Difference Between Ser and Estar

Main Difference

Ser and estar are the Spanish verbs which means “to be”. They are different in use. Ser is used for permanent conditions while that of estar is used for temporary conditions.

What is Ser?

Ser means “to be”. It is used to describe permanent conditions. It relates to the unchangeable things. For saying about “occupation”, we would use ser as occupation is a permanent thing. Similarly “Characteristics” of a person or a material or a product would be defined by ser as the characteristics are permanent and not changeable. For defining the origin of a thing, we use ser, as origin of the things does not change. Relationships are also permanent, they remain even a man is alive or dead, so ser is used to explain about relationships.

What is Estar?

Estar means “to be”. It is used to describe temporary conditions. It relates to the changeable things. Position of a person or a things is changeable and temporary, so estar is used to define position. Location of something may be temporary and estar is used here. Actions are the temporary doings and thus estar is used for them. Physical or mental conditions of a person is described by estar as it is not permanent.

Key Differences

  1. Ser is used to describe permanent conditions while used to describe temporary conditions.
  2. Ser relates to the unchangeable things while estar relates to the changeable things.
  3. Characteristics of a person are permanent so ser is used to define characteristics rather than estar.
  4. Physical or mental condition of a person is changeable and thus uses estar to explain rather than ser.
  5. Nationality of a person is permanent so ser is used while location of a person is temporary so estar is used.
  6. Happiness is the temporary this so estar is used while beauty kind heartiness is a permanent thing so ser is used.
  7. Estar is used to describe the actions of a person while ser is used to describe characteristics of a person.
  8. The condition of a car is defined by estar as it is temporary while possession of a car is defined by ser as it is permanent.

Comparison Video

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Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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