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Episode 79: Ser vs. Estar, Part 3

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

This is it, the final episode of our mini three-part series on Spanish's ser vs. estar. In Episode 77, we looked specifically at how and when to use ser, remembering the mnemonic SER + ¿SE TIENE? Then in Episode 78 we looked at how and when to use estar, using the mnemonic SÍ, Lo Está TIRAndo. So if you haven't listened to those, I recommend that you download those podcasts first before listening to this episode. Why? Because even though we'll do a quick recap of these two mnemonics, today's episode is where we put it all together and look at how using ser vs. estar in different scenarios actually changes a sentence's meaning! Plus, a mini self-test for your enjoyment, and we're also going to finish our cultural tip miniseries on Bolivia by looking at three unique cultural traditions! ¡Vámanos!


Just a quick note - if you would like more resources to help you with Ser vs. Estar and other Spanish grammar, check out the links in today's Show Notes! Full disclosure, some of them are Amazon affiliate links (For more information, see my Disclosure Policy), and I have clearly marked which ones. But they were invaluable in preparing for this episode series! So please enjoy! ^_^

Quick Recap on Using SER

In order to remember when and how to use ser, just remember SER + ¿SE TIENE?. So you have:

  1. S for SE for the Passive Voice in ¿SE TIENE?;

  2. E for Expresión for the expression ¿SE TIENE? to help you remember that you use it for possessives. (Is it had? Is it a possessive?); and

  3. R for Revelación.

    1. The revelation is in the acronym TIENE, for Time, Impersonal Expressions, Norms, and Event Locations.

Quick Recap on Using ESTAR

In order to remember when and how to use estar, just remember the phrase, SÍ, Lo Está TIRAndo.

  1. is for Subjective Impressions;

  2. Lo stands for Location;

  3. Está TIRAndo, the entire phrase, is to remind you that estar can form the Present Progressive; and

  4. TIRA in TIRAndo stands for:

    1. Temporary Conditions, Idiomatic Expressions, and Result of an Action.

How Ser or Estar Changes the Meaning

Now let's put it all together and look at these 16 example sentences using both ser and estar. Try to figure out the different nuances before expanding the list for each sentence (which will give you the translations).

1. Mi amiga es un poco fría. / Mi amiga está un poco fría.

2. ¡Tu eres sucio! / ¡Tu estás sucio!

3. Ursula es mala. / Ursula está mala.

4. Mi esposo es fuerte. / Mi esposo está fuerte.

5. La niña es muy atenta. / La niña está muy atenta.

6. Ellos son listos. / Ellos están listos.

7. ¡Vosotros fuisteis tan aburridos! / ¡Vosotros estuvisteis tan aburridos!

8. Los plátanos son verdes. / Los plátanos están verdes.

9. Mi abuelo es vivo. / Mi abuelo está vivo.

10. ¿Cómo es tu niñera? Ella es muy feliz. / ¿Cómo está tu niñera? Ella está muy feliz.

11. Mi tía es vieja. / Mi tía está vieja.

12. ¿Tu eres seguro? / ¿Tu estás seguro?

13. Mi comida es rica. / Mi comida está rica.

14. Mi pelota es roja. / Mi pelota está roja.

15. Mis nietos son altos. / Mis nietos están altos.

16. Soy británica. / Estoy británica.

Mini Test!

And, finally, I've created a mini test of 20 questions just for you, so you can quiz yourself to see how well those mnemonics are working for you! :) Decide if the blank should be filled with the verb ser or estar, and then expand the sentence to find out if you're right! I've also included which part of the mnemonic can help you remember why the verb is either ser or estar, in case you want to revisit that part of past episodes., as well as the translation.

¡Buena suerte!

1. ¿Dónde Raúl?

2. ¿Dónde la fiesta de Julia?

3. El pastel cocinado.

4. El pastel cocinado por mi padre.

5. Ellos peruanos, cristianos, y maestros de matematicas.

6. ¿Qué hora ? las tres.

7. ¿Qué día ? el 17 de octubre.

8. ¿Cuánto cuesta esa muñeca? $35.

9. de acuerdo.

10. Mi camisa de seda.

11. maravilloso tener hijos.

12. Él mi esposo.

13. casada.

14. No guapa, pero esta noche, sí, ¡ guapa!

15. El perro mío

16. La ventana cerrada.

17. ¿Qué pasó? ¡Pedro gordo!

