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Using "Ser De"

Phrase Used To Describe Origin, Possession or Qualities

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A form of the verb ser (which typically means "to be") followed by the preposition de is a common way of describing the nature of something or someone, its ownership, where it or the person is from, or the person's or thing's qualities. Following are some examples:

Place of origin: With this usage, ser de is typically the equivalent of "to be from."

  • Somos de Argentina y queremos emigrar a España. We are from Argentina and want to emigrate to Spain.
  • Empresas que no eran de EEUU dominaban el sector industrial en 2002. Non-U.S. business dominated the industrial sector in 2002.
  • Es importante que yo pueda ver en tu perfil si tú eres de Guatemala. It is important that I can see in your profile if you are from Guatemala.
Ownership or possession:
  • El coche es de mi primo. The car belongs to my cousin.
  • La idea era de Paula y no de Sancho. The idea was Paula's and not Sancho's.
  • ¿Cómo pueden estar tan seguros que esta bolsa es de Laura? How can you be so sure this purse is Laura's?
What something is made of:
  • En México, los tacos son de todo alimento imaginable. In Mexico, tacos are made from every imaginable ingredient.
  • Las paredes de este hotel son de papel. The walls in this hotel are made of paper.
  • La inmensa mayoría de la harina consumida es de trigo. The vast majority of flour consumed is made from wheat.
Qualities of a person or thing: When ser de is used to provide a description, if often can't be translated directly, and the sentence construction may seem, well, foreign. How the phrase is translated will depend on the context.
  • La casa de mis padres es de dos pisos. My parents' house has two stories.
  • El coche es de 20.000 dólares. It's a $20,000 car.
  • Eres de sangre ligera. You're a likable person.
  • Los teléfonos inalámbricos son de gran utilidad. Wireless telephones are very useful.
  • El mensaje que me han enviado es de mucha risa. The message they sent me is laughable.
Using ser de with phrases: As in the above examples, ser de is usually followed by a noun. However, sometimes it can be followed by a phrase that functions as a noun:
  • Las televisiones son de hace por lo menos 30 años. The televisions are at least 30 years old.
  • Soy de donde el mar se une con la tierra. I am from where the sea is one with the land.
  • La primera foto es de cuando estábamos en California. The first photo is of when we were in California.
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