Ser vs Estar Practice Quiz

Ser vs estar is among the most challenging topics for new Spanish learners. However, understanding the difference between these verbs is crucial. So, in this quiz, you’ll get to practice the most common uses of these verbs. 

Instructions for this Ser vs Estar Practice Quiz

You’ve been given 15 multiple-choice questions. These sentences need to be completed by choosing estar or ser. So, choose the correct answer from the provided options based on the context. Since we want to focus on practicing the differences between ser and estar, all of these sentences are in the present tense form.

Read the sentences and, based on the context, choose between ser and estar to complete the sentence.

15 Questions
Multiple Choice

  • 0 Correct
  • 0 Incorrect
/ 15

Mi hermana _______ alta y delgada.

My sister is tall and thin.

  1. A es
  2. B está

In this example, es (ser) is the correct verb because "alta" and "delgada" are inherent physical traits that describe a person's permanent characteristics.

El café _______ caliente.

The coffee is hot.

  1. A está
  2. B es

“Caliente” is a temporary state of the coffee. Since temperature can change, in this example, the verb estar is the correct answer.

Mis perros _______ muy traviesos.

My dogs are so naughty.

  1. A están
  2. B son

‘Son’ should complete the sentence because "travieso" describes a personality trait. This adjective reflects my dog’s nature, which is a long-lasting quality.

Tu papá y yo ______ enojados contigo.

Your dad and I are mad at you.

  1. A somos
  2. B estamos

Enojado is an emotional state or feeling that can fade away. As a result, in this example, the correct answer is estamos.

Hoy _______ soleado.

Today is sunny.

  1. A es
  2. B está

Here, we must use estar because "soleado" describes the temporary and current condition of the day. This state can change from day to day. 

Los libros _______ en la estantería.

The books are on the bookshelf.

  1. A están
  2. B son

"En la estantería" indicates the location or position of the books. Since estar is used to talk about where things are placed, in this example, the correct answer is “están”.

Los platos _______ sucios.

The dishes are dirty.

  1. A son
  2. B están

In this case, we use the Spanish verb estar because “sucios” refers to the condition of the plates, which can change (they can be cleaned).

Yo  _______ doctor.

I’m a doctor.

  1. A estoy
  2. B soy

In Spanish, a profession is part of what a person is. Since this is a long-lasting and defining trait, the correct answer is “soy”.

Ustedes ____ muy simpáticos, pero ahorita ____ molestos. 

You guys are very agreeable, but right now you're upset.

  1. A son / están
  2. B están / son

"Amables" is a quality related to personality, whereas "molestos" is a state. Therefore, for this example, the correct answer is "son/están". 

La puerta _______ abierta.

The door is open.

  1. A está
  2. B es

“Abierta” describes a temporary condition that can change (the door can be closed). Therefore, está is the correct verb for this sentence. Be aware that “ser abierta” expresses that a person is open-minded.

En Canadá, los inviernos  _____  muy fríos.

In Canada, winter is very cold.

  1. A están
  2. B son

Winter is inherently cold. Since, in this example, we’re discussing the nature of Canadian winters and their typical temperatures, you must use “ser”.

El agua _______ fría.

The water is cold.

  1. A es
  2. B está

“Fría” is a short-term quality of the water. Because the temperature of this liquid can change, use “estar”.

Nosotros _______ en la escuela.

We are at school.

  1. A somos
  2. B estamos

“En la escuela” indicates our current location, which is subject to change. So, in this example, the correct answer is “estamos”.

Tú _______ amable.

You’re kind.

  1. A estás
  2. B eres

In Spanish, kindness (being nice) is an inherent personality trait. So, you should use “eres” to complete this sentence.

Yo sé que tú _____ pálida, pero hoy _____ más pálida de lo normal.

I know you’re pale, but today you’re paler than usual.

  1. A eres / eres
  2. B eres / estás

The first part of the sentence describes a physical quality you were born with, so "eres" should be used. However, the second part of the example implies that how you look today is not your regular state. As a result, "estás" is the answer to this statement.

Quiz Results

Question Answer Given Correct Answer
Mi hermana _______ alta y delgada.
El café _______ caliente.
Mis perros _______ muy traviesos.
Tu papá y yo ______ enojados contigo.
Hoy _______ soleado.
Los libros _______ en la estantería.
Los platos _______ sucios.
Yo  _______ doctor.
Ustedes ____ muy simpáticos, pero ahorita ____ molestos. 
La puerta _______ abierta.
En Canadá, los inviernos  _____  muy fríos.
El agua _______ fría.
Nosotros _______ en la escuela.
Tú _______ amable.
Yo sé que tú _____ pálida, pero hoy _____ más pálida de lo normal.

Notes about Ser vs Estar

Both ser and estar mean ‘to be’. However, they’re not used interchangeably. Here are some key points that can help you remember how to use these verbs: 

Ser:

  • The verb ser in Spanish refers to inherent and permanent traits such as nationality, origin, profession and physical and personality traits. 
  • Ser is also used to tell the time and express the date and place of an event. 
  • This verb also refers to possession and relations
  • When combined with past participle adjectives, ser communicates that characteristics are unchanging. The only exception is the adjective “muerto” (dead). 

Estar:

  • Unlike ser, the verb estar in Spanish expresses temporary nature
  • When working with adjectives, this verb is used to talk about short-term physical traits and conditions. 
  • Estar also refers to someone or something’s location, position, or posture
  • In Spanish, the verb estar also expresses feelings and emotions
  • When combined with a gerund, this verb refers to actions in progress (things happening right now).

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