Spanish The Verb Estar

Overview

Estar is one of two Spanish verbs that mean "to be."* Estar is used to describe the current state of a noun – temporary, changeable attributes; feelings, emotions, location, prices, relationship status, temp jobs, etc.

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In Spanish we have two forms of the verb “to be”. We have already learned one of them in our previous lesson about the verb SER. Today, we are going to talk all about the other word for “to be” – ESTAR.

When we use the verb ESTAR and all of its different forms, we are saying:

ESTAR – TO BE

Estoy– I amEstamos– We are
Estás– You (informal) areEstáis– You all are
Está– He/she is, You (formal) areEstán– They are, You all are

**NOTE: Remember to include your accents for the tú, él/ella/usted, vosotros and ellos/ellas/ustedes forms of this verb. The word meaning will change without one!

We use ESTAR in these three scenarios:

  1. To talk about LOCATION of something (ex: I am in my house, My book is on the table)
  2. To talk about the CONDITION or FEELING of something (ex: The soup is hot, My friends are sad)
  3. To use the PRESENT PROGRESSIVE (“ing”) tense (ex: We are reading a book, You are running)

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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.

General Explanation:

Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

Specific Capabilities at this Level

Writing:
I can write a short, simple postcard, for example sending holiday greetings. I can fill in forms with personal details, for example entering my name, nationality and address on a hotel registration form.
Spoken Production:
I can use simple phrases and sentences to describe where I live and people I know.
Spoken Interaction:
I can interact in a simple way provided the other person is prepared to repeat or rephrase things at a slower rate of speech and help me formulate what I’m trying to say. I can ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics.
Reading:
I can understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences, for example on notices and posters or in catalogues.
Listening:
I can recognize familiar words and very basic phrases concerning myself, my family and immediate concrete surroundings when people speak slowly and clearly.