To be (or not to be) | Verb

The聽Catalan verb to be istwo verbs: ser and estar.聽In English it’s all in one verb whereas in Catalan we use two. Let’s first have a look at the conjugation of both verbs and then when to use each one!

Catalan verb to be: Ser and estar

Let’s first have a look at their conjugation and then we figure out when to use one or the other 馃檪



Jo s贸c

Jo estic

Tu ets

Tu est脿s

Ell/ella 茅s

Ell/ella est脿

Nosaltres som

Nosaltres estem

Vosaltres sou

Vosaltres esteu

Ells/elles 聽s贸n

Ells /elles estan


How do we know which one to use? It’s easy!


  • Unchangeable facts: 聽(jo) s贸c catalana (I’m Catalan) *
  • Times or hours: S贸n les 7 (it’s 7 o’clock) / 茅s la tarda (it’s the evening)

    Image of learn catalan verb to be barcelona centre
    Learn the anecdote from this picture at the end of the article, in a nutshell. Picture from
  • Occupation: (jo) s贸c metge (I’m a doctor) *
  • Relation: (jo) s贸c la germana (I’m the sister) *

Summing up, all those things that are the way they are and cannot be changed.


  • Location: (jo) estic a Barcelona (I’m in Barcelona) *
  • Moods and feeelings: (ell) est脿 trist (he’s sad) / (ella) est脿 enamorada (she’s in love) *
  • Marital status: (jo) estic single/solter (I’m single) / (nosaltres) estem divorciats (we’re divorced) *

Of course there are times when practice gets slightly more confusing and tricky, but try to remember the general rule to start with! 馃檪

* Note that the subject is optional. 聽Since the verb is already telling us who does the action, you don’t need to write/say the subject. You can either say it (it’s good practice at the beginning) or skip it!

In a nutshell:

In the picture you can see the Roman wall of Barcelona, which stands right next to the Cathedral. There’s something which I find fascinating about it. If you have a look at the tower on the right hand-side, 聽there are two different types of stones at the bottom of it and in the higher part. The part below, belongs to the Roman wall whereas the higher part made of smaller blocks is from the medieval time when a higher wall was built! Quite a difference, isn’t it? 馃檪

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