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How do I know when to use SER or ESTAR

Both SER and ESTAR mean TO BE in Spanish but are used in different situations. Ser gives a more permenant meaning than estar. Here's an example: está enferma and es enferma both mean she's ill literally. You need to use the first one (estar) as it's a current state and not a permenant one 

The easiest way to remember it is to remember it is to use these little tricks:

For SER: The DOCTOR numonic

Description - Es imposible 

Occupatoin - Soy profesora 

Characteristic - Eres inteligente 

Time - Es la fin de semana 

Origin - Mis primos son italianos 

Relationship - Pilar es mi madre 

And for ESTAR there's a little rhyme: how you feel and where you are, that is when you use estar. EG. 'Estamos en colegio' or 'Estoy contenta'.

Also don't forgot to use ESTAR + present participle if using the continuous present tense. EG: estoy corriendo (not soy corriendo)

And that's it :) just remember the numonic and the rhyme and you can't go wrong. 

Amy H. 13 Plus  Maths tutor, IB Maths tutor, 11 Plus Maths tutor, GCS...

10 months ago

Answered by Amy, a GCSE Spanish tutor with MyTutor


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