ser and estar

Impersonal Constructions with Ser and Estar

This two verbs are a big cause of headaches. When to use one? When to use the other? We have already tackled this topic in two previous posts:

Ser or Estar? The Answer

Ser Bueno / Estar Bueno. Not the same thing

In this post, we will learn about the impersonal constructions with these two verbs.

  • Used to express opinion or emotion or to judge or appraise in an impersonal or general way.

1. Es + adjetivo (masc sg) + infinitivo
Es estupendo, es difícil, es inútil, es interesante

Es estupendo poder ir a la fiesta.
– It’s wonderful to be able to go to the party.

2. Es un / una + noun (to express assessment) + infinitive
Es una pena / un error / una suerte / una tontería

Es una pena llegar tarde.
– It’s a pity to arrive late.

Es una suerte saber hacerlo.
– It’s fortunate to know how to do it.

3. Está bien / Está mal + infinitive.

Está bien hacer ejercicio.
– It’s good to do exercise.

Está mal tomar demasiado azúcar.
– It’s wrong to have too much sugar.

  • Remember that in a previous post we said that we use “ser” to talk about the profession. Yes. But we use “estar” to talk about a job or profession with an eventual or temporary nature.

– Yo soy profesora de español.
– I am a Spanish teacher.

– Pedro es médico pero está de socorrista durante el verano.
– Pedro is a doctor but he works as a life guard during the summer.

  • Lo que + ser / estar + es + adjective. Used to rectify or clarify something mentioned previously. It’s always emphatic.

– ¿No estás cansada?
– ¿Cansada? Lo que estoy es cansadísima.

– Are you not tired?
– ¿Tired? What I am is exhausted.