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

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Ser vs estar, (and tener) current nuanced distinctions in definition in the don’t exist in English, which merely translates these verbs (in many cases that ns cover here) together “to be.”

Let’s check out some basic rules for knowledge the usage of these 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 us star, have actually a look at these simple dialogues:

Dialogue 1

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

“Look at this photo, it’s my grandmother.”“She’s beautiful! just 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 vehicle is new, right?”“Yeah, it’s only a main old. Your is brand-new too, isn’t it?”“No street! It’s new but the old, it’s 3 years old.”

As you have the right to see, the bolded words above all analyze into a conjugated form of “to be.”

From right here on, fine cover the shortcut of the 3 verbs, climate dive right into the rules of usage. After this lesson, it’s approximately you come practice!

Conjugation that Ser, Estar, and also Tener

The adhering to conjugations space in the present simple tense for ser, estar, tener. Additionally, all examples are in this tense to encourage comprehension before you move on to conjugating the verbs in various other tenses.

All 3 verbs are irregular, back estar is just irregular in the an initial person singular.

Ser conjugation – presente simple

Yo soyI am
Tú eresYou are
Él, ella, usted esHe, she, it 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, that is (fml. Friend are)
Nosotros estamosWe are
Ustedes estánYou are
Ellos, ellas estánThey are

Tener link – presente simple

For the objectives of this lesson, the verb tener equates as “to be,” yet it also means “to have.”

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

The rule of usage for Ser, Estar, and Tener


When to use Ser

Ser expresses the qualities of a person or thing. When you use ser, she talking about characteristics that room a part of the significance of a human or thing: other unchangeable.

Let’s have actually a look at at every the instances when you choose ser as your translation because that “to be.”

1. To identify a human or thing

Use ser come express qualities or features of a person or thing (in reference 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 of plastic, it’s made of wood.

¡Qué guapa es!How beautiful she is!

Mi hermano es rico.My brothers is rich.

(Keep this usage in mind together we’ll revisit that in the estar section.)

2. Come talk around professions

When you discuss a person’s job, you likewise 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 instances when no to use articles in

3. To comment on nationality and origin

When you introduce yourself or another person,l usage ser come say where you’re from.

Sus primos boy peruanos.His cousins space Peruvian.

Su abuela es mexicana.His grandma is Mexican.

¿Eres español?Are you

4. Come talk about dates and venues that celebrations

Do you desire to to speak when and also where her birthday is? use ser.

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

Mi cumpleaños es el sábado.My date of birth is on Saturday.

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

5. To talk about time

Use ser come talk around time, work of the week, and hours.

Hoy es miércoles.Today is Wednesday.

Son las cinco.It’s five o’clock.

Date prisa, es muy tarde.Hurry up, that late.

6. To deal with possession

Ser likewise 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 tricks are Peter’s.


When to use Estar

Think of estar together a status or condition. Estar expresses exactly how a person or thing exists, finds itself in a ar or situation, how it feels, or how it stays with stability in a place, situation or condition.

As you have the right to see, estar describes something that can readjust and the doesn’t belong come the nature the the human being or thing.

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

And now, let’s watch all the specific cases once you use estar to say “to be.”

1. To show location

Estar expresses the place of someone 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 vehicle is in the mechanically workshop.

¿Dónde están mis lentes?Where are my glasses?

2. To express variable problems or claims

While ser expresses permanent qualities and also characteristics, estar represents an ext variable and temporal says of being.

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

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

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

3. Utilizing expressions through bien, mal, cerca, and also lejos

There are additionally some expressions that go with estar:

Eso no está bien.That is not right.

Está mal hablar así.It’s wrong come talk favor that.

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

4. To discuss your ar in time

If you want to find yourself in time, use estar.

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

Ya estamos en verano.We’re currently in summer. / it’s summer already.

5. Come express action in gerund kind (-ing)

Estar forms part of the present consistent tense in the expresses plot in progress.

Mi hermana está cocinando.My sister is cooking.

Estoy viendo la tele.I’m the town hall TV.


When to use Tener

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

1. Come express physical needs and emotional states

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

Mamá, tengo hambre ¿vamos por una pizza?Mom, i’m hungry, shall us go for a pizza?

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

Cierra la ventana, tengo frío.Close the window, ns cold.

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

Tengo miedo a ras arañas.I’m fear of spiders.

Ya tengo sueño y ni siquiera boy las nueve.I’m currently sleepy and also it’s not also nine o’clock.

2. Come express a person’s period

This use is most likely the very first that strikes you when learning Use tener come talk around people’s ages, not ser.

Tengo veinte años.I am two decades old.

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

¡Los dos tenemos dieciocho!We room both eighteen.

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


Avoid These common Mistakes making use of Ser, Estar, and also Tener

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

Some situations exist as soon as you deserve to use both ser and also estar with the exact same adjectives, but take note! The definition can completely change depending on which verb you use.

This chart shows what ns mean:

Change of definition – Ser vs Estar Chart

Get much more details: Ser vs Estar: making use of Adjectives v These Verbs


instance sentences

Mi hermano es bien aburrido. No me entretiene.My brother is very boring. He doesn’t entertain me.

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

Este asunto es grave, tenemos que verlo más de cerca.This is a severe 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 no have plenty of days left.

Juan es rico, tiene cinco casas y un yate.Juan is rich, he has five 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 have to think around it.

Ser vs Estar vs Tener – Multiple choice Quiz

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