Ser, estar, tener” is among my favorite topics when teaching. Why? because it shows just how the language us speak affect the method we think.

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Ser vs estar, (and tener) current nuanced distinctions in meaning in that don’t exist in English, which simply translates this verbs (in many cases that i cover here) as “to be.”

Let’s discover some simple rules for expertise the consumption of this verbs and by the end, the ser vs estar vs tener dilemma will end up being crystal clear!

Dialogues using Ser, Estar, and Tener

Before we star, have a look at these straightforward dialogues:

Dialogue 1

—Mira esta foto, es mi abuela.—¡Qué guapa es! ¿Cuántos años tiene?—Sesenta y tres.—¡Qué joven está!

“Look in ~ this photo, it’s mine grandmother.”“She’s beautiful! how old is she?”“Sixty-three.”“How young she is!”

Dialogue 2

—¡Wow! Este carro es nuevo ¿no?—Sí, solo tiene una semana. El tuyo también es nuevo ¿no?—¡Qué va! Está nuevo, pero ya es viejo, tiene tres años.

“Wow! This automobile is new, right?”“Yeah, it’s just a mainly old. Yours is new too, isn’t it?”“No way! It’s new but that old, it’s 3 years old.”

As you deserve to see, the bolded words over all analyze into a conjugated form of “to be.”

From here on, we’ll cover the link of the three verbs, then dive right into the rule of usage. After ~ this lesson, it’s approximately you come practice!

Conjugation of Ser, Estar, and also Tener

The complying with conjugations room in the present simple tense because that ser, estar, tener. Additionally, all instances are in this it is too dirty to encourage comprehension before you relocate on come conjugating the verb in other tenses.

All 3 verbs room irregular, back estar is only irregular in the first person singular.

Ser link – presente simple

Yo soyI am
Tú eresYou are
Él, ella, usted esHe, she, the is (fml. Friend are)
Nosotros somosWe are
Ustedes sonYou are
Ellos, ellas sonThey are

Estar shortcut – presente simple

Yo estoyI am
Tú estásYou are
Él, ella, usted estáHe, she, it is (fml. Friend are)
Nosotros estamosWe are
Ustedes estánYou are
Ellos, ellas estánThey are

Tener link – presente simple

For the functions of this lesson, the verb tener converts as “to be,” but it also means “to have.”

Yo tengoI am / ns have
Tú tienesYou space / friend have
Él, ella, usted tieneHe, she, that is (fml. You are) / He, she, it has (fml. You have)
Nosotros tenemosWe room / we have
Ustedes tienenYou space / you have
Ellos, ellas tienenThey space / lock have

The rules of usage for Ser, Estar, and also Tener


When to use Ser

Ser expresses the features of a human or thing. When you usage ser, she talking around characteristics that are a component of the significance of a human being or thing: miscellaneous unchangeable.

Let’s have actually a watch at every the instances when you choose ser as her translation for “to be.”

1. To determine a human being or point

Use ser come express attributes or features of a person or thing (in recommendation to personality, size, color, material, or look)

Mi casa es pequeña.My residence is small.

Mi hija es inteligente.My daughter is smart.

Esta silla no es de plástico, es de madera.This chair is not made that plastic, it’s make of wood.

¡Qué guapa es!How beautiful she is!

Mi hermano es rico.My brothers is rich.

(Keep this usage in mind as we’ll revisit it in the estar section.)

2. To talk around professions

When you talk about a person’s job, you also use ser.

Mi papá es maestro y mi mamá es doctora.My dad is a teacher and my mother is a doctor.

Yo soybean beans diseñadora de interiores.I am an inner designer.

PRO TIP! professions don’t usage an write-up (see other situations when no to use articles in

3. To discuss nationality and also origin

When you present yourself or an additional person,l use ser to say where you’re from.

Sus primos child peruanos.His cousins space Peruvian.

Su abuela es mexicana.His grandma is Mexican.

¿Eres español?Are you

4. To talk about dates and venues of celebrations

Do you want to speak when and also where your birthday is? use ser.

¿Sabes dónde es la fiesta?Do you understand where the party is?

Mi cumpleaños es el sábado.My birthday is top top Saturday.

La boda es aquí pero el banquete en un pueblo al lado.The wedding is here but the banquet is in a surrounding town.

5. To discuss time

Use ser come talk about time, days of the week, and hours.

Hoy es miércoles.Today is Wednesday.

Son las cinco.It’s 5 o’clock.

Date prisa, es muy tarde.Hurry up, it’s late.

6. To deal with possession

Ser additionally helps you come talk around possessions.

¿Esto es tuyo?Is this yours?

