“Ser” and “Estar” with adjectives – can totally change your meaning!

With certain adjectives, your meaning can completely change, depending on whether you use “ser” (the permanent verb for “to be”) or “estar” (the temporary verb for “to be”). Here is a list of the adjectives to watch out for to avoid confusion or embarrassment!

Pablo es listo. (Pablo is clever/intelligent.)
Pablo está listo para salir. (Pablo is ready to leave.)

la manzana es verde. (the apple is green.)
la manzana está verde. (the apple is unripe.)

Felipe es orgulloso. (Felipe is vain.)
Felipe está orgulloso. (Felipe is proud.)

El chico es malo. (The boy is bad.)
El chico está malo. (The boy is ill.)

Sofía es buena. (Sofía is good [a good person].)
Sofía está buena. (Sofía is well [in good health].)

La familia Pérez es rica. (The Perez family are rich.)
La comida está rica. (The meal is delicious.)

Carmen es morena. (Carmen is dark-haired.)
Carmen está morena. (Carmen is sun-tanned.)

El bar es vivo. (The bar is lively.)
Su abuelo está vivo todavía. (His/Her grandad is alive still.)

La mesa es pesada. (The table is heavy.)
La profesora está pesada. (The teacher is tiresome/dull.)

La clase es aburrida. (The lesson is boring.)
Ana está aburrida. (Ana is bored.)

Soy seguro aquí. (I am safe here.)
Estoy seguro de que … (I am sure that …)

Summary:

listo: (ser) clever / (estar) ready
verde: (ser) green / (estar) unripe
orgulloso: (ser) vain / (estar) proud of something/someone
malo: (ser) bad / (estar) ill
bueno: (ser) good / (estar) well (good health)
rico: (ser) rich / (estar) delicious/tasty (food)
moreno: (ser) dark-haired / (estar) sun-tanned
vivo: (ser) lively / (estar) alive
pesado: (ser) heavy (object) / (estar) heavy going / dull
aburrido: (ser) boring / (estar) bored
seguro: (ser) safe / (estar) sure / certain

 
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