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When to Use Estar

We covered when to use ser earlier in this unit, but what about estar paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to be (temporary)? The verb estar is generally used for non-permanent (i.e. temporary) conditions, traits, or things, as opposed to ser paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to be(permanent) which tends to be used for more permanent or lasting parameters. Let’s explore many of the common contexts in which you would use estar.

😢 Emotions/Feelings

Estou tão triste. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I am so sad.

☔️ Weather

Hoje está calor. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio It is hot today.

🌡 Temperature

Está muito frio. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio It is very cold.

🧘🏼‍♂️ Describing a Temporary Stay

Hoje estou na floresta. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Today I am in the forest.

👖 Clothing

Estou de calções azuis, t-shirt branca, e sapatilhas. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I am wearing blue shorts, a white t-shirt, and trainers.

🧎🏽‍♂️Describing Positions

Estar is used to describe the position of your body or how an item is currently positioned.
Tu estás deitado na cama. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio You are lying on your bed.
A Daniela está sentada. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Daniela is sitting down.

🏃🏾‍♀️ Actions

Use estar to describe an action that is currently happening. Example:
Estou a conduzir. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I am driving.

Comments

  • When saying “Estou de calções azuis, t-shirt branca, e sapatilhas.”, could it also be “Estou a usar de”, or just “Uso de”?

    • You can say it a few different ways, such as “Estou de calções…” or “Tenho calções…” or “Estou a usar calções…” (without de) 🙂

  • Portuguese is definitely a very complex language, both grammatically and in how it is pronounced. Tough slogging ahead.

  • This sentence confused me : Estou de calções azuis, t-shirt branca, e sapatilhas.
    It doesn’t seem to include the word ‘wearing’.
    Agreed, this is tough going!

    • Olá, Heather. There are different ways of describing what you’re wearing, but that one is the most practical and to the point, with the construction estar de. As you said, it doesn’t include any other verb that would correspond to wearing, in English.
      Eu estou de preto. = I’m wearing black.
      Tu estás de vestido vermelho? = Are you wearing a red dress?

  • ‘De’ = ‘in’ in English.
    In English we would say ‘I am in black’ instead of ‘I am wearing black’. Depending on the context.

  • why in Portuguese is the correct sentence “A Daniela esta sentada” instead of just starting with the proper noun , as in “Daniela esta sentada?”

    • Olá, Oscar. On a strictly grammatical level, both are correct. However, for the most part, it’s not idiomatic to drop definite articles before people’s names in European Portuguese. We typically reserve it for formal/literary/journalistic writing. In Brazilian Portuguese, you might notice that they cling less to their definite articles in general 🙂

      • Thank you very much for your speedy reply.
        I will be reading more about other people’s comments in future and also asking for help from time to time.
        Your programme is the best I have used to date.

  • Ugh. I have to consider permanence just to say something “IS?” So I understand “Hoje está calor” because it COULD be cold tomorrow. But Antarctica is ALWAYS ❄️cold and one would say “É calor na Antártica.” I guess the idea is that “WEATHER” changes (or meteorologists would be unemployed). It’s confusing though, because TIME changes and the rule doesn’t seem to apply, but I figured it out…
    TEN o’clock ⏰is ALWAYS TEN o’clock 🕙… at TEN o’clock 🕰❗️

  • I was surprised that the reflexive verb was not used in “Eles estão sentada rather than Eles estão se sentada [As in French but not English?]

    • Olá, John. The verb ‘sentar’ is usually used reflexively when it’s conjugated, but in “A Daniela está sentada”, all you have is the past participle. It wouldn’t be reflexive in French either, in this case. If you had something like “A Daniela sentou-se” (Daniela sat down), the reflexive aspect would be there 🙂

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