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Garry M.A2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor


slimness and weight are NOT permanent things. Sus padres estan bastante delgado ya, pero en seis meses tal vez estaran gordos. No?

Asked 5 years ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Garry

You can talk about physical condition in a permanent way or non-permanent way. For example, if you say someone is slim, as in he/she has always been a slim person you would use "ser":

María es muy delgada. (this characteristic is seen as a permanent one)

But you can also use "estar" if you are talking about a sudden change or non-permanent characteristic, as if it was a result of something. For example:

María está muy delgada. (this implies she has probably gone on a diet and she is now slimmer)

Another typical example is with ser/estar guapo/-a.

Antonio, eres un chico muy guapo. ( permanent)

Antonio, estás muy guapo hoy. Ese peinado te sienta bien. (non-permanent/result)

Here is a lesson about this use of estar:

Ser vs Estar in Spanish: Using estar (not ser) when talking about physical condition of something, someone or a place

Hope it helps


Erika T.A2Kwiziq community member

I had a similar question to Garry. slimness and weight are NOT permanent things, how come for the question , 

Sus padres son bastante delgado, están cannot replace son??

Garry M.A2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Erika, exactly! There's no indication that the slimness was arrived at over a period of time or whether the comment was on the genetic slimness that exists in the family. Nevertheless, the instructor's point is taken even though the question was poorly posed.

Larry C.A1Kwiziq community member

I think the point in using a conjugation of ser is you are saying it is a more long term,  on going, always there thing; not something that just happened.  But with estar, you are expressing a change has occurred. The use of the  different verb states the context for you. Describing a person a, *Juan es delgado* is telling you Juan has always been thin, even if that could change in six months, you are implying this describes how he usually is.

If I lose a lot of weight, I would say *Estoy delgado ahora* because I have not always been thin. But I would say, *No soy alto, soy bajo.* Because I have always been short and am not going to change that. 

Marcos G.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

The rule about temporary and permanent characteristics is not a precise rule, but is more of a rule of thumb.  Part of the choice of whether to use "ser" or "estar" depends on the meaning the speaker wants to convey.  Also if a characteristic, such as weight gain, changes slowly over time, then we choose "ser".

Another example would be hair color.  If someone dyes their hair blond, I'm guessing that we would say, "Ya eres rubia." because we tend to view hair color as an essential characteristic.  But if someone dyes their hair blond for one day, for example if they were playing a part in a movie, we would say "Hoy estoy rubia."

Inma, is this correct?


slimness and weight are NOT permanent things. Sus padres estan bastante delgado ya, pero en seis meses tal vez estaran gordos. No?

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