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Thread: Dead- why estar and not ser?

  1. #1
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    Default Dead- why estar and not ser?

    Not really about vaina, but still Espanol 101. Since high school I have wondered about the use of estar to designate dead. He's dead is esta muerto instead of es muerto. The estar is supposed to be temporary, right? But what is more permanent than death? I have an idea that I have proposed outloud a time or two,never here though, but would first like to hear what the experts have to say about it.
    THanks
    Der Fish

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    To be, or not to be. That is the question.

    I have no idea regarding estar and ser, but I could not help myself.

    Maybe this answer I found:

    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: this is so because they express the result of a change or transformation; muerto is one of those adjectives, and another example is roto: el vaso está roto and not el vaso es roto.

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    It's a condition, that's why.
    Nevertheless you could say :"es un hombre muerto". En other words, a man with No energy, fun or life.

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    Hey Fish, windeguy answered your question, are you scratching your head yet

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    I think it's just an exception: estoy vivo , estoy muerto. A native Spanish speaker doesn't wonder why, he knows it is estar.

    Same with words like agua: el agua está fría , while this exception has a more obvious reason, the two colliding 'a's, in other words they do use 'la', for example la abuela. No native Spanish speaker will say 'la agua', but neither 'el agua frío'. A non native will try to use logic and say 'el agua frio'.

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    Life is a temporary state. Death may or may not be.
    Moderator East Coast Forum


    www.DR1.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by windeguy View Post
    To be, or not to be. That is the question.

    I have no idea regarding estar and ser, but I could not help myself.

    Maybe this answer I found:

    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: this is so because they express the result of a change or transformation; muerto is one of those adjectives, and another example is roto: el vaso está roto and not el vaso es roto.
    My explanation is kind of related to that. Ser indicates beingness. A human being is a ser humana, and i have heard the term for a celestial being, so when one is dead they no longer have this beingness and ser cannot be used. Juts what I have decided over the years.
    Thanks for the professional answer.
    Der Fish

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mauricio View Post
    I think it's just an exception: estoy vivo , estoy muerto. A native Spanish speaker doesn't wonder why, he knows it is estar.

    Same with words like agua: el agua está fría , while this exception has a more obvious reason, the two colliding 'a's, in other words they do use 'la', for example la abuela. No native Spanish speaker will say 'la agua', but neither 'el agua frío'. A non native will try to use logic and say 'el agua frio'.
    This reminds me of an ex-wife saying "When are you going to learn that mano is feminine?" I replied I am glad your manos son feminine, but mine will stay masculine, Thanks. Very little irritates me as much as a woman saying "When are you going to learn?" My answer is our relationship is not one of student and teacher.
    Der Fish

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    Ponte a fregar y planchar!
    that's the right answer herr Fish

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    Ser describes the way thing are born or created, and inherent qualities.
    Estar describes the results of an action. The action in this case is dying.
    Color, by the way, even when something is dyed or painted is considered an inherent quality. Being dead is not an inherent quality.

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