ESTAR – the definitive reference

ESTAR - the definitive reference

If you're already pretty comfortable with the differences between ESTAR & SER, then this is for you. It's incredibly useful to have a one-stop reference for all the different flavors of ESTAR. I always wanted one when I was learning everything but never found anything!

ESTAR in all it's glory

*Ordered by importance (use). Complete ESTAR conjugation.

Use estar to talk about temporary, passing things.

Present Tense of ESTAR

Eu estou atrasado. » I'm late.
Onde você está? » Where are you?

CONVERSATIONAL: estou » | está »

Eu tô tão feliz que vocês voltaram. » I'm so happy that you (all) came back.
Você tá linda demais! » You're too beautiful!

Preterit Imperfect of ESTAR

» eu estava (conversational = tava)
» você estava (conversational = tava)

This form is used so much when talking about almost anything that "was" in the past that most people assume it's with the "simple past" (preterit tense). But it's really the imperfect version - the one that describes an action that was unfinished in the frame of the story. And that just fine because ESTAR almost always gets used that way. For example:

Eu estava tentado te ligar » I was trying to call you.
Você estava em casa ontem? » Were you at home yesterday?

*You'll almost never use the simple past form of ESTAR » eu estive, você esteve.

ESTAR in the Future Subjunctive

» eu estiver
» você estiver

Usually triggered by quando & se:

Quando eu chegar te ligo. » I'll call you when I arrive.
Se voce tiver tempo me liga. » Call me if you have time.

ESTAR in the Present Subjunctive

» eu esteja
» você esteja

Triggered by the usual things for this tense: espero que, quero que, importante que.

Quero que você esteja comigo. » I want you to be with me.
Espero que ela esteja bem. » I hope that she's well.

the Imperfect Subjunctive of ESTAR

» eu estivesse
» você estivesse

Always think of this tense as were to be:

Se eu estivesse lá, nada teria acontecido. » If I were there nothing would have happened.

Rarely used forms of ESTAR

Adding these to be complete. If you're using any of these you are getting into advanced territory with Portuguese!

The Conditional ESTAR

» eu estaria
» você estaria

Eu estaria trabalhando mas hoje é feriado. » I would be working but today is a holiday.
Você estaria rico se ganhasse a mega sena. » You would be rich if you were to win the lottery.

ESTAR in the Preterit

» eu estive
» você esteve
You only need to remember to use this verb form when talking about a place that you (or someone else) has been.

Eu já estive em Portugal. » I've already been to Portugal.
Você esteve lá? » Have you been there?

The Future ESTAR

» eu estarei
» você estará
Use the future tense to give a certain seriousness or certainty to the phrase, like this:

Eu estarei lá na hora marcada. » I will be there at the set time.
Você estará sempre comigo. » You will always be with me.

The Past Participle of ESTAR

» estado
The past participle translates to been, like this:

Tenho estado muito ocupado. » I've been really busy.
Você tem estado muito estressado esses dias. » You've been very stressed-out lately.

The Gerund of ESTAR

» estando

Pull this one out when you really want to impress or confuse someone. It's rarely used verbally, but you might see it in a newspaper or a legal text.

Estando do lado de fora, ele podia ver somente o lado externo da nossa casa. » Being that he was outside, he could only see the external side of our house.