Using estar (and not ser) to express relationship statuses

When you are talking about relationship statuses in Spanish, you need to use the verb estar and not ser.

Read and listen to these examples:

Yo estoy casada con un chico millonario.
I am married to a millionaire guy.

Joaquín va a estar soltero toda la vida.
Joaquín is going to be single all his life long.

Mis padres están divorciados desde 2007.
My parents are divorced since 2007.

Nosotros estábamos separados antes.
We were separated before.

Tu novia y tú habéis estado comprometidos hasta este año.
Your girlfriend and you have been engaged until this year.

Mi abuela Sagrario está viuda.
My grandmother Sagrario is a widow.

See also Using ser (not estar) to describe relationships

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Joaquín va a estar soltero toda la vida.
Joaquín is going to be single all his life long.


Mi abuela Sagrario está viuda.
My grandmother Sagrario is a widow.


Yo estoy casada con un chico millonario.
I am married to a millionaire guy.


Tu novia y tú habéis estado comprometidos hasta este año.
Your girlfriend and you have been engaged until this year.


Nosotros estábamos separados antes.
We were separated before.


Mis padres están divorciados desde 2007.
My parents are divorced since 2007.


Q&A

Celia

Kwiziq community member

17 April 2019

2 replies

Relationships Ser or Estar?

One of the links above (Ser or Estar?) talks about DOCTOR CLIF. DOCTOR for "ser" includes description, origin, character, time, occupation, and RELATIONSHIP. Is that wrong or am I missing something?

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

17 April 2019

17/04/19

Hola Celia

Both ser and estar are used to talk about relationships but in a different way. 

With Ser you "identify" a person saying who that person is in relation to another one. 

Esa chica es la hermana de Juan. 
That girl is Juan's sister.

Yo soy su marido. 
I am her husband.

With Estar you talk about statuses (married, single, widow...)

Ella está casada.
She is married.

Doña Elvira está viuda.
Doña Elvira is a widow.

Hope this clarified it.

Saludos

Inma

 

 

Celia

Kwiziq community member

17 April 2019

17/04/19

Yes, that’s very helpful. ¡Gracias!

Greg

Kwiziq community member

19 June 2018

1 reply

I think it should normally be “ser”, not “estar” viudo/a"

First, my dictionary has ser/estar(Spain) viudo, but I think it's even more complicated than a dialect issue. Here's a relevant discussion: https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/to-be-a-widow.596749/

Note that the discussion extends to several other relationship-like words such as soltero (but like viudo, these words are to my mind not relationship words, but rather civil/personal status words, which is why I think ser is often correct with them).

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

19 June 2018

19/06/18

Hola Greg,

With "viudo" and other words that express civil status, "estar" is the most common verb used in Peninsular Spanish. You are right by saying that "ser" is valid, however, when we use "ser" it will generally be in a more formal context, for example when someone is requiring information from you to fill in a document or in a formal interview. For example: "- ¿Es usted soltero, casado o viudo? - Soy viudo."

In Latin America the use of "ser" may be more common than in Spain, though.

Because it is a basic lesson, we chose, as I mentioned before, the most common use in Peninsular Spanish. 

Gracias y un saludo

Getting that for you now.