It is probably most helpful to learn the two verbs separately, seeing how they function. After you've read this lesson, make sure you read the lesson on ser to see how it is used. And if you don't understand any terms on this page, be sure to look them up in the links to other lessons.
Here are the main uses of estar:
To indicate a state or condition, often one resulting from a change:
- Examples: Estaba enferma. (She was sick.) Estoy muy triste. (I am very sad.)
- Examples: Las torres gemelas estaban en Nueva York. (The twin towers were in New York.) Estamos en casa. (We are at home.)
- Examples: Estamos de viaje.(We are on a trip.) No están de broma. (They aren't kidding around.)
- Examples: Está cantando. (He is singing.) Estaba estudiando en la biblioteca. (She was studying in the library.) Estaré trabajando. (I will be working.)
- Examples: La camisa te está pequeño. (The shirt is small for you.) Me estaba bien la comida. (The meal tasted good to me.)
Conjugation of "estar"As you may have noticed, estar is irregular in some tenses. Following is its conjugation for the tenses most likely to be encountered by beginning students. Irregular forms are in boldface.
Present tense: yo estoy (I am), tú estás (you are), él/ella/usted está (he/she is, you are), nosotros/nosotras estamos, vosotros/vosotras estáis (you are), ellos/ellas/ustedes están (they are, you are)
Past (preterite) tense: yo estuve (I was), tú estuviste (you were), él/ella/usted estuvo (he was, she was, you were), estuvimos (we were), vosotros/vosotras estuvisteis (you were), ellos/ellas/ustedes estuvieron (they were, you were)
Past (imperfect) tense: yo estaba (I was), tú estabas (you were), él/ella/usted estaba (he was, she was, you were), estábamos (we were), vosotros/vosotras estabais (you were), ellos/ellas/ustedes estaban (they were, you were)
Future tense: yo estaré (I will be), tú estarás (you will be), él/ella/usted estará (he/she/you will be), estaremos (we will be), vosotros/vosotras estaréis (you will be), ellos/ellas/ustedes estarán (they will be, you will be)