18. María nadando antes de que empiece la escuela.

19. Mi abuelo muerto.

20. Los niños ya dormidos.

How'd you do? If there are still things you have questions on or are unsure of, you can always revisit Episode 77 or Episode 78, or send me an email at ^_^

And thus ends our miniseries on ser vs. estar! I hope you enjoyed it, or that it at least helped you out!

Remember, learning a language is a lifelong journey.

¡Aprovéchalo, Disfrútalo y Compártelo!


Cultural Tip: Bolivia

Unique Traditions

Bolivia has a lot of cool and unique traditions and customs, but today we'll focus on three really interesting ones!

1. Carnaval de Oruro (Saturday before Ash Wednesday)

In more ancient times, the mining town of Uroro was called Uru Uru by the Uru people. This mountain town can draw up to 400,000 for its reknown festival, Carnaval de Oruro. The party lasts for 10 days and highlights dancing, crafts, food, and more. UNESCO has even declared it a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity!

Because of the Spanish colonization of the area in the 17th century, and their ensuing forbiddance of pagan celebrations, the locals hid their pagan worship within the Catholic traditions, creating a unique blend of pagan and sacred. Folklore says that this particular carnival came about because of a robin-hood like thief who was mortally injured. According to legend, he repented of his sins and the Virgin of Candelaria, a.k.a. the Virgen del Socavon (Virgin of the Mineshaft) took pity on him and helped him to get home. Her image hung over his head at the base of the mine when others discovered him, dead.

Did this miracle really happen? Or was it a myth created by the Spanish to convince the locals to dedicate a church to la Virgen? Who knows. But out of this myth has come the Oruro Carnival! A time of crazy dancing and an odd mixture of catholic and pagan worship.

To begin with, the whole event is dedicated to the Virgen del Socavon, but two days before this the locals celebrate their ancient pagan celebration of Anata Andina, a time to give thanks to Pachamama (essentially Mother Earth). The night before el Carnival is dedicated to El Tio, or Tio Supay, who was believed to be the god of the mines (but is also portrayed as the Devil in the Carnival).

After this, during actual carnival, you have Pilgrimage Saturday, Carnival Sunday, and Devil's Monday. During this time, tons of musicians and dancers and musical groups participate in the dancing parade, including more than 10,000 musicians and 28,000 dancers. In fact, on Saturday, during the main parade, the dancers walk four kilometers repeatedly for up to 20 hours!

La Diablada is one of the most famous dances, which focuses on good triumphing over evil. It has been performed since 1904, when it began by the indigenous miners as an attempt to keep El Tio from being jealous of their worship of the Virgen.

Check out the video below for a brief glimpse into what the carnival is like!

If you'd like to see a slightly longer video that provides a wider view of the carnaval dancing, as well as several short interviews with various dancers on why they dance (in Spanish!), then check out this YouTube video here.

2. La Entrada Universitaria de La Paz (Last Saturday of July)

When I heard about this tradition, I was pretty psyched! Basically, in La Paz on the last Saturday of July, university students from the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA) go around and dance various native dances. This has been going on since 1988 (with a two-year hiatus thanks to COVID), and the goal is to promote their cultural heritage. Some of the dances include the Caporales, the Morenada, the Tobas, and even the Diablado. Many of them deal with Bolivian history, such as slavery, or storytelling, such Michael the Archangel vs. Lucifer.

What a cool thing to do with your university! See the video below for this year's dancing - along with the university's commentary on the event (in Spanish).

3. Sonso de Yuca Frita

And, of course, we have to have something about traditional food! This was hard; I couldn't decide between Yuca Frita, Silpancho, or any of the numerous different Bolivian versions of empanadas! And then I stumbled upon this recipe by Chipa by the Dozen for Sonso de Yuca Frito, which is basically a cheesy pancake made of Yuca! How could I resist? :D (Want to read it in Spanish? Click here!) Have I added this to my list of foods to try to make? Absolutely! Did I find a new food blog to start following? You betcha! ^_^

But if you want to see even more delicious food to try out, check out today's Cultural Tip show notes. Seriously, Bolivia has some really tasty looking food!



Intro and Closing Music by Master_Service from Fiverr

Cultural Tip Transition Music edited from song by JuliusH from Pixabay

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