Let’s learn the last of our important conjugations of Ser, and we’ll get some good practice with the unconjugated forms ser, sido, and siendo.
Let’s learn just a few more forms of Ser.
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Today we’re going to learn just five new forms of Ser, forms that go beyond the present, the past, and the subjunctive.
Let’s start with the future. There are five main forms for the future tense, just as there are for the present, the past, and the subjunctive. But we’re only going to learn one form for now, será (spelled S-E-R-A-with-an-accent-mark). This is the only form that’s very commonly used, and that’s because there’s actually a *different* way to put Ser in the future, as we’ll learn in upcoming episodes.
Será means “will be”, as in “he will be”, “she will be”, “it will be”, or usted will be. For example:
Will he be my friend?
¿Será mi amigo?
The girl will be my friend?
¿La chica será mi amiga?
Let’s practice with a couple more examples.
Her house will be a good place.
Su casa será un buen lugar.
But your house will be the one that is good.
Pero tu casa será la que es buena.
Our next word to learn is sería, spelled S-E-R-I-A, with an accent mark on the I. Sería. This word means “would be”.
What is this? When I say “I would be his friend”, I’m not talking about the past, the present, or the future. Instead, I’m using what we call the conditional, meaning that we’re implying that something “would” be the case if a particular condition is met.
The fact is, there actually is no word in Spanish for the English word “would”. Instead, any time you say that something “would” be the case, you use a conditional conjugation, such as sería. This is one reason that there are so many conjugations of every verb in Spanish — in English, we can just add the word “would” to a sentence. But in Spanish, you actually have to change the conjugation of the verb.
Now, the verb Ser has several different conditional forms, including serían for “they would be”, serías for “you would be”, and seríamos for “we would be”. But the most common, by far, is sería, which can mean “he would be”, “she would be”, “it would be”, or “usted would be”. This is ALSO whe word for “I would be”. So you can say, for example, “I would be your friend”:
Yo sería tu amigo.
Let’s practice with a few more examples.
It would be good.
Would she be the girl or would he be the boy?
¿Ella sería la chica o él sería el chico?
Our next word is sido, which means “been”, as in “have you been a student?” or “We have been very good friends.”
And here’s something weird: this form of Ser, sido, ISN’T a conjugation! Instead, it’s a form of the verb that doesn’t change based on who we’re talking about. So “I have been a student” is “I have sido a student. “We have been students” is “we have sido students”. And “you have been a student” is “you have sido a student”. Why can we do this?
The thing is, every verb in Spanish has lots of conjugated forms, meaning those forms that change based on which person is doing the thing. Those include the present tense, the imperfect tense, the preterite tense, the future tense, the subjunctive mood, and the conditional. But every verb ALSO has some forms that never change based on the person doing it.
Another example of an unconjugated form that we’ve already learned is the infinitive. So suppose that I’m talking about people wanting to be students. The word “to be” is simply ser. So no matter who is doing the wanting, the form ser doesn’t change. “I want ser a student”, “she wants ser a student”, “We want ser students.” In each case, the word ser doesn’t change. Instead, the conjugated verb is the verb “wants”, which WILL change based on what person is doing the wanting.
So every verb in Spanish has many conjugated forms, but it also has this unconjugated form, the infinitive, which is the name of the verb, like ser or estar. And every verb will ALSO have an unconjugated form like sido, which is what we call the “participle”. This is a word that we can use to put a verb in the past.
Here are a few sentence examples to practice with. In each case, you’ll notice that there’s a word like “has” or “have” before the word “been”, or sido. You can leave the word “have” or “has” in English for now; we’ll learn how to translate it pretty soon.
My friends have been good guys.
Mis amigos have sido buenos chicos.
Mis amigos han sido buenos chicos.
You have been my friend(f) for a long time.
Tú have sido mi amiga por a long time.
Tú has sido mi amiga por mucho tiempo.
The good (thing) is that he has been our friend.
Lo bueno es que él has sido nuestro amigo.
Lo bueno es que él ha sido nuestro amigo.
So we’ve now learned all the most common conjugations of Ser, and we’ve learned two unconjugated forms, the infinitive, ser, and the participle, sido, which you can use to put a verb in the past. There’s a third type of unconjugated form to learn, and it’s called the “gerund”. For Ser, this word is siendo, which roughly means “being”, but it’s a bit tricky to use.
