Paul no está muerto (Spanish Edition)
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So why does Spanish use the word 'estar' instead of 'ser' to indicate that condition?
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Is there some background to this in terms of religion or politeness? If I say 'Mi padre es muerto', would that have a drastically different meaning than if I had used estar, or is the first one just plain incorrect and should never be used at all? Although it is true that estar usually indicates a non-permanent, temporary condition whereas ser usually signals a permanent condition, you have to take into account that estar is normally used to express a condition resulting from a transformation, process or actual change, and ser is normally used when referring to an inherent characteristic, with no involvement of process, change or transformation; in other words, ser normally has the purpose of including the subject into a certain class.
This explains why there are some adjectives that express a permanent condition but can only be combined with estar: Because estar is used to signify that they weren't always dead--that they were once alive. Ser is used to indicate a state of being--that they were always that way and always will be. To say es muerto is incorrect because they used to be alive. While agreeing with Gonzalo Medina's explanation, I would like to add my rule of thumb for this one.
A la fortuna , de Jorge Manrique a very good poet. I think the answer is that while ser defines the subject , estar defines its state. So one defines characteristics , the other one defines conditions.
Death of an Oracle: Rest in Peace, Paul the Octopus
The rule "permanent", "non permanent" is a good rule, but a rule of thumb, so not always true:. See more on this PPT document "Ser and estar" that gives some simple, yet interesting explanations. In modern Spanish both verbs ser and estar can be used with muerto. Estar is used to describe the condition of being dead. The key is that the subject has not always been dead; the subject was alive sometime in the past.
So, here being dead or alive is a transient condition. Other adjectives that depict a transient condition are vivo , enfermo , sano , preso , libre , soltero , casado , divorciado , viudo. Examples like libre , soltero , casado , divorciado , viudo can also have the verb ser without changing the meaning. Sano can be preceded by the verb ser but the meaning is altered.
El hombre es sano means that the man is healthy, not only is well but he probably has a healthy life that maintains him well. With adjectives like muerto , casado , divorciado and sano although with sano is somewhat weird you can use tenses other than present to indicate that the new condition is initiated by the action of a third party.
As I side note, we never say "es muerto". It's sounds unidiomatic and I don't even think it would make any sense when writing poetry either.
La Voluntad del muerto - Wikipedia
Questions Tags Users Badges Unanswered. Why is 'estar muerto' used instead of 'ser muerto'? Gordon Gustafson 1, 4 22 One way of thinking about it is to see estar as not necessarily dealing with permanence, but condition estado as opposed to being ser. Being dead is a albeit permanent condition or situation that a human is in. I'm not sure there are always hard rules for things in language. Another exception to the permanance rule for using ser and estar is the location of buildings: There are always hard rules; they are just not always obvious or even known yet.
That's what the entire field of linguistics is about.
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I did some research into academic linguistics papers on this topic, and the short answer is that nobody knows in the general case. There are many proposed theories that remove some categories of exceptions, but none that seems to cover all of the cases yet. Gonzalo Medina 5, 2 26 This can't be correct, since "ser" is used for professions among other things: The arbitrariness of languages is everywhere. Lucas if essentially arbitrary exceptions are needed, this means that the supposed rule is incorrect or incomplete in some way.
Languages aren't arbitrary, but the rules are sometimes complex and non-obvious.
“Pulpo Paul Ha Muerto” – Pulpo Paul Has Died
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