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Spanish Verb Ser and Estar and Subject Pronouns

This lesson covers the Spanish verb "to be," which unlike in English, is actually two verbs; "ser" and "estar." But before we get into the differences between these two, we have to look at the basci subject pronouns.

Los Pronombres Personales
(Subject Pronouns)

Singular

Yo ............ I
Tú .............You (informal)
Usted ........You (formal)
Él ...............He
Ella ............She

Note:
Tú (you, informal) is used with friends and family.
Usted (you, formal) shows respect, used with people you are not familiar with.

Plural

Nosotros....We (masculine)
Nosotras....We (feminine only)
Ustedes.....You (plural)
Ellos.......... They
Ellas ......... They (feminine only)

Note:
Nosotros is the masculine form of "we," used for a group of males, or a mixed-gender group.
Nosotras is the feminine form, and refers only to groups that are all female.
Ellos is the masculine form of "they," used for a group of males or a group made up of both sexes.
Ellas is the feminine form, used only for groups of females.

Verbs "SER" and "ESTAR"

Both mean "to be" or "to exist", but there are distinct rules for using one or the other.

SER is used to indicate identity:
Yo soy Ana (I am Ana)
Tú eres Steve (You are Steve)
Usted es Juana Lopez (You are Juana Lopez)

SER is used to indicate profession:
Él es un profesor (He is a Teacher)
Ella es una enfermera (She is a nurse)

SER is used to indicate nationality:
Nosotros somos Norteamericanos (We are north americans)
Nosotras somos Cubanas (We are Cubans)

SER is used to describe people and to point out their essential qualities:
Ellos son altos (They are tall)
Ellas son muy bonitas (They are very pretty)
Ustedes son generosos (You are generous)

SER is used to describe physical aspects or characteristics of things or animals:
La mesa es grande (The table is big)
La comida es buena (The food is good)
El carro es rojo (The car is red)
El gato es gris (The cat is gray)

SER is used for time:
Son las 10 en punto (It's 10 0'clock exactly - notice also that the plural is used, except in the case of one o'clock: "Es la una.")

"SER" is generally used when expressing more permanent aspects of people or things.

.......

ESTAR is used to indicate the location of people:
Yo estoy en la oficina (I am in the office)
Tú estás en la casa (You are in the house)
Usted está en el parque (You are in the park)

ESTAR is used to express conditions or emotion subject to change:
Él está feliz (He is happy)
Ella está triste (She is sad)
Usted está enfermo (You are sick)

Estar describes the temporary physical state of things:
La mesa está sucia (The table is dirty - a condition subject to change, versus "La mesa es grande," which means "The table is big," a more permanent aspect.)

ESTAR is used with the progressive forms:
Nosotros estamos comprando (We are buying)
Nosotras estamos comiendo (We are eating)

"ESTAR" is used to when expressing more temporary aspects of people or things.

Ser : to be

Yo soy..........I am
Tú eres..........You are (informal)
Usted es........You are (formal)
Él es............. He is
Ella es........... She is
Nosotros somos....We are (masculine)
Nosotras somos.... We are (feminine)
Ustedes son....You are (plural)
Ellos son........They are (masculine)
Ellas son........They are (feminine)

Estar : to be

Yo estoy..........I am
Tú estás...........You are
Usted está ...... You are
Él está..............He is
Ella está............She is
Nosotros estamos.........We are
Nosotras estamos......... We are
Ustedes están......You are (plural)
Ellos están..........They are
Ellas están.......... They are

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