Using es bueno/malo or está bien/mal

One of the most common difficulties for Spanish learners is how to differenciate between: es bueno/malo and está bien/mal.

Es bueno it is good

Es bueno que estudies todas las tardes.
It is good that you study every afternoon.

Comes demasiado y eso no es bueno.
You eat too much and that is not good.

Está bien it is good

Está bien que estudies todas las tardes.
It is good that you study every afternoon.

Comes demasiado y eso no está bien.
You eat too much and that is not good.

As you can see, both are translated in the same way. But remember not to mix them up:
 

Es bueno [adjective]
Está bien [adverb]

Have a look:

Está bueno que seas paciente con tus hermanos.
Es bueno que seas paciente con tus hermanos.
It is good that you are patient with your siblings.


Es bien que practiques español para tu exámen.
Está bien que practiques español para tu exámen.
It is good that you practise Spanish for your exam.

The same goes for es malo and está mal.

Es malo it is bad

Es malo que tomemos tanto alcohol.
It is bad that we drink so much alcohol.

Fumar es malo.
Smoking is bad.

Está mal it is bad/wrong

Está mal que tomemos tanto alcohol.
It's bad/wrong that we drink so much alcohol.

Fumar está mal.
Smoking is bad/wrong.

Es + malo [adjective]
Está mal [adverb] 

Bear in mind that although they are very often interchangeable (está bien = es bueno / está mal = es malo), when we use está bien/mal we are adding a nuance of being "morally" good or bad. For example:

Está mal arrojar basura al mar.
It is (morally) wrong to throw rubbish to the sea.

 

You will never find es followed by bien/malHowever, está can be followed by bueno/malo, but the meaning will be different. For example:

El arroz con leche de mi abuela está bueno.
My grandma's rice pudding is tasty.

Este niño está malo.
This boy is ill.

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Comes demasiado y eso no está bien.
You eat too much and that is not good.


Fumar está mal.
Smoking is bad/wrong.


Está bien que estudies todas las tardes.
It is good that you study every afternoon.


Está mal que tomemos tanto alcohol.
It's bad/wrong that we drink so much alcohol.


Comes demasiado y eso no es bueno.
You eat too much and that is not good.


Es malo que tomemos tanto alcohol.
It is bad that we drink so much alcohol.


Es bueno que estudies todas las tardes.
It is good that you study every afternoon.


Fumar es malo.
Smoking is bad.


Q&A

Alan

Kwiziq community member

4 July 2018

1 reply

Tiny Typo

"Es + adjective [adjective]" should read "Es + bueno [adjective]" no?

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

4 July 2018

4/07/18

¡Gracias Alan!

Corregido.

Let me take a look at that...