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Using ser in Spanish

11 May, 2017 Popular Articles
Using ser in Spanish2 votes. 4.5 / 5

There are two verbs in Spanish that can be translated as "to be": ser and estar. In the previous article, we've learnt about ways to use estar in Spanish and forms of estar. This lesson will focus on the correct usage of ser, ser conjugation in Spanish, and difference between ser and estar.

Conjugation of ser in Spanish

Ser comes in many conjugated forms:

Conjugation of ser in the present tense:

SubjectSer conjugationTranslation
yo soyI am
tú  eresYou are
él/ella/usted es He/She is / You (formal) are
nosotros/nosotras somosWe are
vosotros/vosotras sois You all are
ellos/ellas/ustedes son They/You all (formal) are

ser conjugation in Spanish

Ser conjugation in Spanish

Conjugation of ser in future tense

SubjectSer conjugationTranslation
yo seréI am
tú  serásYou will be
él/ella/usted seráHe/She/You (formal) will be
nosotros/nosotras seremosWe will be
vosotros/vosotras seréisYou all will be
ellos/ellas/ustedes seránThey/You all (formal) will be

How to use ser in Spanish?

Though both ser and estar mean "to be", they are distinct verbs with different meanings to the native Spanish speaker.

1. User ser to indicate existence

Ser is used merely to indicate that something exists. 

Examples:

Ser o no ser, esa es la pregunta - To be or not to be, that is the question

Pienso, luego soy - I think, therefore I am

2. Use ser with adjectives for inherent or essential characteristic 

Use ser to describe the essential nature of something, not how something might be at a particular moment.

Examples:

La casa es grande -  The house is big

La nieve es fría - Snow is cold

So this is different from estar. 

For example: If you say "Estoy feliz", it might mean "I am happy at the moment." Estar is used to talk about something that is temporary while ser is used to talk about something permanent.

3. Use ser to indicate the origin, nature, or identity

Ser should be used to talk about someone's occupations, the origin of something, or the place where someone comes from or lives, and someone's religion.

Examples:

Somos de Argentina - We are from Argentina

Los billetes son de papel - The bills are made of paper

El papa es católico - The pope is Catholic

4. Use ser to indicate possession

Examples:

El coche es mío - The car is mine

5. Use ser to form the passive voice

Examples:

Son usados para comer - They are used for eating

El gobernador fue arrestado en su propia casa - The governor was arrested in his own home

6. Use ser to tell time

You should use ser when telling time in Spanish

Examples: 

Es la una - It is 1:00

7. Use ser to tell the location of events

While estar is often used for direct statement of location, ser is used for the location of events.

Examples:

El concierto es en la playa - The concert is on the beach

La fiesta será en mi casa - The party will be at my house

Difference between ser and estar

Difference between ser and estar

8. Use ser in impersonal statements

Examples: 

Es importante - It is important

Fue difícil pero necesario - It was difficult but necessary

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