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Okay, so I was browsing through the forum when I came across this sentence "El cuchillo está limpio". Why is it "está" & not "es" limpio? Can "es" only be translated as "it is" and not as "is"? Or is there another reason for this?

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Really! No one can help me??? I'd really like to know what the difference is when using "es" vs "esta". Or is it that there isn't a significant difference & that's why no one is answering my question?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Okay, so I was browsing through the forum when I came across this sentence "El cuchillo está limpio". Why is it "está" & not "es" limpio? Can "es" only be translated as "it is" and not as "is"? Or is there another reason for this?

"El cuchillo esta limpio"

Here "esta" is used to denote the current state of the knife. Typically used in situations where things can change.

Using "es", it can be interpreted in a way to say that the knife is clean and nothing will change.

That's my take on this. I hope this helps a little.

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  • 1 month later...

Usually, the good old dirty trick to know if you don't want to memorize the list of rules that go with ser and estar is this: estar means temporary status, and ser is more of a permanent status.

So if the knife "está" limpio, it is temporarily clean but can get dirty later.

If ser/es was used, it would be a permanent characteristic that it would always be clean.

Sucio makes a lot more sense. If you use estar to say it is dirty/sucio, it means it's dirty but can be cleaned and fixed. If you use ser, it means it is permanently dirty and irreplaceable, kind of like if you got motor oil on a t-shirt.

Hope this makes sense!  :smile:

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  • 2 months later...

As people are saying, the "es" forms mean something permanent whereas "estar" is temporary. So "es" is used for things like cities, buildings, personality, etc. "Estar" is used for things like cleanliness, feelings, locations of objects, etc. This is probably a very silly trick, but I think of the lengths of the words to remember their meaning, so I would think "Es is short, the time I would take to figure out the thing is also short because it never changes. Estar is longer, and the time I would have to think about the thing is longer because it's changing and needs more thought." It's silly and it's a long way to remember something, but it's what I do.

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Eh, this should be quite obvious for anyone studying Spanish... but oh well.  Es and está are two different things and both are valid when used in their own context.  In this case when you say ''El cuchillo está limpio'' you are stating the knife is clean right now, which is ok because we are talking about an OBJECT and its current state. 

''El cuchillo es limpio'' sounds so weird, and is never really used like that, but if instead of ''Cuchillo'' you use ''Raúl'', then it is right to use ''es'' because you are saying Raúl is a clean person. It's also right to use ''Está'' when talking about a person, because you are saying ''Raúl'' is clean right now, and not talking about a positive trait.

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  • 1 month later...

Really this is one of the earlier things you should learn in spanish, the difference between Ser and Estar

Ser is used for anything permanent.  The only real exception is that it is also used for professions and jobs ( which may not be exactly permanent when you think about it).

Estar is for temporary things.

It is funny, because even if you use the same noun and adjective, using the wrong verb can get you in trouble because it can mean something completely different. If you use Ser, you are saying they are ALWAYS that type of person, which can be a huge insult.

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  • 4 months later...

I use 'es' for anything that 'is' and cannot change. For instance, the cat 'es' orange. If it can change, for instance, in reference to a feeling, then I will use the 'estan' version. For instance, "How 'esta' your family?" would constitute a number of various answers. At least, that's how I like to think of it anyway. I'm sure there are probably more complicated rules for it. This is just how I remember.

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  • 3 months later...

Usually, the good old dirty trick to know if you don't want to memorize the list of rules that go with ser and estar is this: estar means temporary status, and ser is more of a permanent status.

So if the knife "está" limpio, it is temporarily clean but can get dirty later.

If ser/es was used, it would be a permanent characteristic that it would always be clean.

Sucio makes a lot more sense. If you use estar to say it is dirty/sucio, it means it's dirty but can be cleaned and fixed. If you use ser, it means it is permanently dirty and irreplaceable, kind of like if you got motor oil on a t-shirt.

Hope this makes sense!  :smile:

Thanks for that information. I may have learned it a while ago, but the refresher was great. It makes sense.

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Really this is one of the earlier things you should learn in spanish, the difference between Ser and Estar

 

Ser is used for anything permanent.  The only real exception is that it is also used for professions and jobs ( which may not be exactly permanent when you think about it).

