In your Spanish class, an early lesson which will actually make you speak the language right away has to do with learning the verb “to be”. The first thing your teacher must let you know is that there are two verbs in Spanish used to express the verb “to be” . These verbs are: SER and ESTAR.
SER vs. ESTAR
The verb SER means TO BE; it is used to express permanent qualities or characteristics of the subject. For instance:
Mi hermana es alta. (My sister is tall)
Roberto es bien parecido. (Robert is good looking.)
The verb ESTAR which also means TO BE is only used when expressing temporal characteristics or a temporal condition of the subject. For example:
Mi hermana está contenta. (My sister is happy).
Roberto está enfermo. (Robert is sick.)
Verbs ser and estar are not only used with adjectives but also with nouns (sustantivos), gerunds (gerundios)and adverbs (adverbios). However, you must know when to use SER and when to use ESTAR. This slide show will help you understand how to use them correctly as you the conjugation of both in present, past and future simple:
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Mario & Priscila