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Lesson 4 - ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?)
Navigation: Home Course Lesson 4 estar
Pages in this lesson: Question Words - estar - Dialogue - Reading - Quiz
This page: Learn the forms of the verb estar (to be) in Spanish.

¿Cómo estás?

estar (to be)

Grammar Lesson

What is the difference between ser and estar?

As we explained in the previous grammar lesson, there are two forms of the verb "to be" - ser and estar. The verb ser tends to be used with more permanent features like descriptions of your physical appearance, personality or nationality. An exception to this is that ser is used to describe the time and date, something which obviously changes and is not permanent. We will practice more with describing time and dates in a future lesson. The verb estar is used with more temporary features such as how you feel today or your location. Click on the forms of the verb in the table below to hear the pronunciation and repeat.

The verb estar (to be)
Subject pronouns Form of estar English translation
yo ► estoy I am
► estás you are
usted, él, ella ► está you are/he is/she is
nosotros, nosotras ► estamos we are
vosotros, vosotras ► estáis you are (used in Spain only)
ustedes, ellos, ellas ► están you are/they are

Note: Remember that the subject pronoun doesn't necessarily have to be used in a sentence if it is clear who the subject is based on the context or verb form. For example, with the verb estoy, it is obvious that the subject is yo so the subject is generally not used. The subject may still be used, however, for emphasis.



Section 1
Select the correct form of the verb for the subject.

1. Yo      

2. Nosotros      

3. Usted      

4. Tú      

5. Ellos      

6. Ustedes    

7. Vosotros      

8. Marco      
Since it's a man's name, treat it like "he" (él).

9. Susana      
Since it's a woman's name, treat it like "she" (ella).

10. Los estudiantes (The students)      
Since it's plural, treat it like "they" (ellos).



Section 2
Fill in the blank with the correct verb form.

feliz = happy (singular) | felices = happy (plural)

1. Él feliz.      

2. Yo feliz.      

3. Usted feliz.      

4. David feliz.      

5. Tú feliz.      

6. Nosotros felices.      

7. Él feliz.      

8. Ellos felices.      

9. Ustedes felices.      

10. Vosotros felices.      

11. Los niños (the children) felices.      

12. Susana feliz.      



To make a verb negative in Spanish you just add the word "no" before the verb. (en la casa = in the house)

  • Examples:
  • No estoy en la casa.
  • Ella no está en la casa.
  • Los niños no están en la casa.

Section 3
Change the sentence to negative. Don't forget to use correct capitalization, accents and punctuation, or the computer will mark it as incorrect.

1. Estás en la casa.

2. Estamos en la casa.

3. Marco está en la casa.

4. Ustedes están en la casa.

5. Luis y yo estamos en la casa.


Yes/No Questions

To form yes/no questions in Spanish, you just change the word order by putting the verb first. If there is no subject (the verb is already first), all you need is to put question marks. In Spanish an upside-down question mark (¿) is used at the beginning of the question as well as a regular question mark (?) at the end. In some sentences the subject can go right after the verb or at the end of the sentence. If a verb has an object or adverb, however, the subject usually goes after the object or adverb.

  • Examples:
  • ¿Estás en la casa?
  • ¿Está ella en la casa? (Is she at home?)

Often Spanish-speakers don't even change the word order for a question. They use the normal sentence word order and just add question marks (to written text) and question intonation (to spoken questions). We also do this in English when we are confirming something ("Maria is at home?").

  • Examples:
  • ¿María está en la casa?
  • ¿Los niños están en la casa?


Questions with Question Words

To make questions with question words, the question word comes first, then the verb and then the subject (unless the question word is taking the place of the subject).

  • Examples:
  • ¿Dónde está María? = Where is Maria?
  • ¿Quién es ella? = Who is she?
  • ¿Cómo están niños? = How are the children?

If a preposition is used with the question word, it goes in front of the question word.

  • Examples:
  • ¿De dónde eres? = Where are you from?     Literally "From where are you?"
  • ¿De quién es el libro? = Whose book is this?     Literally "Of whom is the book?"


Section 4:
Write the question in Spanish. Don't forget to use correct capitalization, accents and punctuation, or the computer will mark it as incorrect.

  • Example:
  • How is Vanessa? → ¿Cómo está Vanessa?

1. How is Jorge?
When asking how someone is, you are asking about their emotion or condition so you would use the verb estar.

2. How is Marisa?

3. How are Guillermo and Elena?

4. Where is Jorge?
When asking about location, you use the verb "estar.""

5. Where are Elena and Miguel?

6. Who is he?
Who someone is would be a permanent feature so you use the verb ser.

7. Who are they?

8. Where is Jaime from?
Where someone is from is a permanent feature so you use the verb ser. Don't forget that prepositions (like "de," which means "from") go in front of the question word.

9. Where is Liz from?

10. Where are Paula and Hugo from?


Find the Mistake

Find the mistake in the sentence and re-write it correctly in the space. Don't forget to use correct capitalization, accents and punctuation, or the computer will mark it as incorrect.

  • Example:
  • Ella son inteligente. → Ella es inteligente.

1. Mike está no en la casa.

2. Soy en la casa.

3. Los niños está felices.

4. Francisco y yo están en la casa.

5. Dónde está Susana?
Be careful with this one! The error is in the punctuation. What punctuation is required for questions in Spanish?



Write a few sentences with the forms of the verb estar to tell where people you know are at this moment.

Location ideas: en la casa = at home | en el trabajo = at work | en la escuela = at school | en la tienda = in the store | en la iglesia = at church

  • Examples:
  • Estoy en la casa. = I am at home.
  • Mi mamá está en el trabjo. = My mom is at work.

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¿Cómo estás? dialogue


Lesson 4 - ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?)
Question Words - estar - Dialogue - Reading - Quiz




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