When linking a noun to an adjective, we use ser or star depending on the meaning of the adjective. Generally speaking, we can say that we use ser when we perceive that the adjective expresses an invariable quality, and we use estar when we perceive that the adjective express a condition that has changed from a previous condition, and may change in the future.

Since the number of adjectives that are normally used with ser is much larger than the ones used with estar, and many of the adjectives used with estar can also be used with ser, I always recommend students to use ser as a general rule, and learn the uses of estar with adjectives as exceptions.

The following list contains most of the adjectives that are used with estar.

Some of this adjectives are also used with ser with a different meaning.

Although they are not included in this list, we normally use estar with past participle forms used as adjectives (aburrido, cansado…).


absorto to be engrossed
atento to be alert, focused atento to be attentive, solicitous
ausente to be absent / distracted
borracho to be drunk
bueno to be tasty bueno to be good (in general)
caliente to be hot, warm
completo to be complete / full completo to be versatile
consciente to be conscious, awake consciente to be conscious, aware
contento to be happy, pleased, glad
delgado to be slim
descalzo to be barefoot
despierto to be awake despierto to be bright, sharp
disperso to be dispersed disperso to be a dispersed person
enfermo to be ill
frío to be cold (temperature) frío to be cold, insensible, distant
furioso to be furious
gordo to be fat
grave to be seriously ill grave to be a serious problem or condition
hambriento to be hungry
harto to be fed up, sick of
impaciente to be impatient to do something impaciente to be an impatient person
libre to be free, unocupied libre to be free, enjoy freedom
limpio to be clean limpio to be a clean person
listo to be ready listo to be clever
loco to be crazy, mentally ill
lleno to be full
maduro to be ripe maduro to be mature
malo to be ill / spoiled (food) malo to be bad / harmful
molesto to be annoyed molesto to be annoying
moreno to be tanned moreno to be dark-skinned
nervioso to be nervous (state) nervioso to be very excitable
orgulloso to be proud of something orgulloso to be conceited, vain
pálido to be pale pálido to be pale-skinned
presente to be present
rico to be tasty rico to be rich
sano to be healthy, enjoy good health sano to be healthy, foster health
seco to be dry seco to be curt
sediento to be thirsty sucio to be messy
seguro to be in a safe situation or environment seguro to be a safe situation or enviroment
to be certain about something to be a certain, definite
sucio to be dirty sucio to be messy
suelto to be loose
sujeto to be fixed to
tenso to be tense, taut / stressed
tranquilo to be calm, quiet tranquilo to be a calm person
triste to feel sad triste to be sad, cause sorrow
vacío to be empty
verde to be unripe / unexperienced verde to be green coloured
vivo to be alive vivo to be quick, sharp, bright

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