Weekly Spanish Tip – 11/9/17 – Why is SER sometimes used in temporary situations?


Hola chicos,

Buenas tardes a todos.  ¿Qué tal?


I was teaching a class the other day and something very common came up, which is the use of SER with a temporary situation.  

The biggest misconception with SER & ESTAR is that anything temporary will require the use of the verb ESTAR.  This is absolutely not the case.


The first thing you need to know is that ESTAR is only used for temporary states & conditions.

For example:

  • Someone being sick is a temporary condition (Está enfermo)
  • Someone looking spectacular for an evening out is a temporary state (Está estupendo/a)
  • Someone being nervous about a test is a temporary state (Está nervioso)

Now, there are situations that come up that are temporary, but they are not states or conditions.

For example:

  • Someone that is a student for 4 years – yes, it is temporary, but being a student is NOT a condition (Ser un estudiante)
  • Someone that worked as a tutor in between jobs – yes, it was a temporary situation but NOT a condition (Ser un tutor)
  • Someone that was very mischievous as a child – yes, it was temporary but it was a part of who the person was – it was not a state or a condition (ERA travieso)


So think of states/conditions are temporary circumstances, not temporary situations for example.


Does that make sense?