Catalan Verbs. Ser and estar

There are two verbs in Catalan, both meaning 'to be' and these are ser and estar.

If you speak Spanish, their use appears to be roughly analagous to ser and estar but with some important exceptions.

These rules and examples will help.

Ser. Permanent characteristics Start

These are characteristics which are inherent in someone or something and don't change (this is similar to Castilian Spanish). Catalan uses ser to describe these.

E.g. És molt alegre He is very happy using ser indicates that he is usually a happy person.

I am tallSóc alt
He is very happyEll és molt feliç
He is very shortEll és molt baixet
Barcelona is fantasticBarcelona és fantàstica
The car is quickEl cotxe és ràpid
The girl is prettyLa noia és bonica
The table is bigLa taula és gran
The cup is smallLa tassa és petita

Ser. Where you are from? Start

When talking about where you or someone is from, the Catalan verb ser is used.

Where are you from?D'on ets?
I'm from EnglandSóc d'Anglaterra
I'm from LondonSóc de Londres
I'm from BarcelonaSóc a Barcelona
I am from hereSóc d'aquí

Ser. Where is something/are you?

The verb Ser is used when answering questions of the type where are you or where is our car.

If you speak Spanish, beware as Catalan uses ser in this case as opposed to estar.

Where is the book?On és el llibre?
The book is on the tableEl llibre és a la taula
Where is our car?On és el nostre cotxe?
Where is my suitcase?On és la meva maleta?
Where is the station?On és l'estació?
Where are you?On ets?
I am hereSóc aquí
I am at homeSóc a casa
Where were you on Monday?On eres dilluns?

Estar. When followed by an adjective

The verb estar (is generally used) when followed by an adjective.

Are you married?Estàs casat?
The shop is openLa botiga està oberta
The door is closedLa porta està tancada
The window is openLa finestra està oberta

Estar. Temporary characteristics

Estar is used to describe a characteristic that is temporary, for example, where someone is angry, happy or sad at a particular instant.

Today she is sad because she has lost her jobAvui, està trista perquè s'ha quedat sense feina
He is unhappy because it is rainingEll està infeliç perquè plou
She is happy because it is sunnyElla està feliç perquè fa sol