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Ser vs. estar usage that is different from my textbook


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Old February 20, 2016, 09:44 AM
one-eyebrow-up one-eyebrow-up is offline
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Ser vs. estar usage that is different from my textbook

Hi! I'm teaching myself Spanish, and my textbook says there are four times to use estar: location, health, mood, and personal opinion about taste or appearance.

However, when I use online translation services to check my work, the last category seems incorrect. I never see "El pescado está delicioso" or "Ella está hermosa". I always see "El pescado es delicioso" and "Ella es hermosa." Is my textbook incorrect about the last category?

Also, I have noticed that estar is used with limpio/sucio, which doesn't match any of the four categories for estar. Are there any other categories besides location, health, and mood where I am supposed to use estar?
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Old February 20, 2016, 12:13 PM
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Rusty Rusty is offline
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Have a look here.

Describing character is what you're confusing, I think.
If something is characteristically delicious, use ser. If it surprises you that something is suddenly delicious, use estar.
If someone is characteristically beautiful, use ser. If you are surprised by someone's sudden beauty, use estar.

Something is not usually dirty (characteristically), so we use estar.

Someone's health is either characteristic, or is a change from the norm. For the first condition, use ser. For the second, use estar.
Ser enfermo (sickly person)
Estar enfermo (sick person)
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Old February 23, 2016, 01:07 PM
Joe Strider Joe Strider is offline
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Whenever I think about the usages of estar, i like to break it down into three categories: feeling/condition, location, and gerund. In reference to the first, we use estar to talk about things that are true at a given point, but not an inherent quality of the noun. Since adjectives like hermoso and delicioso usually describe inherent qualities of nouns, it wouldn't usually be appropriate to use estar. As Rusty said, the only exception would be if you are describing something that breaks the norm of what you expect.
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