 

Estar is for temporary things.

 

It is funny, because even if you use the same noun and adjective, using the wrong verb can get you in trouble because it can mean something completely different. If you use Ser, you are saying they are ALWAYS that type of person, which can be a huge insult.

Hehe, I've never taken it as an insult from someone I know whose native language is not Spanish, but you do have a point. :smile:

While everyone is correct in Ser = permanent and Estar = temporary, you mustn't forget these type of rules are not always applicable! For example "Estas siendo muy flojo últimamente." ("You are being very lazy lately")
My example combines both and refers to a temporary state, so remember to consider context and as my English teacher in primary school used to say: "If it feels weird to say it probably is weird!"

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  • 2 months later...

First of all, it is not true that es is for permanent factors and está is for temporary ones.  This is an over simplification.  For example, if you want to say that Mexico is in North America, you might think that you should use es, because Mexico's location is permanent (short of an act of God).  However, está is the correct word.

 

You can use está to locate something in physical space (here, there, on the moon, etc.) and es to locate it in time so if you want to say that the party is next week or was yesterday you would use a form of ser not a form of estar.

 

Now admittedly sometimes this rule of "temporary vs. permanent" may work out, but there are plenty of exceptions.  You would say "Maria es abogada" even though she can change careers if she wants.  Similarly, you might say "El coche es rojo" even though you can paint it a different color if you choose. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 1/19/2016, 7:19:17, Zosimus said:

First of all, it is not true that es is for permanent factors and está is for temporary ones.  This is an over simplification.  For example, if you want to say that Mexico is in North America, you might think that you should use es, because Mexico's location is permanent (short of an act of God).  However, está is the correct word.

 

You can use está to locate something in physical space (here, there, on the moon, etc.) and es to locate it in time so if you want to say that the party is next week or was yesterday you would use a form of ser not a form of estar.

 

Now admittedly sometimes this rule of "temporary vs. permanent" may work out, but there are plenty of exceptions.  You would say "Maria es abogada" even though she can change careers if she wants.  Similarly, you might say "El coche es rojo" even though you can paint it a different color if you choose. 

Everything has exceptions, but for beginners it is best to learn the general rules, and then figure out the exception to the rules later.  For most stuff except professions, the temporary vs permanent rule applies.  And when I explain that exception, I usually say that back when the language was being formed, people generally didn´t change their profession, and even children knew what their profession was going to be for the rest of their life.  Career switching is only a recent phenomenom and the language hasn´t caught up.

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It's not about what's best for beginners.  The problem is that your language is far too strong.  You said, "Ser is used for anything permanent."

 

Really?  Anything permanent should use ser?  Okay.  John's dead.  That's permanent.  Should I say John es muerto?  No, the correct phrase is:  John está muerto.

 

Now, no one is saying that some general guidelines couldn't be spelled out that will work for students in many cases.  I am simply objecting to oversimplifications introduced with excessively strong language.

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  • 5 months later...

Whole books and long has been discussed about the main verbs of spanish: ser and estar. As everyone of you already know, Ser and estar can both be translated as "to be." Let's check out how curious is this thing:

Notice that these two sentences can have different meanings both in English and spanish.

The apple is green. (La manzana está verde)
(Meaning the apple is not ripe.)

The apple is green. (La manzana es verde)
(Meaning the color of the apple is green.)

You see there, when I'm referring to an attribute, like the color of someone or something, "es" is used. When you want to express the "state" of someone or something, you use "estar" instead. "García está vivo", "García es alto", "Garcia es moreno","García está en el baño","Garcia es tímido", "Garcia está comiendo", etc.

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You use está in order to describe a property of an object/person, for example: Esa televisión está muy limpia. But if you use, Es, it doesn't really makes a lot of sense in Spanish: Esa televisión Es muy limpia. You usually use is in order to describe like a complete property? I don't know how to explain it, for example, El cielo es azul, you rereferring to a total property that can change, but at the end of the day it can be generalized. I don't really know how to explain, I'm sorry! I guess that it has to do a lot with grammar. 

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