This is one of the simplest questions I have found hotly debated by people online. The two terms are used differently in a sentence and everybody in lesson 1.4 can clearly know that. Some people say that soy means ‘’I am’’ and for that reason they use it in reference to where someone is from and the occupation. Estoy on the other hand is used with the same English words but with a verb after it.
With such functionalities, I have found the two terms used interchangeably or confusingly in a sentence. Some people mix them up which causes more confusion. For that reason, I think I would remember these words perfectly if I know different instances when they are used.
To help you understand how the two words are used, we have shared a couple of differences and similarities between the two words. The main differences exists in the way these words are included in a sentence and most importantly the meaning they carry.
1. Estoy comes from the verb estar while soy comes from the verb ser. This is the first difference that exists between soy and Estoy. Estoy is the first person of that verb estar while soy is the first person of the aforementioned verb.
2. Meaning-Estoy means ‘’I am’’ and soy means the same. What makes the difference in the meaning is what follows after each of the word is used. Estoy unlike soy is followed by a verb to complete their meaning. Soy on one hand is not followed by any verb.
3. Context-Regardless of the fact that the two verbs are used to mean ‘’to be’’ they are used in distinctively different contexts. If you think about the way these words are used in English, then it’s the same thing that happens with the use of these verbs in Spanish. For example, ‘’to be’’ in English can be used to describe your occupation or a physical state of mind. A good example in describing your occupation in English ‘’I am a professional footballer’’ and in describing your physical state of mind ‘’I am asthmatic’’ This is the same way the two verb ‘’to be’’ are used in Spanish.
4. Estar is used with a temporary state-The general rule of thumb here is to use Estoy with a temporally state whether physical or emotional. It can be used to mean ‘’I am Ill or Estoy enfermado’’. This is actually what can make you simply understand what this means. Always use estar with a state of mind or health that is going to change with time. You can use the same word to say where you are currently such as I am Here (Estoy qui)
5. Ser is more permanent-If you are referring to more permanent states, it’s always better to use ser than estar. It sounds better to use ser to describe your profession rather than using estar. If you are a pastor, using ser to describe what you do sounds better.
6. Using yo to mean ‘’I am’’ in Spanish is not very necessary-It is a pronoun that doesn’t work necessarily in every conversation to describe who you are. The reason is that the way the verbs are broken down. In simple terms, the verbs in Spanish already say who is doing what.
7. ser comes from a Latin word that means to be while the other comes from Latin word that means stand up. This is another visible difference between the two words. They originate from the same place but they both mean something different.
8. Condition vs. state-I have also come across people advising that someone should think of these two words as a state and a condition. A good example is soy de Colorado for a condition and estoy feliz for a state.
9. Examples-To better understand the difference that exists between these two words, I have to give you two examples of where these two words are used to mean something different but closely related. The two words can be used to mean I am drunk or more generally I am a drunkard. Take for example soy borracho which means ‘’I am a drunkard’’ and Estoy borracho which means ‘’I am drunk’’. This is what makes the biggest difference between the two words.
10. Estar marks changes of states-When things were a certain way and later changed, the best word to use to describe that is estar. A good example is estoy gordo (I wasn’t fat before).