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The difference between ¿Cómo éstas? & ¿Cómo eres? in Spanish

If you’ve been learning Spanish for a while, you are probably already familiar with the difference between these two questions. If you’re wondering what I’m even talking about then read on, all will come clear…

To understand the difference between ¿Cómo éstas? and ¿Cómo eres? in Spanish first of all you need to understand that in Spanish there are two verbs that mean “to be”.

The first one is; estar and the second one is ser. Both mean “to be” however the main difference is that the verb estar is used for temporary things like feelings, for example estoy bien gracias (I’m well thank-you). It’s also used for the location of things; el perro está en el jardín (the dog is in the garden).

We can conjugate Estar in the present tense like this:

Estoy – estás – está – estamos – estáis – están

Ser on the other hand is used for permanent things for example, Jamil es mi hermano (Jamil is my brother). It’s also used to talk about your profession; soy profesora de Español (I’m a Spanish tutor) and to describe your physical characteristics and your personality son alegres (they are cheerful), él es alto (he is tall).

We can conjugate Ser in the present tense like this:

Soy – eres – es – somos – sois – son

So, with that in mind the word estás means you are, or as a question (with rising intonation don’t forget) ¿estás? means are you?

Como means “how” or it can be a polite way of asking “what?”

¿Cómo estás? therefore means how are you? It’s a familiar question.

Eres also means you are or as a question ¿eres? are you? But when you put it together with the question word ¿cómo?, is much deeper – it literally means what are you like? Referring to your personality, physical description.

If you’re asked ¿Cómo estás? you might reply with estoy bien gracias. Whereas if you’re asked ¿cómo eres? well you might need to think about that one for a bit before replying!

To help practice pronunciation around these two questions I put together a mini lesson over on YouTube, check it out here:

I’d love to hear about your experiences as you explore and practice Spanish. If you’re ready to take your learning further please visit my Website for details of up coming courses I’m running for both adults and children.

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