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Ser vs. Estar  

There are two 'to be' verbs in Spanish. Estar is used to describe the current state of something- how it is at that moment. Ser is used to describe the nature and characteristics of something.

  La noche es oscura.
Night is dark. (in general)
  El cuarto está oscuro. Las luces no funcionan.
The room is dark. The lights aren't working.
  Jorge es guapo.
Jorge is a handsome guy.
  Jorge está guapo.
Jorge looks handsome. (Maybe he is wearing a suit or combed his hair)
The traffic light is Red
  La falda es roja.
The skirt is red.
  El semáforo está en rojo.
The traffic light is red.
  Maria es loca. Ella vive en un manicomio.
Mary is crazy. She lives in an insane asylum.
  Maria está loca.
Maria is crazy (at this moment).
  Irene es alegre.
Irene is a happy person.
  Eduardo está alegre.
Eduardo is happy (right now).

Estar is also used when describing location.

  Tus padres están aqui. Your parents are here.
  La salida está allá. The exit is there.

Both ser and estar are irregular verbs.

él / ella
nosotros / nosotras
vosotros/ vosotras
ellos / ellas
él / ella
nosotros / nosotras
vosotros / vosotras
ellos / ellas

Now would be a good time to study miscellaneous irregular verbs.

The infinitive (el infinito) is displayed at the top of each verb's conjugation table. Besides serving to identify a verb, it is employed whenever the tense or the person of the subject need not be indicated, such as when verbs are strung together. The first verb marks the tense and person. The infinitive is used for the second.

  Él va a llamar más tarde. He is going to call later.
  Tú debes ir más temprano. You should go earlier.
  Ella nunca puede llegar a tiempo. She can never arrive on time.
  Yo quiero ser ingeniero. I want to be an engineer.

or when a verb follows a preposition.

  Para terminar las tareas, la disciplina es muy importante. To finish homework, discipline is very important.

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