"Ser" and "Estar" in Portuguese

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"Ser" and "Estar" in Portuguese

Postby Luís » 2006-01-20, 15:11

v 1.0

SER (from Latin sedere)

- identifying someone
Sou o Luís (I'm Luís)
Aquele é o João (That one over there is João)

- professions and nationalities/origin
Sou estudante (I'm a student)
O Paul é francês (Paul is French) / O Paul é da França (Paul is from France)

- personality and physical traits
Ela é simpática (She's nice)
O Pedro é muito alto (Pedro is very tall)

- possession
Esse livro é meu (That book is mine)

- time
São duas da tarde (It's 2pm)
É verão (It's summer)

- impersonal expressions
É bom viajar (It's good to travel)

ESTAR (from Latin stare)

- location
Onde está o meu livro (Where is my book?)
Estou em casa (I'm at home)

- emotions and temporary physical states
Estou contente (I'm happy)
Estou cansada (I'm tired)

- with the progressive tenses
Estou a comer/Estou comendo (I'm eating)
Estivemos a beber/Estivemos bebendo (We've been drinking)

One important exception is when you're talking about the location of cities/countries/streets/buildings, etc., in which you use "ficar" or "ser", not "estar":

Onde é que fica o Brasil/ Onde é que é o Brasil? (Where is Brazil?)
Onde é o hotel? / Onde fica o hotel? (Where is the hotel?)

Once again, pay attention to the nuances:

O Pedro é doente(Pedro is a sick man [he has a persistent disease for all his life])
O Pedro está doente (Pedro is sick [now, he caught a cold or something])

Sou optimista (I'm optimistic [it's my nature])
Estou optimista (I'm optimistic [right now, about a particular thing])

Of course once again there are idioms/expressions and many particular usages that you'll have to learn by listening to native speakers/practicing, etc.
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Postby Nendûr » 2006-05-28, 2:52

pra me é mais facil... porque falo espanhol :)

eu falo muito poco português...

i've never learnt 'portuguesisch'

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Postby Luís » 2006-05-28, 11:54

Nendûr wrote:para mim é mais fácil... porque falo espanhol :)

eu falo muito pouco português...

i've never learnt 'portuguesisch'


If the last bit is supposed to be German, then it's actually Portugiesisch ;)
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Postby Nendûr » 2006-05-28, 20:39

Actually, i started writing in spanish and finished in german :lol:

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Postby nettchelobek1 » 2006-05-31, 6:15

oh Nendür, will you forever mix up German with every new language you learn? Finnish, Portuguese, what else..? even if they aren't from the same linguistic family...
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Postby quevagibe » 2007-12-10, 22:20

So, luis, we can summarise by saying that "ser" and "estar" are the same in portuguese and spanish, in their application...or are there any differences that you know of?

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Postby Psi-Lord » 2007-12-11, 3:33

quevagibe wrote:So, luis, we can summarise by saying that "ser" and "estar" are the same in portuguese and spanish, in their application...or are there any differences that you know of?

An important one I myself learnt the other day in the Spanish forum is one Luís points out as well – in Portuguese one does not use estar to express the location of buildings, cities, countries, etc.; instead, one uses either ser or ficar:

Spanish: Lisboa está en Portugal.

Portuguese: Lisboa é em Portugal. / Lisboa fica em Portugal.

Using estar in Portuguese in such a situation gives me the clear impression Lisbon might be in Portugal today, but in Spain tomorrow, and in Japan by the end of the week. :D
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Postby quevagibe » 2007-12-11, 13:38

Psi-Lord wrote:
quevagibe wrote:So, luis, we can summarise by saying that "ser" and "estar" are the same in portuguese and spanish, in their application...or are there any differences that you know of?

An important one I myself learnt the other day in the Spanish forum is one Luís points out as well – in Portuguese one does not use estar to express the location of buildings, cities, countries, etc.; instead, one uses either ser or ficar:

Spanish: Lisboa está en Portugal.

Portuguese: Lisboa é em Portugal. / Lisboa fica em Portugal.

Using estar in Portuguese in such a situation gives me the clear impression Lisbon might be in Portugal today, but in Spain tomorrow, and in Japan by the end of the week. :D


OK, cool Psi-lord. I wasnt aware of that (obviously!) but its good to know. thanks!

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Postby Luís » 2007-12-16, 12:34

From the Wikipedia article I linked to in the other thread:

Wikipedia wrote:Spanish and Portuguese have two main copulas, ser and estar. For the most part, the use of these verbs is the same in both languages, but there are a few cases where it differs. The main difference between Spanish and Portuguese is in the interpretation of the concept of state versus essence and in the generalisations one way or another that are made in certain constructions. For instance,

Está prohibido fumar. (Spanish) [estar]
É proibido fumar. (Portuguese) [ser]
Smoking is forbidden.

