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"I'm poor" in Spanish

"Estoy pobre," I told Eugenia, friend and co-worker in Seville.

"No," she said, "Eres* pobre."

  — Sometime around April 2001


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* Spanish has two verbs that both mean "to be."

The difference — to make a simple explanation — is in the way that they refer to the permanence of "being."

"Ser" connotes an essential characteristic, "estar" a transitory state — a condition that is not definitive.

The subtler differences between these two verbs is a matter for scholars, but that's the basic rundown.

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