How can we say: “to be” in Spanish?


“To be”, the “magic” Verb.

One of the verbs that are first learned in any language, are those who correspond with the verb “to be”. The Spanish is no exception, only that, in Spanish, two verbs are needed in order to achieve to express what is accomplished with the verb “to be”.




Reviewing the use of “to be” in English we can see that is used for two conditions:

  • The condition that express permanent characteristics of persons, animals or things:
    • I am fat
    • The dog is white
    • They are smart
  • The condition of express conditions that are (or may be) transitory, of persons, animals or things:
    • I am fat since the holidays
    • The dog is dirty
    • They are silent

to be

In Spanish, to express permanent characteristics is used the Irregular verb: Ser.

    • Yo soy gordo
    • El perro es blanco
    • Ellos son inteligentes





And to express transitory features is used the Regular verb: Estar.

  • Yo estoy gordo
  • El perro está sucio
  • Ellos están en silencio

The verb conjugations both, at all times, are as numerous as all the verbs in Spanish, and there is not other solution which learn them with lots of practice, study and the right tools.

Our today’s Tips, for verbs which are equivalent to “to be” are:

  • The verb “Ser” is used for expressing professions and nationalities:
    • Yo soy Americano. También soy Ingeniero → I am American. Also I am Engineer
    • El es Médico y nació en Venezuela. Eso significa que es un Médico Venezolano
  • When we talk about the presence in places, the Verb “Estar” is still used as the condition is not transitory:
    • Ella está en su casa → She is at home
    • Ustedes estaban en la Playa. → You were on the beach
    • La casa está en la montaña → The house is on the mountain
    • La Universidad donde estudio está en Orlando → The university where I study is in Orlando
  • In many cases, both verbs may be used to express something that may be permanent or transitory:
    • Tu eres muy linda. Hoy estás muy linda. → You are very pretty. Today you are very pretty
    • El está en Florida. El es de Florida. → He is in Florida. He is from Florida

We would like to know your opinion on this. We hope your comments.



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Written By Alberto Otano

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