The difference between Ser and Estar

They both mean “to be” in English, so this is why you need to know the uses of Ser v Estar.  The summary of the uses are:


  • Identity (Yo soy Mara)
  • Origin (Yo soy de Argentina)
  • Profession (Yo soy doctora)
  • Possession (La casa es de María)
  • Time (Es la una, son las dos, tres, etc)
  • Where things takes place


  • Location
  • Status (Yo estoy soltera, casada, divorciada)
  • Any State (Estoy muerta, viva) (I am alive, or dead)
  • State of doing (estoy comiendo, trabajando, etc)
  • State of mind, mood (estoy de buen humor, estoy bien, cansada)
  • State of health (Estoy enferma, estoy con gripe, etc)

Ser (Permanent) and Estar (temporal)

When we talk about “ser” we use permanent personal traits or characteristics: For example:

  • Yo soy organizada (I am well organized)

When we use “estar” we use temporal personal traits or characteristics: For example:

  • Yo estoy organizada (I am well organized today)

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