Esta chaqueta es de Ana.This is Ana’s jacket.

Las llaves kid de Pedro.The keys are Peter’s.


When to usage Estar

Think that estar together a condition or condition. Estar expresses just how a person or point exists, finds itself in a ar or situation, exactly how it feels, or exactly how it continues to be with security in a place, case or condition.

As you have the right to see, estar refers to something the can change and the doesn’t belong to the nature the the human being or thing.

Estar helps you say how you’re feeling, express a place that you at, or something that you’re right now doing.

And now, let’s check out all the details cases as soon as you usage estar to say “to be.”

1. To suggest location

Estar expresses the location of who or something the is topic to change.

Mi tía está en Cancún de vacaciones.My aunt is in Cancun.

Mi carro está en el taller.My auto is in the mechanical workshop.

¿Dónde están mis lentes?Where are my glasses?

2. Come express variable problems or states

While ser expresses irreversible qualities and characteristics, estar represents more variable and temporal states of being.

Mi mamá está enfadada conmigo.My mom is mad at me.

Juan está de buen humor hoy.Juan is in a great mood today.

Mi falda está sucia y rota.My skirt is dirty and torn.

3. Making use of expressions through bien, mal, cerca, and also lejos

There are additionally some expressions that go through estar:

Eso no está bien.That is no right.

Está mal hablar así.It’s wrong to talk choose that.

Su casa está cerca pero la mía está lejos.His house is near however mine is far.

4. To talk about your ar in time

If you want to situate yourself in time, usage estar.

Ya estamos a 23 de diciembre, cómo pasa el tiempo.It’s currently December 23, just how time flies.

Ya estamos en verano.We’re already in summer. / that summer already.

5. Come express actions in gerund type (-ing)

Estar forms component of the present continuous tense in the expresses plot in progress.

Mi hermana está cocinando.My sister is cooking.

Estoy viendo la tele.I’m city hall TV.


When to usage Tener

Tener means “to have,” or “to possess,” however it additionally translates together “to be” in certain cases. Use tener come express something the you physically possess or a method you feel at a details point in time—that is, a feeling or a require you have.

1. Come express physical needs and also emotional states

Using the building for this is tener + noun (such as: hambre, frío, calor, sed, miedo, and sueño), you deserve to talk around feelings or emotional says you “have.”

Mamá, tengo hambre ¿vamos por una pizza?Mom, ns hungry, shall we go for a pizza?

¿Me das agua? Tengo sed.Can I have actually some water? ns thirsty.

Cierra la ventana, tengo frío.Close the window, i’m cold.

Vaya clima, tengo muchísimo calor.What a weather, ns so hot.

Tengo miedo a las arañas.I’m afraid of spiders.

Ya tengo sueño y ni siquiera child las nueve.I’m already sleepy and it’s not even nine o’clock.

2. To express a person’s age

This use is most likely the first that strikes friend when discovering Usage tener come talk about people’s ages, no ser.

Tengo veinte años.I am twenty years old.

Mi esposo tiene treinta años.My husband is thirty years old.

¡Los dos tenemos dieciocho!We space both eighteen.

¿Ya tienes diez años?You’re currently ten?


Avoid These typical Mistakes making use of Ser, Estar, and Tener

Apart native a typical error like “yo soy veinte años,” there are various other traps come watch the end for when deciding even if it is to usage ser, estar or tener.

Some cases exist once you can use both ser and estar v the exact same adjectives, yet take note! The an interpretation can completely change depending upon which verb friend use.

This chart mirrors what i mean:

Change of an interpretation – Ser vs Estar Chart

Get more details: Ser vs Estar: utilizing Adjectives with These Verbs


instance sentences

Mi hermano es bien aburrido. No me entretiene.My brothers is an extremely boring. He no entertain me.

Mi hermano está aburrido. No tiene nada que hacer.My brother is bored. He has actually nothing come do.

Este asunto es grave, tenemos que verlo más de cerca.This is a significant matter, we have to take a closer look.

Mi tío está muy grave, no le quedan muchos días de vida.My uncle’s condition is really serious, he doesn’t have plenty of days left.

Juan es rico, tiene cinco casas y un yate.Juan is rich, that has 5 houses and also a yacht.

Mi comida está rica.My food is good.

El lugar es seguro, podemos entrar.The ar is safe, we can go in.

No estoy segura, tengo que pensarlo.

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I’m no sure, I need to think about it.

Ser vs Estar vs Tener – Multiple an option Quiz

Now that you recognize the rules because that ser, estar and tener, it’s time to put your understanding to the test by picking the exactly options!