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Meaning Changes - Ser vs. Estar


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Old January 25, 2014, 01:32 PM
Liquinn3 Liquinn3 is offline
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Originally Posted by El Gato View Post
Are there meaning changes with all emotions if you use ser instead of estar?

Estar feliz
Ser feliz

Estar enojado
Ser enojado

Estar triste
Ser triste
Yep. If you say 'Estoy feliz' you're saying you're happy right now. If you say 'Soy feliz' you're saying you're a happy person.
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Old January 25, 2014, 06:35 PM
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AngelicaDeAlquezar AngelicaDeAlquezar is offline
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"Ser" is used when you're talking about the identity or an intrinsic characteristic of a person; "estar" is used for an attribute that doesn't belong to the person's personality description.

It's rather hard to imagine when I'd say of a person "es enojado", because "enojado" usually implies a specific situation for which one is upset. Nevertheless, there are people who can be described as being "colérico, irritable, iracundo" to indicate that this person is always angry or that they get easily angry, and this is a trait of his own personality.

If I say "soy feliz", it means I identify happiness with my own identity, but if I say "estoy feliz", it implies that something happened to me (something that is not a part of myself) that made me happy for a while.

If someone says "Juan está triste", one must assume there is something that happened to him that made Juan sad; but if there's someone who says "Juan es triste", they're probably talking about a melancholic rather dramatic personality.

Small example:
You have just met Mr. López, and you describe him: "El señor López es calvo y gordo."
Mr. López' brother describes him: "Mi hermano está calvo y gordo."
The difference in the chosen verbs is because if you have just met Mr. López, you may assume (consciously or not) that he has always been bald and fat, while for his brother, who knew him when he had long hair and was thin, these are characteristics that do not belong to the identity of his brother.

I hope this helps.
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Old January 26, 2014, 12:45 PM
El Gato El Gato is offline
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Very helpful, thank you.
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Old April 25, 2014, 10:21 AM
Ivy2937 Ivy2937 is offline
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Originally Posted by laepelba View Post
I wonder if it would be a good idea to make a new sticky thread (or a vocabulary by theme thread?) looking at the changes in meaning that can happen when exchanging ser vs. estar + an adjective or participle. Let me give a few of the examples that I have run across for a start:

ser aburrido = to be boring
estar aburrido = to be bored
Spanish : El es aburridor (boring) means usual characteristic
El está aburrido : temporary characteristic


ser callado = to be soft-spoken
estar callado = to be silent

ser callado = quiet, tight lipped (habla poco)
estar callado= silent (silencio)

ser interesado = to be self-serving
estar interesado = to be interested
El es interesado = profit seeking
El está interesado=concerned, bother for
ser loco = to be mad, upset
estar loco = to be scatterbrained
El es loco his usual characteristic= he is insane, crazy
El está loco= temporary characteristic= he is being crazy
ser rico = to be rich
estar rico = to be delicious
El es rico = he is rich ( usual characteristic
El está rico= temporary situation at the moment, he is being rich
Rico could be an adjective about rich and also about an ice-cream está rico.

The linking verbs in Spanish ser, estar, parecer convey with ser a durative sense and with estar transitory effect as a general rule :
He is foolish and he is being foolish.

Originally Posted by El Gato View Post
Are there meaning changes with all emotions if you use ser instead of estar?

Estar feliz
Ser feliz

He is happy usual characteristic
he is being happy now, at the moment
Estar enojado he is angry at the moment
Ser enojado we say in colombia es un cascarrabias (grouch) we don't use es enojado.

Estar triste he is sad at the moment, now, state

Ser triste he is a sad person his usual character.

Last edited by Rusty; April 27, 2014 at 06:52 PM. Reason: merged back-to-back posts
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estar, ser, ser vs estar


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