The funny thing about Spanish

One of the ladies who sits next to me is from Puerto Rico, and she is helping me improve my Spanish. I took Spanish for several years from elementary to high school, but as I’ve never practiced it, I’ve promptly forgotten most of it.

My favorite rule in the use of different verbs is the use of ser (I am is “soy”) versus estar(I am is “estoy”). Ser is used for static descriptions – things that cannot be changed. For example, “Soy una chica,” or, “I am a girl.” This will not change, so we use ser.

Estar, on the other hand, is used for descriptions that are temporary, for example, “Estoy gorda,” or, “I am fat.” Even if I weighed a full ton and had little hope of regaining my ideal weight, the proper verb is still estar. Fat is, after all, a temporary descriptor. Hopeful, isn’t it?

But even more intriguing is that ugliness is a permanent thing in Spanish. If I wanted to tell someone she were ugly, I would use ser, as in, “Eres fea,” or “You are ugly.”

The moral? It is better to be called fat than ugly. Fat is only temporary. Ugly is forever.


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