To many an English speaking person trying to understand or learn the difference between the Spanish equivalents of to be which are ser and estar; might be a complicated manner specially since English unlike Spanish or Italian, has but one form.

To be in English can be used to indicate something that is; for instance I am British, which we can say is something permanent as this will not change yet we can use the same structure to indicate something less permanent. For instance I am at work, which is not such a permanent case as in a few seconds I might go out of work. The verb does not change however, in Spanish it does; with the first case of my being British to be translated as Yo soy Britanico using the verb ser. The second situation of my being at work to be translated as Yo estoy en el trabajo. As we can see in both cases the verb to be is involved however, because the second one is less permanent it can be considered in the category of estar.

The estar form of the verb to be given that it refers to what is not so permanent is also used in the present continuous form as it is in English for instance in the case of I am working which translated into Spanish would be Yo estoy trabajando. This being the case as I am working is not a permanent situation, given that in a matter of seconds I might stop my actions.

I for my part have always found this particular case as interesting, given not so much the previous explanation but the way in which marriage is not considered permanent but something changeable. This the case which in Spanish makes the correct form Yo estoy casado (I am married) which can be compared to Yo estoy cansado, which means I am tired and is also considered that which can change easily. Nationality however, along with physical descriptions, are considered permanent or less frequently changed as one uses the verb ser, as in the case of being tall which is Yo soy alto. This being I am tall. Professions, on the other hand which one can change as many times during ones life as one can change wives or husbands fall under the category of what is permanent making it that one says Yo soy escritor or I am a writer in English.

There are many things I could say about this verb but in summary I will urge those who are learning Spanish to take their time to study the cases of when to use ser or estar as they are not really complicated but do require time from the learner, wishing to know them well.

Author's Bio: 

The Author is an avid learner of the Spanish Language having recently relocated to Spain. He was previously a director of a successful employment business and has since moved on to a new challenge.

His interests include learning Spanish, writing, getting a grasp on the whole mix that is the internet and his family. He enjoys playing Golf now as his body won't allow him to play football or rugby any more! He also enjoys learning about different cultures, in particular the Spanish culture; primarily because he loves wine and fiestas.