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Using estar (not ser) + de for a temporary job

When we want to talk about a temporary job we use the verb estar (not ser), followed by the preposition de.
Read and listen to these examples:

Yo estoy de recepcionista en un hotel.I am working as a receptionist in a hotel.

Mario estaba de camarero en un restaurante.Mario was working as a waiter in a restaurant.

Irene va a estar de secretaria en una oficina.Irene is going to work as a secretary in an office.

Nosotros estamos de mecánicos en un taller.We are working as mechanics in a garage.

To say what your "more permanent profession" is see Using ser (not estar) to say what you do for a living.

See also Conjugate estar in El Presente (present tense).

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Yo estoy de recepcionista en un hotel.I am working as a receptionist in a hotel.
Irene va a estar de secretaria en una oficina.Irene is going to work as a secretary in an office.
Mario estaba de camarero en un restaurante.Mario was working as a waiter in a restaurant.
Nosotros estamos de mecánicos en un taller.We are working as mechanics in a garage.

Q&A Forum 2 questions, 3 answers

SherriC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Imperfect or preterite

By process of elimination, I selected estuvieron as being the correct answer; however, my preference would have been estaban

See the example given below:

Mario estaba de camarero en un restaurante.
Mario was working as a waiter in a restaurant.

Here is the question with the answer:

Mis hijos _estuvieron_ de vendedores en una tienda.
My children were working as shop assistants in a store.

My choice:
Mis hijos _estaban_ de vendedores en una tienda.

Would you explain the reason for the answer being the preterite and not the imperfect, please.

Asked 3 weeks ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Sherri,

You could use both "estaban de camareros" or "estuvieron de camareros", however it is true that when you read the English "were working" the imperfect is more suitable as it gives the nuance of continuity, which the preterite doesn't have. This is why I just changed the English from "were working" to "worked".

I hope this helps.

Gracias y saludos.

Inma

SherriC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Muchas gracias, Inma.

Imperfect or preterite

By process of elimination, I selected estuvieron as being the correct answer; however, my preference would have been estaban

See the example given below:

Mario estaba de camarero en un restaurante.
Mario was working as a waiter in a restaurant.

Here is the question with the answer:

Mis hijos _estuvieron_ de vendedores en una tienda.
My children were working as shop assistants in a store.

My choice:
Mis hijos _estaban_ de vendedores en una tienda.

Would you explain the reason for the answer being the preterite and not the imperfect, please.

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IanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Ser or estar for future permanent jobs

I understand the notion of using estar rather than ser when the job is temporary, but there is absolutely nothing in the question to indicate that the job is a temporary or permanent position in most of the examples    If a job is to be permanent would you use ser rather than estar when referring to an appointment that someone is going to take up?  In the test questions and examples, it would seem not but the lesson notes don't explakin why.

Asked 4 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Ian

The clear indication in the questions is the presence of the preposition "de" in the sentences right after the verb. If these where talking about permanent jobs (saying what people do for a living) you will have to use "ser" but never "ser de + profession". 

Yo soy camarera. (permanent profession)

Yo estoy de camarera. ( temporary job)

Yo soy de camarera. (incorrect)

Yo estoy camarera. (incorrect)

I hope this helps to clarify it.

Saludos

Inma

Ser or estar for future permanent jobs

I understand the notion of using estar rather than ser when the job is temporary, but there is absolutely nothing in the question to indicate that the job is a temporary or permanent position in most of the examples    If a job is to be permanent would you use ser rather than estar when referring to an appointment that someone is going to take up?  In the test questions and examples, it would seem not but the lesson notes don't explakin why.

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