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Adjectives that can be used with both 'ser' and 'estar'

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There are some adjectives in Spanish that can be used with both ser and estar, but that change their meaning depending on the verb choice. Let’s see an example: 

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In this example we can see the permanent/temporary distinction applies fairly well. In the example with ser (on the left) we’re talking about a permanent quality they have. In the example on the right (with estar) we mean to say they’re only bored right now; it’s a temporary state.

Let’s see a couple more examples: 

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Another adjective that changes meaning is despierto/a. In the example with ser on the left, we’re talking about a permanent quality or characteristic of the baby: how smart he is; we’re making an assessment of the baby. On the right, we’re talking about a temporary condition (being awake); we’re comparing the baby now with the previous situation (being asleep). 

Let’s see one more: 

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In this last example, we’re using ser molesto (to be annoying) to make an assessment or give an opinion on the dog; it’s a typical behavior of him. In contrast, we’re using estar molesto (to be angry) to emphasize a temporary situation (my dog is angry now, but he’ll be fine soon) and also to compare this with previous situations (he was happy before but now that we went to the vet he’s angry). 


To sum up, some adjectives can have a change in meaning depending on the verb you use: ser or estar. If you want to learn more adjectives that can be used with ser and estar with a change in meaning, make sure you check out this list we’ve made for you!

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