When To Use Estar in Spanish [+25 Examples & Quiz]

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In this Spanish grammar lesson you will learn about when to use estar in Spanish.

In this lesson you will learn about:

  • when to use estar in Spanish
  • how estar is used in sentences in Spanish
  • how you can quiz yourself on when to use estar in Spanish
  • how you can practice with flashcards on when to use estar
  • how and why you should use the courses of Language Atlas to learn Spanish

Please refer to the Spanish A1 Page to get a better overview of Spanish grammar, if you are curious about how this fits in the overall structure of Spanish A1.

By the end of the lesson you will know all about when to use estar in Spanish!

Table of Contents

Introduction to When To Use Estar in Spanish

As you know there are two ways to say “to be” in Spanish:

  1. ser
  2. estar

This means that depending on the situation, you may have to use either one of them to say “to be”.

In this lesson you will learn when to use estar in Spanish.

We are going to use an mnemonic device for this:

  • Condition
  • Location
  • Ing verbs (Progressive Tenses)
  • Feelings
  • Relationship Status

Whenever you think of estar, think of CLIFR.

Condition

You will use estar to describe the physical condition of someone, something, or a place.

Here you can see how estar is used to describe someone/something/a place:

Hoy estás muy guapa.

You look beautiful today.

¿Tú estás enfermo?

Are you sick?

Mis calcetines están sucios.

My socks are dirty.

La pantalla de mi teléfono está rota.

My phone screen is cracked

Mi habitación está sucia.

My room is filthy.

Mi escritorio está ordenado.

My desk is tidy.

Location

You will use estar to describe where someone or something is.

Here you can see how estar is used to describe where someone/something is :

Estoy en Milán.

I am in Milan.

Estamos en casa.

We are at home.

Él está en el hotel.

He is in the hotel.

La Torre Eiffel está en París.

The Eiffel Tower is in Paris.

El concierto es en este estadio.

The concert in this stadium.

La cocina está al lado del comedor.

The kitchen is next to the dining room.

Ing Verbs: Progressive Tenses

You will use estar for -ing verbs (progressive tenses).

Here you can see some examples where estar is used in el futuro próximo (present progressive):

Yo estoy lavando los platos.

I am washing the dishes.

Él está pintando.

He is painting.

Ellos están cocinando.

They are cooking.

Feelings

You will use estar to describe feelings, emotions, and moods.

Here you can see how ser is used to describe the feelings/emotions/moods:

Estoy feliz.

I am happy. [in this moment]

Ella está triste.

She is sad.

Ellos están enfadados.

They are angry.

Él está borracho.

He is drunk.

Él es un borracho.

He is a drunk.

In the last example you can see that ser was used.

In that case it gives it more of a permanent characteristic.

Thus instead of being drunk, someone is a drunk.

Relationship Status

You will use estar to describe a relationship status.

Here you can see how estar is used to describe the relationship statuses:

Estoy soltero.

I am single.

Sus padres están divorciados.

His parents are divorced.

Ella está viuda.

She is a widow.

Nosotros estamos comprometidos.

We are engaged.

Todos están casados.

They are all married.

Conclusion to When to use Estar in Spanish

You have learned the mnemonic device CLIFR to remember when to use estar in Spanish.

CLIFR stands for:

  • Condition
  • Location
  • Ing verbs (Progressive Tenses)
  • Feelings
  • Relationship Status

An easy way to think about when to use in estar in Spanish is to remember the following:

Whenever you talk about something temporary, you will use estar.

Example Sentences on When to Estar in Spanish

This section of the lesson on when to use estar in Spanish is about seeing it used in sentences.

This is valuable because you can improve your understanding of when to use estar in Spanish through examples.

Hoy estás muy guapa.

You look beautiful today.

¿Tú estás enfermo?

Are you sick?

Mis calcetines están sucios.

My socks are dirty.

La pantalla de mi teléfono está rota.

My phone screen is cracked

Mi habitación está sucia.

My room is filthy.

Mi escritorio está ordenado.

My desk is tidy.

Estoy en Milán.

I am in Milan.

Estamos en casa.

We are at home.

Él está en el hotel.

He is in the hotel.

La Torre Eiffel está en París.

The Eiffel Tower is in Paris.

El concierto es en este estadio.

The concert in this stadium.

La cocina está al lado del comedor.

The kitchen is next to the dining room.

Yo estoy lavando los platos.

I am washing the dishes.

Él está pintando.

He is painting.

Ellos están cocinando.

They are cooking.

Estoy feliz.

I am happy. [in this moment]

Ella está triste.

She is sad.

Ellos están enfadados.

They are angry.

Él está borracho.

He is drunk.

Él es un borracho.

He is a drunk.

Estoy soltero.

I am single.

Sus padres están divorciados.

His parents are divorced.

Ella está viuda.

She is a widow.

Nosotros estamos comprometidos.

We are engaged.

Todos están casados.

They are all married.

Quiz Yourself on When to use Estar in Spanish

It’s not enough to just read this lesson.

You should test your knowledge to see if you really understood everything, and to be able to repeat the material.

At the end of every lesson you can do a small test.

You will see the sentences of the previous chapter. It is up to you to give the correct answer.

You will either need to fill in the blanks, choose the correct multiple choice option, or both.

Once you are done the correct answer will be shown.

You can redo the quiz as many times as you want!

How to Practice With Flashcards for This Lesson

Using flashcards is an absolute necessity when it comes to learning a language!

It is the best way to memorize what you learn, you can personalize your progression because it adapts to your actions, and all flashcards have audio to improve your hearing and pronunciation.

Please read our article on how to learn a new language for more information on flashcards and the best way to learn a new language.

There are two ways to practice with Flashcards for this lesson.

  1. Anki
  2. The Flashcards in our Courses

Anki is a free software with which you can create and practice flashcards.

After you have downloaded Anki for free, you can get our Spanish A1 Anki Deck.

This Anki Deck contains 3,084 flashcards with which you can practice absolutely everything for Spanish A1.

All the flashcards have text, images, explanations, and audio.

You can also use our courses that have flashcards integrated alongside lessons with audio, quizzes and much more!

However, I am sure you are wondering, what are your courses, and why should I take them?

The Courses of Language Atlas

Have you ever wondered what the best way is to learn a new language?

I have been learning languages for over 20+ years and I was always frustrated with books, courses, and classes that I had tried.

It never really seemed to work for me.

I wanted to learn a language in the most effective and efficient way, and there was nothing out there for me.

So I thought, “why not make something myself?“.

Using my experience and by doing research I created Language Atlas, a platform where people can learn French and Spanish in the most effective and efficient way.

I created free lessons and quizzes so that there would always be a easy and accessible way for people to learn or brush up on their language skills.

However, I also created courses that are much more comprehensive and in-depth.

These courses are easy to follow, clear, and allow you to become fluent in the most effective and efficient way.

The courses of Language Atlas have:

  • 800+ Lessons with audio
  • 800+ Quizzes
  • 10,000 Flashcards with explanations, images, and audio
  • A gamified way of learning a new language
  • A vibrant community (including support from me)

You can register for free and try the French A0/A1 and Spanish A0/A1 Courses for free!

This includes over 60 lessons and quizzes, 500 flashcards that adapt to how you learn, and access to the community (including support from me).

All you have to do is study 30 minutes a day and you will be fluent in no time!

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