La silla está hecha de madera. (Spanish) [estar]
A cadeira é feita de madeira. (Portuguese) [ser]
The chair is made of wood.

Sólo uno es correcto. (Spanish) [ser]
Só um está correcto (or correto). (Portuguese) [estar]
Only one is correct.

Also, the use of ser regarding a permanent location is much more accepted in Portuguese. Conversely, estar is often permanent in Spanish regarding a location, while in Portuguese, it implies being temporary. (See the first example below.)

Secondary copulas are quedar(se) in Spanish and ficar in Portuguese. Each can also mean "to stay" or "to remain."

Nuestra oficina queda (or está) muy lejos. (Spanish) [quedar/estar]
O nosso escritório fica (or é) muito longe. (Portuguese) [ficar/ser]
Our office is very far away.

Mi abuela se está quedando sorda. (Spanish)
A minha avó está ficando surda. (Portuguese)
My grandmother is becoming deaf.

Me quedé dentro de la casa todo el día. (Spanish)
Fiquei dentro de casa todo o dia. (Portuguese)
I stayed (or "was") inside the house all day.

As explained in the next section, the Spanish sentence implies that staying inside the house was voluntary, while Portuguese and English are quite ambiguous on this matter without any additional context.
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Postby KingHarvest » 2008-06-23, 0:33

Isn't "ser" derived from Latin "esse"?

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Postby Psi-Lord » 2008-06-23, 1:56

KingHarvest wrote:Isn't "ser" derived from Latin "esse"?

Not completely – it’s actually a lot more like sedere fused to certain forms of esse (and taking part of its role).

According to my book on Old Portuguese, the meaning of sedere was still strong in the early stages of the language. Our modern present continuous, estar + gerund, for instance, could be contrasted to a construction with ser + gerund – the former would express an action taking place while its subject was standing (estar deriving from stare), while the latter would express an action taking place while the subject was sitting. :)
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Postby KingHarvest » 2008-06-23, 3:57

This seems weird to me, but I'm not sure I have the resources to dispute it at the moment. According to wikipedia, just the infinitive and the future (and forms based off the future) are derived from sedere, but they seem all to be related to the equivalent forms in Italian. It. sarò, Por. serei; It. essere, Por. ser. I do see how it could have come from sedere, assuming Portuguese has the same dropping as in Spanish of intervocalic [d] (credo > creo), but then it seems that the corresponding verbs forms are entirely coincidental across the Romance languages as Italian also has sedere preserved with a d (or g, depending on phonemic context) in all forms. Maybe you have more information on this?

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Postby Psi-Lord » 2008-06-24, 23:48

KingHarvest wrote:According to wikipedia, just the infinitive and the future (and forms based off the future) are derived from sedere, but they seem all to be related to the equivalent forms in Italian. It. sarò, Por. serei; It. essere, Por. ser.

I confess that, now that I’ve thought more carefully about the topic, I also find it more likely to equal most forms of our ser to Latin esse (to the infinitives and the future, I’d also probably add the present subjunctive, the imperatives, the gerund and the past participle). However, the impressions I have from materials that had it otherwise are still strong on my mind, and, though I’ve searched for more information, I could only find a few lines here and there in my books.

For a moment, I thought I might’ve inverted the etymology, in that ser might come from esse, but with forms taken from sedere fused to it. When I checked ser on the Houaiss dictionary, however, the field on etymology did say ‘from Latin sedeo, -es, sedi, sessum, sedere “to sit, to remain (seated), to settle”, fused to forms of the verb esse; the original idea of “sitting, being seated” changed into that of “being”’ (my translation).

Portuguese sentar (‘to sit, to be seated’) probably also comes from the same verb, though. Some authors derive it as a shortened form of assentar, from Vulgar Latin adsentare, derived from sedere; others derive it directly from sedere, through a vulgar form sedentare formed from its present participle, sedens, -entis.

The RAE dictionary doesn’t shed much light on the topic either – it just says Spanish ser comes from the older form seer, which is also true for Portuguese.

I also checked my book on Old Portuguese (O português arcaico: morfologia e sintaxe, by Rosa Virgínia Mattos e Silva). It doesn’t really give a straightforward analogy for ser, but, from its examples, two things can be seen. The first is that Portuguese ser indeed leads to Latin sedere in the construction I mentioned before:

ser + gerund = action performed while sitting (sedere);
estar + gerund = action performed while standing (stare);
andar + gerund = action performed while walking (ambulare / ambitare);
jazer + gerund = action performed while lying down (iacere);
ir + gerund = action performed while going somewhere (ire).

