?

In other words these questions ask, “Describe him or her,” or “Describe yourself.”

*Cómo means how.  So literally these questions say, “How is he/she?” or “How are you?”  But they are translated as “What is he/she like?” and “What are you like?”

Watch this fun video to see how it’s done!

I also try to cover the use of the verb ser in my Jump Into Spanish program for families. (Want to join us? Check out the program here.)

When teaching the verb ser to younger kids, I don’t explain all the grammar-y stuff above. We write little booklets that help us see the verbs used in context.

Print out Booklet 02 from our Term 3A unit to see what I mean. It has pronunciation guides and translations at the beginning, but if you have any questions on how to fill it out, don’t hesitate to ask me!

Booklet Instructions:

Print more than one of different pages depending on what your family looks like. (For example you may want to print two sister pages, or three brother pages, or two mom pages.)

Then have your kids illustrate a picture on each page and fill in the lines with them.

Now they can read a story describing their family and hear the verb ser used in context over and over again!

For help with more describing words go to to look up the words you need.

Do you want more materials like this sent to your inbox each week? Consider joining Jump Into Spanish!

Share your completed books with me on social media by using the hashtag #fortheloveofspanish!

Kali Carollo

Kali Carollo