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

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Ser vs estar, (and tener) existing nuanced distinctions in definition in that don’t exist in English, which simply translates these verbs (in many situations that i cover here) as “to be.”

Let’s check out some basic rules for expertise the consumption of these verbs and by the end, the ser vs estar vs tener dilemma will come to be crystal clear!

Dialogues using Ser, Estar, and Tener

Before us star, have actually a look in ~ 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 mine grandmother.”“She’s beautiful! exactly 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 auto is new, right?”“Yeah, it’s only a mainly old. Your is new too, no it?”“No way! It’s brand-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 below on, fine cover the link of the 3 verbs, climate dive right right into the rules of usage. After this lesson, it’s as much as you to practice!

Conjugation of Ser, Estar, and also Tener

The following conjugations space in the present an easy tense for ser, estar, tener. Additionally, all examples are in this tense to promote comprehension before you move on to conjugating the verb in various other tenses.

All three verbs room irregular, although estar is only irregular in the first person singular.

Ser conjugation – presente simple

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

Tener shortcut – presente simple

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

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

The rules of consumption for Ser, Estar, and Tener


When to use Ser

Ser expresses the qualities of a human or thing. As soon as you use ser, she talking around characteristics that space a part of the essence of a human being or thing: other unchangeable.

Let’s have a watch at all the cases when you choose ser as your translation because that “to be.”

1. To recognize a person or point

Use ser to express attributes or qualities of a human being or point (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 the plastic, it’s do of wood.

¡Qué guapa es!How beautiful she is!

Mi hermano es rico.My brothers is rich.

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

2. To talk about professions

When you discuss a person’s job, you additionally use ser.

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

Yo soy diseñadora de interiores.I am an inner designer.

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

3. To discuss nationality and origin

When you introduce yourself or one more person,l use ser to say where you’re from.

Sus primos boy peruanos.His cousins room Peruvian.

Su abuela es mexicana.His grandma is Mexican.

¿Eres español?Are friend

4. Come talk around dates and also venues the celebrations

Do you desire to say when and also 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 top top Saturday.

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

5. To talk about time

Use ser to talk around time, job of the week, and also hours.

Hoy es miércoles.Today is Wednesday.

Son las cinco.It’s five o’clock.

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

6. To attend to possession

Ser also helps you come talk around possessions.

¿Esto es tuyo?Is this yours?

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

Las llaves boy de Pedro.The secrets are Peter’s.


When to usage Estar

Think of estar together a standing or condition. Estar expresses how a person or point exists, finds itself in a ar or situation, how it feels, or just how it remains with stability in a place, instance or condition.

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

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

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

1. To show location

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

¿Dónde están mis lentes?Where room my glasses?

2. To express variable conditions or says

While ser expresses permanent qualities and characteristics, estar represents an ext variable and temporal says 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 dress is dirty and also torn.

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

There are also some expressions the go with estar:

Eso no está bien.That is no right.

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

Su casa está cerca pero la mía está lejos.His residence is near but mine is far.

4. To discuss 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 already December 23, how time flies.

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

5. To express plot in gerund type (-ing)

Estar forms part of the present constant tense in the expresses actions in progress.

Mi hermana está cocinando.My sister is cooking.

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


When to usage Tener

Tener method “to have,” or “to possess,” yet it additionally translates as “to be” in specific cases. Use tener to express something that you physically own or a method you feel at a details point in time—that is, a feeling or a need you have.

1. To express physical needs and emotional says

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

Mamá, tengo hambre ¿vamos por una pizza?Mom, ns hungry, shall us 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, i’m so hot.

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

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

2. To express a person’s period

This use is probably the very first that strikes girlfriend when learning Use tener to talk around people’s ages, not ser.

Tengo veinte años.I am 20 years old.

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

¡Los dos tenemos dieciocho!We are both eighteen.

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


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

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

Some situations exist when you have the right to use both ser and also estar v the exact same adjectives, but take note! The meaning can fully change depending upon which verb girlfriend use.

This chart shows what ns mean:

Change of definition – Ser vs Estar Chart

Get much more details: Ser vs Estar: utilizing Adjectives v These Verbs


example sentence

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 brother is bored. He has nothing come do.

Este asunto es grave, tenemos que verlo más de cerca.This is a severe matter, we should 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 no have countless days left.

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

See more: 3 Reasons Why What Other People Think Of You Is None Of Your Business !

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

Ser vs Estar vs Tener – Multiple choice Quiz

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