The Ser and Estar Workbook is a practical guide designed for Spanish learners to gradually develop the sense that is necessary for the correct use of the Spanish verbs ser, estar and haber.
It can be used in a language class under a teacher’s guidance, but it contains instructions that will allow students to work by themselves too.
As you already know, these are verbs that drive almost every Spanish learner crazy, at least during some time. And they actually drive some native teachers crazy too, because we use these verbs so intuitively, that it is sometimes difficult to explain to our students why we choose one or the other and, even more, how they can learn to use them correctly.
Because these verbs have only one equivalent in English (and other languages too), many Spanish learners don’t have the concept of the difference between the verbs in their mind.
An this is what this workbook helps students achieve.
(This workbook helps Spanish learners develop the sense that is necessary to use these verbs correctly; it doesn’t contain every use of of the verbs and there are also many exceptions that are not included.)
Many materials that intend to help with the use of ser and estar (they normally exclude haber), consist of a bunch of rules with some exercises in order to test students. I’ve been teaching Spanish for twelve years and felt frustrated when using those materials. That’s why I started working on this workbook. This workbook is the result of hundreds of hours of work with Spanish learners.
Total pages: 94
-keys to all the exercises
-classified vocabulary in charts
About this workbook
There is a list containing all the vocabulary used in this guide. You don’t want your students to get distracted by words they don’t understand in the middle of a study session, so it’s best to check the vocabulary first.
I’ve kept the vocabulary to a minimum with barely 150 words. All of them are very basic words and many of them are so similar to their English equivalents that, if the students haven’t learned them before, they won’t have any problem to learn them instantly.
Verbs appear only in the present tense, but the principles apply to all tenses.
There is an appendix at the end of this guide where the vocabulary is classified.
The workbook is divided in 12 chapters.
Each chapter contains sentences that introduce the student to one particular use of a verb. The situations in which those sentences are used and the English translation are included too.
1 The students read the situation explanation to get an idea of the situation where the sentence is used.
They should be encouraged to make an effort to imagine that they are in that situation. Language is a complex code that includes not only sounds (or written signs) but external information too. To really understand a written sentence we should previously understand the situation in which it is being used.
2 The students read the Spanish example and its English translation.
3 They should be encouraged to study the Spanish example thoroughly: the words it uses, the word order and the spelling. And also to study the agreement between words: gender and number agreement between nouns, pronouns and adjectives; person and number agreement between nouns, pronouns and verbs.
4 The students read the Spanish example several times until they feel they have memorized it.
Memorizing the examples is the most important part of this program.
You’ll see that they are going to work with the ideas that explain the use of these verbs in Spanish at the end of each chapter, but understanding those ideas won’t make them fluent in the use of these verbs: they must have the examples in their head—real examples—so they are not working with ideas only.
As they get used to the structure of sentences, sentences will become easier to memorize.
When they finish working with this guide, both examples and explanations will be one in their heads and they will be able to relate to them when they are in a situation where they have to use ser, estar or haber.
After the first group of examples there is an exercise in which the students have to write the Spanish examples by themselves, provided the situation and the English translation. You may want review the examples one more time before you start the exercise.
1 The students read the situation explanation to get an idea of the situation and try to remember the Spanish example even before they read the English translation.
2 Then they read the English translation.
3 And write the Spanish example.
4 If they can’t remember the Spanish example, they can check the sentence number provided and go back to the point where the example was presented.
5 After they have written all the Spanish examples in that exercise, they can check their answers with the sentence numbers.
6 Afterwards, there should review any example that they couldn’t write correctly.
When a chapter includes several groups of examples, the exercises include examples from the previous groups too.
At the end of each chapter there is a summary with the ideas that students can get from the examples they have studied. This will help them be more conscious of the patterns that they will have probably interiorized already by studying and memorizing the examples.
In case the workbook is used in a class, and depending on the students age and level, the teacher may let the students read the summary by themselves; or explain to them the patterns that can be drawn from the examples; or even better, guide the students in the discovery of those patterns before reading the summary.
Chapter 12 contains exercises where the students work with sentences that have the same structures they have learned, but use new vocabulary.
Thanks for reading this far.
The Ser and Estar Workbook by Jorge Sivit