Can anyone please explain the use of ser in these 2 examples? Both are describing temporary states (I think.) They are from a video that has many sentences to translate.. This seems not to accord with the normal use of ser.
1. No sea tonto. (I would tanslate this as "Don't act silly." We are not saying "You are a silly person."}2. Era obvio que el conductor no había sido lo suficientemente cuidadoso. (I don't think this is a passive construction. Shouln't this be "no había estado"?)
I can see how you take these two examples as belonging to the "estar" category. The situations in both cases seem to be referring to a particular situation (= temporary) but they are both using descriptive adjectives to do with personality (to be silly and to be a careful person), and this is what dominates here, hence the use of ser. Some descriptive adjectives don't follow 100% this estar = temporary, ser = permanent and these two are somehow exceptions.
The first example "no seas tonto" is used in both sort of situations. In order to use "estar tonto" you would need a situation in which the nuance is for example being clumsy, forgetful, annoying. Here for example:
Pedro, qué tonto estás hoy, se te ha olvidado comprar el pan esta mañana y ahora has quemado la cena.
Pedro, you're being so silly today (clumsy, forgetful), you forgot to buy bread this morning and now you just burnt dinner.
María, qué tontita estás, vete a jugar un rato con tus amigas y déjame tranquila.
María, you're being annoying, go to play with your friends and let me be.
As for estar cuidadoso, you'd need a situation that shows a bit more a scene where it's clearly more "out of the ordinary". For example, imagine that you're talking about your son, who is normally very messy:
Pedrito hizo la actividad y estuvo muy cuidadoso. Hizo un dibujo muy bonito.
Pedrito did the activity and he was very careful (in that occasion). He made a very pretty drawing.
Thanks for your answer, but I am still not clear. You say "Some descriptive adjectives don't follow 100% this estar = temporary, ser = permanent and these two are somehow exceptions."
Without knowing exactly which adjectives and which situations are exceptions to the "temporary condition" rule, how will I know when to apply the exception?
It feels as though there is a "hidden" rule here that is never discussed in Spanish grammar lessons (and, believe me, I have done a lot of Google searching for this!)
Do you have any suggestions?
Unfortunately, there is no rule that categorizes adjectives that can only be used with ser or with estar, so we can see the logic of it and apply this when we are learning Spanish. (at least I've never found one) What you are taught in this sort of content is that there are certain adjectives that change meaning when they are used with one or the other verb: ser listo vs estar listo, ser bueno vs estar bueno, etc.. You also learn that we use the verb estar with adjectives that denote a state (physical or mental): estar cansado, estar preocupado, estar estresado..., and these are never used with ser (even if you think that a person is permanently tired, worried...) Then, you can use both ser and estar with adjectives that describe physical qualities: soy guapa / estoy guapa, soy alto / estoy alto, soy joven / estoy joven... (the ones with estar conveying a result, e.g she is pretty today because she put on that lovely dress, the boy is tall because he has been growing recently, he looks young for his age, etc.)
So, up to here there is a logic to it. However you find adjectives that only admit ser and others that only admit estar.
These ones for example are always used with ser:
es necesario, es común, es inadmisible, es evidente, es importante...
These ones for example are always used with estar:
está contento, está descalzo, está lleno, está vacío, está desnudo...
There is no categorization, they are random.
Thank you, Inma. I will continue watching for these adjectives and keep a list.
Here is a short list of personal-descriptive adjectives I have found which always (or usually) take ser rather than estar, even in termporary situations. I have no doubt there are others.
This would make an interesting grammar lesson.
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