Forum Rocket Spanish Spanish - Vocab difference between soy and estoy

difference between soy and estoy


Hello everyone!

This is probably a simple question because I am only up to lesson 1.4, but what is the difference between using soy and estoy? Amy said "soy" means "I'm" and I've noticed she uses it in reference to occupation and where you are from, and "estoy" for "I am" usually with a verb after it. I get them mixed up at times and I think I'll remember it better if I know the reasons for each use :)
If someone already posted a thread on this, I would appreciate the link! Sorry if this is an ignorant question or is just something I should not be thinking about this early on. 




Ser (yo soy) and estar (yo estoy) mean both "to be", but are used in different cases.  (ser is for permanent attributes and  the time, and estar for changing attributes or places to be for example)

Explanations can be found here :    or


Hey thanks! That info really helps!


Another way to think about the differences between ser and estar is that ser is used for essential characteristics of something or someone, while estar is used for more transient conditions. Classic examples are:

La manzana es verde.
The apple is green (in color, an essential characteristic)
La manzana está verde.
The apple is unripe (a condition that will change)


El hombre está borracho.
The man is drunk (a transient characteristic)
El hombre es borracho.
The man is a drunk (a permanent condition)

Using the permanent/temporary test can be misleading. When you want to say that someone is dead you say, "él está muerto." Not es muerto. Being dead is a permanent characteristic, but is not an essential characteristic of the person, so está not es is used. Similarly, está is used to describe locations, even when describing things that have been in the same place for centuries, such as the pyramids.

When to use ser or estar is something that vexes most students of Spanish -- me included -- and is right up there with whether to use por or para. After a while the correct one starts to feel intuitive. ¡Buen suerte!


Thanks for the examples and explanations! Hopefully getting this into my mind early on will help me out later. I really appreciate this!! 


Also, ser is used for times and dates along with locations of events such a concert.

¿Cuándo ​es ​el concierto?
​El concierto es el 12 de octubre.
​Y es en el estadio.
El estadio está​ cerca de la plaza.

​It takes time to get all this straightened out and I still have hiccups with it.  Sometimes the native speakers get confused also, so just go with the flow and don't be timid.


Ah, yes, excellent advice. I like to think that being confident helps smooth out the other stuff. Hopefully people seeing that I'm engaged with the convo and won't be embarrassed if/when they offer a correction will get me somewhere quicker than being slow "trying not to make mistakes". Really appreciate your all your info!!!



Every native Spanish speaker that I have ever talked with has been extremely patient and helpful with me. At the risk of generalizing, it seems to me that Spanish speakers appreciate it when people try to communicate in their language, and go out of their way to politely offer corrections.


I am excited to experience that @Dan-H24!!

David K

Gracias a todos.

Esta es una gran pregunta y grandes respuestas.

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