Mnemonics to learn Spanish verbs, ser and estar ~ Learn Spanish language fast | free memory tricks | Spanish vocabulary lessons.
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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mnemonics to learn Spanish verbs, ser and estar


There has always been a major confusion for new learners of Spanish over the translation of the English, to be. This is because, Spanish has two different words (estar & ser) for this verb and you need to be extremely careful in their usage. Any mistake might drastically change the meaning!


That said and done, it is very tedious to learn the complicated rules on where to use estar and where to use ser. This is where mnemonics come into play. Here's the mnemonic that I used while learning Spanish. It's called Doctor Elf:

Doctor (usage for ser)

D escription (Ella es alta.)

O ccupation (Soy profesor.)

C haracteristic (El es antipático.)

T ime / Date (Son las ocho; hoy es el ocho de julio.)

O rigin (Soy de Virginia.)

R elationship (Ella es mi madre.)

Elf (usage for estar)

E motion (Estoy contento.)

L ocation (Estoy al concierto.)

F eeling (Estoy enojado.)

Another way to remember the places where estar is used, is by memorizing the following rhyme:

How you feel and where you are,
That is when you use estar.

Think you'll ever make a mistake with these two Spanish verbs in the future? I don't think so. Happy learning...

Alan said...

I want to really say thank you for these good tricks and ideas. I could comment how many years I have been wrestling with this (and I have been in Spain for a few years).

Muchas gracias.

Mango-Tango said...

Thanks Alan. Keep visiting. And I would also love to hear more from you as a critic. That would help me improve my blog for you

Anonymous said...

Doctor Help, H - Health

Anonymous said...

http://www.mnemonicdictionary.com provides mnemonics for learning meaning of words...

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Sherry Amorocho said...

love the mnemonic device! Plan to use with my students

Elaine said...

I had a Mnemonic for learning ser and estar too! This one is great as well!
Teaching Español

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Anonymous said...

I have also discovered another helpful mnemonic, just wanted to let you guys know. It is for estar:

Posición
Locación
Acción
Condición
Emoción

=PLACE

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Anonymous March 8, 2012 2:20!!! Your PLACE mnemonic could be added right after the DOCTOR mnemonic at it makes perfect sense! I'm sharing it to my classmates

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Srta. FDV said...

Helpful visual. There is however, an error in your acrostic for ESTAR. Under L for Location, the sentence should read: Estoy EN EL concierto. En is the only preposition that would follow the verb estar. thanks