Unit 3: Introduction to the present tense and adjectives

3.5 Adjectives that Change Meaning with SER and ESTAR

These, among other adjectives, change meaning when used with ser and estar. This is not, however, a long list to be memorized; many of the uses with ser describe what is the norm or an inherent characteristic while those of estar reflect a condition or state that differs from the norm or is subject to change. Memorize the meanings of these phrases with ser and estar to make sure you can recognize them when they appear.

ser estar
ser aburrido – to be boring estar aburrido – to be bored
ser (un) borracho – to be a drunk estar borracho – to be drunk
ser distraído – to be absentminded estar distraído – to be distracted
ser enfermo – to be an invalid estar enfermo – to be ill
ser interesado – to be selfish estar interesado – to be interested
ser libre – to be free (unrestrained) estar libre – to be unoccupied
ser listo – to be smart, clever estar listo – to be ready
ser nuevo – to be new estar nuevo – to be different, new in appearance
ser orgulloso – to be haughty estar orgulloso – to be proud
ser rico – to be rich, to taste good estar rico – to be delicious
ser seguro – to be safe estar seguro – to be sure
ser solo – to be lonely estar solo – to be alone
ser verde – to be green, to be without experience estar verde – to be unripe
ser vivo – to be sharp, alert estar vivo – to be alive



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