“¿Ser o Estar?” — know the difference?

Mug “¡ANIMO!”

Illustration: R. Chávez

“¿Ser o Estar?”— that is the question. Although in English both mean “to be”, in Spanish “ser bueno” (to be good) is not the same as “estar bueno” (to look good). Although you can be both at the same time 😉

When I moved to Amsterdam for my studies, I found a side job as a waitress at a Mexican restaurant in the touristic center. The owner, who was originally from Armenia — as most of the staff, asked me in the interview: “Are you Mexican?” I responded: “No, I’m from Spain, but I do speak Spanish”. “Can you speak like the Mexicans?” “I speak Spanish from Spain but I can fake the Mexican accent.” “That’s good enough”. The job was mine.

Our daily dialogues went like: “Three beers and two cokes for table three”. “Talk to me in Spanish, I want to learn”. “Vale. Tres cervezas y dos coca-colas para la mesa tres”. “Sorry? What did you say?” “Three beers and two cokes for table three”. “Talk to me in Spanish, I want to learn”….

My boss always wanted to learn Spanish but he never found the right moment. Does this sound familiar?

At the times of my “Mexican impersonation”, I also met my good friend Lourdes. Over the years, she persistently pursued her dream of helping people to learn Spanish. In fact, my husband followed one of her courses years ago. He not only loved it but that’s when he finally understood that “ser” and “estar” ain’t the same.

If you want to learn Spanish and support local businesses: Sign up now at ¡ANIMO! The new courses start on 22 March!

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Rocío

Rocío

Soy Rocío, una sevillana asentada en Ámsterdam ya por más de una década. I’m Rocío, a Spanish woman living the Dutch dream :)