Difference Between Ser and Estar

Many individuals who learn about the Spanish language are often confused about the usage of verbs like ser or estar. Similarly to por and para, people find it very tricky to use ser and estar.

The meaning of both worlds is the same that means to be and they are the most frequently used words in Spanish languages. Many times it can be confusing.

Ser vs Estar

The main difference between ser and estar is that ser is used to refer to permanent traits of people whereas ester is used to refer to transient conditions. If any person wants to describe the qualities or characteristics of anything or person, also place, one should use ser.

Ser vs Estar

And in case if a person wants to describe the physical location of a person then one should use Ester. Many times ser is used for action whereas, for a description of current condition, the ester is used.


Comparison Table Between Ser and Estar (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonSerEster
UsageUsed to describe when action is takenUsed to describe about something’s state or an individual
ConditionUsed when there is permanent conditionUsed when there is con permanent condition
Areas to useQualities, Profession, Nationality, Expressions and ownershipTemporary ownership, position or location,emotions, actions
Different formsSoy, eres, es, somos, sois, sonEstoy, estas, esta, estamos, estais, estan
ExampleEl es Silencioso (he is silent)Él está Silencioso (he is being silent)


What is Ser?

Ser is a Spanish verb that is used for long terms and permanent terms. Basically, it is used to answer several questions such as How one can describe person/place/thing? It means that if you want to describe an essential quality then one should use the ser.

Since the usage of this world will define a thing or person that would not change in the future.it could be used to give names, religion, personal information, physical descriptions and many more.

Here are some important forms of the ser verb:

  1. Soy Nora (It means I am Nora)
  2. Son Nora y Neil (It means they are Nora and Neil)

Physical Descriptions

  1. Soy Delgada y alta (I am thin and tall)
  2. Nora es baja y Pelirroja (Nora is short and red-headed)


  1. Soy profesora de Matemáticas (I am professor of mathematics)
  2. Son limpiadora (I am cleaner)

Personal Relationships

  1. Rahul es mi Hermano (Rahul is my brother)
  2. Aaron es mi primo Hermano (Arron is my cousin brother)

What is Estar?

Estar is another verb in Spanish which means “to be”. When anyone uses a verb like estar, it is used to change or conjugate verbs to make it match with the sentence’s subject.

In the Spanish language, different verbs have different conjugations, for different pronouns like she, he or I and you.

In order to make use of all different forms, it is necessary to change the letter once you write on the web. Here the word is changed by adding the ‘ar’ suffix.

Estar is another irregular verb when we talk about indicative present tense. Some of the forms of “Estar” verb are following

  1. Estoy: I am
  2. Estas: you are
  3. Estan: they are or you are (plural formal)
  4. Estais: you are (plural informal)
  5. Estamos: we are
  6. Esta : you are/ she is/ he is

Some of the examples for estar verbs.

  1. Esta Feliz (He or she is happy)
  2. Estoy Enferma (I am sick)

Use of Ester in the present continuous tense

  1. Estoy Hablando (It means “I am talking”)
  2. Estamos escribiendo (It means We are Writing)

Usage of Ester with any location

  1. Donde Esta Nora (Where is Nora?)
  2. El está en la escuela (He is in school)

Main Differences Between Ser and Estar

1. A major difference between both verbs, ser and Estar is that ester is used to refer to temporary conditions whereas ser is used to refer permanent conditions. For example

Nora es rubia, delgada y alta – It means “ Nora is blonde, thin and tall.

Here in this example, ser is used for describing a person.

Nora est confundida – It means “ Nora is confused”.

Here in this example, estar is used to describe a temporary condition.

2. Another difference is ser is used to describe action and ester is used to describe the current situation. Ser is used when people talk about action to be taken or about someone else. Whereas ester is used when people talk about someone’s state or someone. Let us look at an example.

La Comida fue hecha por la familia de Nora – It means that “ the food was made by Nora’s family”.

Here in this example, we will use ser since, in this sentence, the focus is on actual action ie making food. Let us look at an example.

La Comida está hecha. – It means that “ the food is made”.

Since in this example, the focus is more on the resulting state of food, estar is used.

3. One more difference is ser is used to describe the characteristics of people, place or something. And the meaning behind that information is not associated with duration of time. Whereas estar is used to describe similar attributes. For example

Mi novio es genial – It means “ my boyfriend is cool”.

Eres Hermosa en Este vestido – It means “ you are beautiful in this dress”.



Ser and estar are two verbs meaning the same i.e. “to be”. Ser is used most of the time to tell about the permanent state. It also describes that it is an essential part of the language. Whereas Ester is used to answering the question “How”.

Hence it is mostly used for things like actions, emotions, locations, and conditions. So we use ser in areas like a place of origin, possession, relationship, where things happen, essential qualities.

And Estar is used in areas like progressive tenses, idiomatic expressions, condition and state, geographical and physical location.

Key Differences Between Ser and Estar (PDF Format)

Download the key differences in .PDF format, to read or print them later:

Difference Between Ser and Estar



  1. https://brill.com/view/book/edcoll/9789401208345/B9789401208345-s016.xml
  2. https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI9532145/
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