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Ser vs Estar; Characteristic vs Condition

One of the most "annoying" topics when learning Spanish is to determine when to use accurately the verb SER or ESTAR in front of and ADJECTIVE. As we know an adjective is a word that determines and describes a noun. Grande, blanca, contenta, bonito are adjectives. So the problem starts when we find out that these two verbs are used to relate or identify a noun with an adjective, for example: "Juan es alto" or "mi perra está feliz". Juan and perra are the nouns and alto and feliz are the adjectives. Why in the first example I used SER and in the second I used ESTAR?... Because "alto" is a characteristic of Juan and "feliz" is a condition of my dog. "Alto" is part of Juan's personality, we could say it is inherent to Juan while "feliz" is the mood or how my dog is feeling at a certain time. Unless we mean "feliz" as a part of my dog's "personality" we have to use ESTAR and not SER... read more

Acquiring a second language is a HABIT.

When you are learning a second language don't expect to go through a book or class and have the topic learned and be ready for the next one. If you think this way, you will feel frustrated when you forget the vocabulary or the verb conjugation the following class or the next time you grab your book. If you really want to acquire the language make it a habit. Read, listen, speak, do grammar exercises, watch shows in the target language every day or almost every day. You need to be exposed to the language to actually ACQUIRE it. It doesn't hurt if you always start in the same page of your book, you are not a "moron" if you do so; by contrary you are an effective learner, you are dominating something, feeling comfortable and familiar with it. Keep going through your book or course and come back all the way or half way whenever you feel like it. You are not moving backwards, you are mastering. The commitment is to do it for at least 20 minutes per day or 10 minutes... read more

Spanish Chalange Number 1 Ser vs Estar

There are several ways to explain the specific uses of the verb Ser vs Estar. However, I'll give you a very good advise about it. We basically never use the verb Estar followed by a NOUN. It could be an adjective (cansado, triste) another verb (hablando, comiendo) or a preposition followed by a place (en la cocina, en la oficina), by the other hand, only the verb Ser is used to IDENTIFY two NOUNS, for example, "Yo soy doctor", "Ella es mujer", "El gato es un animal". So, observe how the pronouns yo, ella are also NOUNS and in the three examples I'm giving, Ser is been used to IDENTIFY such nouns. 

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