Ser, estar, tener” is one of my favorite topics as soon as teaching. Why? because it shows how the language we speak affects the way we think.

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Ser vs estar, (and tener) existing nuanced distinctions in meaning in that don’t exist in English, which merely translates this verbs (in many instances that i cover here) together “to be.”

Let’s discover some straightforward rules for understanding the usage of this verbs and also by the end, the ser vs estar vs tener dilemma will come to be crystal clear!

Dialogues utilizing Ser, Estar, and Tener

Before we star, have a look in ~ these basic 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 my 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 only a main old. Your is new too, no it?”“No way! It’s new but it’s 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 right here on, fine cover the shortcut of the 3 verbs, then dive right into the rule of usage. After this lesson, it’s as much as you come practice!

Conjugation that Ser, Estar, and also Tener

The adhering to conjugations are in the present straightforward tense because that ser, estar, tener. Additionally, all examples are in this it is too dirty to encourage comprehension prior to you move on to conjugating the verbs in other tenses.

All three verbs are irregular, return estar is just irregular in the an initial person singular.

Ser link – presente simple

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

Tener link – presente simple

For the objectives of this lesson, the verb tener translates as “to be,” however it also method “to have.”

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

The rule of consumption for Ser, Estar, and Tener


When to use Ser

Ser expresses the characteristics of a human being or thing. As soon as you use ser, you talking around characteristics that room a component of the essence of a human being or thing: something unchangeable.

Let’s have actually a watch at all the instances when you pick ser as your translation for “to be.”

1. To determine a human being or point

Use ser come express attributes or qualities of a person or point (in reference to personality, size, color, material, or look)

Mi casa es pequeña.My home 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 do of wood.

¡Qué guapa es!How beautiful she is!

Mi hermano es rico.My brother is rich.

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

2. To talk about professions

When you comment on a who job, you likewise use ser.

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

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

PRO TIP! job don’t use an article (see other cases when not to use short articles in

3. To discuss nationality and origin

When you present yourself or one more person,l usage ser to say whereby you’re from.

Sus primos son peruanos.His cousins are Peruvian.

Su abuela es mexicana.His grandma is Mexican.

¿Eres español?Are girlfriend

4. Come talk about dates and venues the celebrations

Do you desire to to speak when and where your birthday is? usage ser.

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

Mi cumpleaños es el sábado.My birthday is ~ above Saturday.

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

5. To discuss time

Use ser to talk about time, days 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, it’s late.

6. To resolve possession

Ser likewise helps you come talk about possessions.

¿Esto es tuyo?Is this yours?

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

Las llaves child de Pedro.The tricks are Peter’s.


When to usage Estar

Think that estar together a status or condition. Estar expresses exactly how a human being or thing exists, finds itself in a location or situation, just how it feels, or just how it remains with stability in a place, instance or condition.

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

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

And now, let’s view all the certain cases when you usage estar come say “to be.”

1. To suggest location

Estar expresses the place of who or something that 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 mechanically workshop.

¿Dónde están mis lentes?Where room my glasses?

2. Come express variable problems or claims

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

Mi mamá está enfadada conmigo.My mother is mad in ~ me.

Juan está de buen feeling hoy.Juan is in a an excellent mood today.

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

3. Utilizing expressions with bien, mal, cerca, and lejos

There are likewise some expressions that go through estar:

Eso no está bien.That is not right.

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

Su casa está cerca pero la mía está lejos.His home is near but 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, exactly how time flies.

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

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

Estar forms part of the present constant tense in that 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 way “to have,” or “to possess,” but it also translates as “to be” in particular cases. Use tener to express something that you physically own or a means you feel at a particular point in time—that is, a feeling or a require you have.

1. Come express physics needs and also emotional claims

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

Mamá, tengo hambre ¿vamos por una pizza?Mom, i’m hungry, shall we go because that a pizza?

¿Me das agua? Tengo sed.Can I have some water? i’m thirsty.

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

Vaya clima, tengo muchísimo calor.What a weather, i’m so hot.

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

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

2. Come express a person’s age

This usage is most likely the an initial that strikes girlfriend when finding out Usage tener to talk about people’s ages, not ser.

Tengo veinte años.I am two decades old.

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

¡Los dos tenemos dieciocho!We are both eighteen.

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


Avoid These usual Mistakes utilizing Ser, Estar, and also Tener

Apart indigenous a usual error favor “yo soy veinte años,” over there are various other traps to watch out for while deciding whether to usage ser, estar or tener.

Some situations exist when you can use both ser and estar through the same adjectives, but take note! The meaning can fully change relying on which verb friend use.

This chart shows what i mean:

Change of an interpretation – Ser vs Estar Chart

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


instance sentence

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

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

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

Mi tío está muy grave, no le quedan muchos días de vida.My uncle’s problem is an extremely serious, he doesn’t have countless days left.

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

Mi comida está rica.My food is good.

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

No estoy segura, tengo que pensarlo.

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

Ser vs Estar vs Tener – Multiple selection Quiz

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