Língua Portuguesa e Literatura

Portuguese: Differences between verbs To Be: Ser / Estar

By Samara Fernandes 
Verb to be and verb to be? What does it mean? When can I use?


That’s more simple then it looks like. It’s just that in Portuguese you can use the verb to be in two different ways, cause time can affect the use.
Ser: is the verb used for permanent conditions, characteristics, in other words, those that can’t change. (or might not change)
Estar: is the verb used for not permanent conditions or characteristics, those that are temporary, that can change. (transitory)
Let’s talk about examples:
e.g: Daniel é bonito (Daniel is handsome) – Daniel is really handsome, probably since he was born.
e.g¹: Ana está bonita (Ana is beautiful) –  At this moment, Ana is beautiful, but maybe she doesn’t look beautiful all the time.
Another exemples with the verb SER:
e.g: O meu nome é Juliana. (My name is Juliana)
e.g¹: Eu sou brasileira. (I am Brazilian)
e.g²: Ela é casada (She is maried)

Another exemples with the verb ESTAR:
e.g: Minha filha está na escola. (My daughter is at the school);
e.g¹: Elas estão atrasadas (They are late).

Here it’s something interesting: Let’s see if that is easyer to underestand the jokingly that Brazilians use:

Bruna: Luciana! Você está linda! / Oh, Luciana! You are gorgeous!
Luciana: Eu não estou (temporarily)  maravilhosa, eu sou (permanently/always) maravilhosa.  I’m not gorgeous, I am gorgeous!

Some language teachers say that’s why Brazilians are so happy and high spirit. If a brazilian is poor or ugly, for exemple, he/she can “change” this condition, it’s not always permanent.

The exceptions as exemple when talking about “death” or “day”. Besides death be a permanent condition, in portuguese the verb estar is used.


– Ela está morta. (She is dead).
– Ela está morta há muito tempo. (She’s been dead a long time.)
– While talking about the day, in portuguese you can use ser or estar in this case.
– O dia está lindo! (It’s a beautiful day)
– Esse dia é lindo! (This day is beautiful)

Any other doubt about this verbs?


  1. Iwona

    Sim, tenho mais duvidas 😉
    Parece que no tempo passado as regras se mudam. Eu frequantamente estou a ouvir “Eu fui na festa”, mas no presente se diz “Eu estou na festa”
    Posso pedir a explicação como esta com o tempo passado?

    • admin

      Oi, Iwona. Na verdade, no presente, você deveria falar “Eu vou na festa”. Pois “fui” é o passado do verbo “ir”.

      Já com o verbo ‘estar’, no passado, você deve falar “Eu estive na festa”.

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