Spanish Verb Estar

A couple of lessons ago, we worked on the basic use of the verb “to be.” In this lesson we take a further look.

If you wanted to say, “I am sick,” or, “I am lost,” in Spanish, you’d be mistaken to use the “to be” verb that you previously learned, ser. “Ser” only describes permanent or nearly permanent states, such as being married (casado) or being tall (alto) or skinny (flaco).

The second “to be” verb in Spanish, estar, is used to describe location, health, or any condition that is only temporary. In the above example, you certainly don’t expect to be sick or lost forever.

The verb “estar” has a straight-forward conjugation in the present tense:

Present tense of ESTAR

Yoestoy
estás
Ud., él, ellaestá
Nosotros/asestamos
Vosotros/asestáis
Uds., ellos, ellasestán

Note the placement of the accent marks as well. While está can mean he or she is or you are, esta means “this,” as in esta cosa or “this thing.” The accent marks, in addition to indicating the correct pronunciation, distinguish completely separate words.

Where am I?

The most common way of asking the location of an object, person or place is:

¿Dónde está…?

This means, Where is…?

For example:

¿Dónde está el baño? - Where is the bathroom?
¿Dónde está mi carro? - Where is my car?
¿Dónde está el hotel? - Where is the hotel?

If you want to understand the answer, you need to learn some basic direction and location words.

Important Direction Words

For example:

Forming DEL from DE and EL

Remember that the word de means of? Except for adelante, entre, and en, all the above direction words require de if they are followed by an object. For example:

a la izquierda de la calle

principal to the left of the principal street

delante de la tienda

in front of the shop

cerca del parque

near the park

al lado del museo nacional

beside the national museum

Hint: The words “de” + “el” form the contraction “del.”

More examples:

1. ¿Dónde está el gato?

Where is the cat?

El gato está al lado del perro.

The cat is beside the dog.

 

 

2. ¿Dónde está el lápiz?

Where is the pencil?

El lápiz está a la derecha de Maria.

The pencil is to Maria’s right.

 

 

3. ¿Dónde está el baño?

Where is the bathroom?

El baño está cerca de la oficina.

The bathroom is near the office.

Coming up next is a review of what you’ve learned in this part of the program.

How Do You Feel?

When you talk about how you feel—whether you be tired, sad, or sick--you are usually talking about a temporary state. Therefore, you should use the “to be” verb estar.

How do you ask others how they feel?

Yo¿Cómo estoy?How am I?
¿Cómo estás?How are you? (e.g., to a friend)
Ud.¿Cómo está Ud?How are you? (e.g., to your boss)
Nosotros/as¿Cómo estamos?How are we?
Vosotros/as¿Cómo estáis?How are you? (e.g. to a group of friends)
Uds.¿Cómo están Uds.?How are you? (e.g., to a group of co-workers)

Por ejemplo:

In the next section we’ll work on describing things, using Spanish adjectives.


Testing!

Test yourself with the Rocket Spanish testing tools! Improve your knowledge of Spanish and earn points for your badges along the way!

Note that the tests below are listed from easiest to hardest. Also, when a test is successfully rated the rating icon will at the top right of this page will show that rating.

Hear It Say It!

<{percentComplete['hearit']}>

Improve your understanding of spoken Spanish. With Hear it Say it! you can tune your ear to Spanish, increase your vocabulary and improve your pronunciation at the same time! Ready?

  • Click the Get Started button below
  • LISTEN to the audio (and touch up your pronunciation with Rocket Record if you like; Chrome/Firefox/Edge desktop browsers only)
  • Click REVEAL to see the word/phrase and see the translation
  • Just click your RATING to continue

See how many words you've rated at each level below. Just click on the number below each rating to review your words and phrases.

Write It!

<{percentComplete['writeit']}>

Write it! helps you to improve your written Spanish and your understanding of sentence structures. Just listen to the audio and type in what you hear!

  • Click the Get Started button below
  • LISTEN to the audio
  • WRITE down, in Spanish, what you hear
  • Click REVEAL to see the word/phrase and see the translation
  • Your answer will be automatically RATED, just click the rating to continue

Tip!

Click the keyboard icon for a Spanish keyboard

Know It!

<{percentComplete['knowit']}>

Know it! tests you on your ability to translate English to Spanish! Ready?

  • Click the Get Started button below
  • READ the word/phrase
  • RECORD yourself saying it in Spanish (Chrome/Firefox/Edge desktop browsers only)
  • Click REVEAL to see the word/phrase in Spanish and listen to the Spanish audio

Over 1,200,000 people love Rocket Languages

Here's what Rocket Languages members have to say:

Andrei Freeman - Pennsylvania, USA

Andrei
Freeman

Pennsylvania, USA

Rudi Kopp - USA

Rudi
Kopp

USA

Carmen Franceschino - Pennsylvania, USA

Carmen
Franceschino

Pennsylvania, USA

Kelly Scali - Chicago, USA

Kelly
Scali

Chicago, USA

Mark Waddel - Auckland, NZ

Mark
Waddel

Auckland, NZ

William McGill - Florida, USA

William
McGill

Florida, USA

Probably the best language tool I've come across. Actually love it more than Rosetta Stone and Duolingo

Try our award-winning Spanish language software for FREE

(And see how easy it actually is to learn Spanish... even if you've tried and failed before)

As seen in The New York Times, PC Mag Editors' Choice, Trust Guard - Security Verified, 60 Day - Money back Guarantee