Specifically, we use siendo to emphasize that an action is happening in the present, or at a particular moment. To illustrate for a second, let’s imagine that instead of “being”, we’re talking about “eating”. Here are some things that we can do with a verb like “eating”.
I am eating.
She is eating.
They are eating.
We are eating.
You are eating.
So in each case, we’ve changed who’s doing the action, but the word ‘eating’ doesn’t change. Instead, the word right *before* eating changes: “am eating”, “is eating”, “are eating”.
So how do we use siendo? Well, this is very strange. Let’s replace “eating” with “being” in all of these sentences:
I am being…
She is being…
They are being…
We are being…
You are being…
OK so these are not really complete sentences, so let’s add something at the end. Typically you’ll use siendo in temporary judgments of someone’s character, for example, “she is being a good girl”, or “he is being a baby”. (In fact, siendo is very often used in insults.) But just to be nice, let’s try variations on “good friends”:
I am being a good friend.
She is being a good friend.
They are being good friends.
We are being good friends.
You are being a good friend.
OK. So here’s what’s weird: In each of these cases, in English, we use the verb “to be” twice in a row. In the first one, we have “am being”. We already know that “am” is a form of “to be”, and so is “being”. And then in the second one, we have “is being”.
So the rule is, whenever you see this happening, you have to use a conjugation of Estar first, and then the gerund. So here’s how you would translate each of these sentences:
Estoy siendo un buen amigo.
Está siendo una buena amiga.
Están siendo buenos amigos.
Estamos siendo buenos amigos.
Estás siendo un buen amigo.
So, it might throw you off that we’re using both Estar and Ser. The thing is, the meaning from the sentence is actually only coming from Ser, specifically the gerund siendo. And that’s because we’re talking about what someone is — we’re saying they’re being a good friend. The verb Estar is simply being used along with siendo to put emphasis on the present moment. But the meaning is all coming from the verb Ser. The verb Estar is just helping out.
Now this begs the question: What’s the difference between these two sentences?
Estás siendo un buen amigo.
Eres un buen amigo.
They both mean “You are a good friend.” But they’re worded in a slightly different way. The first one is more like “You’re being a good friend, in this moment”, and the second one is “you are a good friend, in general.”
Let’s practice this with some examples.
She is being good.
Ella está siendo buena.
You’re being mean.
Estás siendo mean.
Estás siendo mala.
What are we being mean for?
¿Para qué estamos siendo mean?
¿Para qué estamos siendo malos?
I hope that they’re being good boys.
I hope que estén siendo buenos chicos.
Espero que estén siendo buenos chicos.
There’s one more question that a lot of students have about the word siendo. We’ve already learned that the infinitive, ser, one of our other unconjugated forms, is also often translated as “being”. So when you see the word “being” in English, how do you know whether it should be translated as ser or siendo?
In general, if the word “being” passes the food test, you’ll translate it as ser. If it doesn’t and it’s instead being used after another form of “to be”, you’ll probably translate it as siendo. Let’s practice with a couple examples; in each case, you’ll translate “being” as either ser or siendo.
He was here yesterday because of being your friend.
Estuvo aquí yesterday por ser tu amigo.
Estuvo aquí ayer por ser tu amigo.
Her friends(f) are being weird.
Sus amigas están siendo weird.
Sus amigas están siendo raras.
The boys are not being good.
Los chicos no están siendo buenos.
Let’s practice this a bit more, and I’ll also throw in a few other things we’ve been learning over the last few episodes.
If she is being good, I want to be good(f) too.
Si ella está siendo buena, I want ser buena too.
Si ella está siendo buena, yo quiero ser buena también.
I want to be what she will be.
I want ser lo que ella será.
Quiero ser lo que ella será.
That has been good.
Eso has sido bueno.
Eso ha sido bueno.
After what you did, I was fine.
After lo que tú did, estuve bien.
Después de lo que tú hiciste, estuve bien.
I don’t know what to do when he’s being mean.
Yo no know qué to do cuando está siendo mean.
Yo no sé qué hacer cuando está siendo malo.
Either he would be a friend or she wouldn’t be a friend.
O él sería un amigo o ella no sería una amiga.
We have been friends(m) for many years.
We have sido amigos por many years.
Hemos sido amigos por muchos años.
For more practice with ser, siendo, sido, será, and sería, go to LCSPodcast.com/32.
Tomorrow we’re going to wrap up our conjugations of Estar, and then it’s on to some fun things like nouns and adverbs.
This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Michael Agudelo. Our music was provided by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.