One of the uses of ser (not estar) is to express origin or nationality. Have a look and listen to these examples:
Soy de Vitoria.I am from Vitoria.
Andrea es de Cádiz.Andrea is from Cadiz.
¿Eres de Inglaterra?Are you from England? (you=tú)
Vicente y yo somos de las Islas Canarias.Vicente and I are from the Canary Islands.
In the examples above, it is compulsory to use the preposition de to express origin with towns, cities, countries or islands.
Ser (conjugated) + de + [origin]
Now read and listen to these examples:
Soy español.I am Spanish.
Peter es irlandés.Peter is Irish.
Nosotras somos canadienses.We are Canadian.
Ustedes son australianos.You are Australian. (you=ustedes)
In the examples above, we do not use the preposition de when talking about nationalities.
- With nationalities: Soy de español. Soy español. (I am Spanish).
- Remember that nationalities are never capitalised in Spanish!
See also Using ser (not estar) to express an essential or permanent characteristic.
Want to make sure your Spanish sounds confident?
We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your
gaps and mistakes. Start your Braimap today »