The two examples given for ser are:

1. Aqueles que hi siiam comendo.
2. Achou monges que siiam lendo.

The second thing that can be seen, however, is that ser does continue playing the role of esse in many other situations, the two most important ones being probably as a copula and in the construction with the past participle (following the Latin perfectum before it was finally completely lost as such).

Copula:
1. O filho de Deus he hũa das três pessoas da trindade.
2. Eu rei don Afonso pela gracia de Deus rei de Portugal, seendo sano e salvo […].
3. Almas que son no outro mundo.
4. Logar que era oito milhas da cidade.

Latin perfectum:
1. Idas som as frores.
2. O meu filho he morto.
3. Lopo Soares era chegado.
4. Aquele meu amigo era passado deste mundo.

(If the examples don’t make much sense, let me know and I’ll try to translate them.)

KingHarvest wrote:I do see how it could have come from sedere, assuming Portuguese has the same dropping as in Spanish of intervocalic [d] (credo > creo) […]

It does indeed. As I mentioned before, our ser also comes from an early seer, and those two vowels point to a lost consonant, from which it can be linked to se(d)er(e). Compare videre > veer > ver for both languages and credere > creer > crer for Portuguese (and credo > creio, with the development of -i-).

KingHarvest wrote:but then it seems that the corresponding verbs forms are entirely coincidental across the Romance languages as Italian also has sedere preserved with a d (or g, depending on phonemic context) in all forms. Maybe you have more information on this?

Unfortunately, other than the above, I couldn’t actually gather more material on the topic. :( Perhaps you might try and create a thread on that out of the Portuguese forum, since more speakers of other Romance languages could spot it and join in.
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Postby KingHarvest » 2008-06-25, 17:28

That's all very interesting, I'd say based on that information parts of ser then are definitely from sedere. So weird, I never would have guessed any of the forms didn't come from esse just having looked at it :noclue:

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Re: "Ser" and "Estar" in Portuguese

Postby AlexandreMsx » 2009-12-16, 1:22

Good explanation, I was wondering what is the difference, actually i use it everyday but i couldn't really say that.

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Re: "Ser" and "Estar" in Portuguese

Postby Rekarte » 2010-11-21, 8:24

I think it's very hard for native speak in english :P

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Re: "Ser" and "Estar" in Portuguese

Postby MoKangWei » 2012-11-05, 5:23

Actually, for English speakers it gets easier if they think.

To be (someone) Ser
To be (somewhere) Estar

Chinese has both verbs

Shì (是) Ser
Zài (在) Estar
.سې ڤۏسې كۏنسعݣې لېر يسۏ، ېنتاٜۏ ڤۏسې فالا پۏرتوݣېس

我就是一个热爱语言的老外。

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Re: "Ser" and "Estar" in Portuguese

Postby Osias » 2012-11-05, 22:25

MoKangWei wrote:
Chinese has both verbs

Shì (是) Ser
Zài (在) Estar

What about all that talk that chinese languages had no grammatical classes like our, verbs and subjects, but things "in the middle"?
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Re: "Ser" and "Estar" in Portuguese

Postby MoKangWei » 2012-11-06, 1:47

osias wrote:
MoKangWei wrote:
Chinese has both verbs

Shì (是) Ser
Zài (在) Estar

What about all that talk that chinese languages had no grammatical classes like our, verbs and subjects, but things "in the middle"?


Chinese morphology (词法 - 'word rule') is divided in:

Noum (名词 name word)
Verb (动词 movement word)
Auxiliary Verb (助动词 helping movement word)
Adjective (形容词 describing word)
Numeral (数词 number word)
Measure word (量词 measure word " :lol: ")
Pronoum (代词 substitute word)
Adverb (副词 auxiliary word)
Preposition (介词 introducing word)
Conjunction (连词 connecting word)
Particle (助词 helping word)
Interjection (叹词 exclamation word)
Onomatopeia (象声词 Voice-resembling word)

They also have smaller divisions for some words.

Measure words are used along with numerals to group things according to their appearance, like... One pen 一(one)支(branch)笔(pen)... Because a pen has a shape of a branch. One river 一(one)条(ribbon/strip)河(river).

Chinese doens't have articles nor gender on their words, they also don't conjugate, they don't have verbal tenses , which gives the language one aoristic feature, to indicate mood and time, they use some aspect particles.

Source: 实用汉语语法三百点
.سې ڤۏسې كۏنسعݣې لېر يسۏ، ېنتاٜۏ ڤۏسې فالا پۏرتوݣېس

我就是一个热爱语言的老外。

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Re: "Ser" and "Estar" in Portuguese

Postby Osias » 2012-11-06, 2:09

tack saº mycket! :)
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