Translation of be in Spanish:


Pronunciation /bi/ /biː/

See Spanish definition of ser

intransitive verb am, are, is, was, were, been

  • 1

    • 1.1(followed by an adjective)

      she's French/intelligent/cunning es francesa/inteligente/astuta
      • he's worried/furious está preocupado/furioso
      • he's blind es ciego
      • he's short and fat es bajo y gordo
      • he's so fat he can't get into his clothes any more está tan gordo que ya no le cabe la ropa
      • these shoes are new, I've just bought them estos zapatos son nuevos, los acabo de comprar
      • these shoes are still as good as new estos zapatos todavía están (como) nuevos
      • have you never had gazpacho? it's delicious! ¿nunca has comido gazpacho? ¡es delicioso!
      • the gazpacho is delicious, did you make it yourself? el gazpacho está delicioso ¿lo hiciste tú?
      • she was very rude to me estuvo muy grosera conmigo
      • she's very rude es muy grosera
      • tomatoes are expensive in winter los tomates son caros en invierno
      • aren't tomatoes expensive at the moment! ¡qué caros están los tomates!
      • be good and keep still sé bueno y estáte quieto
      • be fair! ¡sé justo!
      • don't be silly! ¡no seas tonto!

    • 1.2(when giving one's marital status)

      Tony is married/divorced/single Tony es casado/divorciado/soltero
      • she's married to a cousin of mine está casada con un primo mío
      • she's a widow es viuda
      • we've been married for eight years hace ocho años que nos casamos

  • 2

    • 2.1(followed by a noun)

      you must be Helen! — no, I'm Rachel ¡tú debes (de) ser Helen! — no, soy Rachel
      • she's a lawyer/writer es abogada/escritora
      • she's a famous lawyer/writer es una famosa abogada/escritora
      • he's a Catholic/Muslim es católico/musulmán
      • she was Prime Minister for 11 years fue Primera Ministra durante 11 años
      • who was Prime Minister at the time? ¿quién era Primer Ministro en ese momento?
      • don't worry, it's me/Daniel/us no te preocupes, soy yo/es Daniel/somos nosotros
      • she's not one to complain no es de las que se quejan
      • I'm not a big eater no soy de mucho comer

    • 2.2(playing the role of)

      hacer de
      I was Juliet in the school play hice de Julieta en la obra del colegio
      • you be the princess and I'll be the fairy tú eras la princesa y yo era el hada

  • 3

    • 3.1(when talking about mental and physical states)

      how are you? ¿cómo estás?
      • I'm much better, thank you estoy / me encuentro mucho mejor, gracias
      • she's pregnant/tired/depressed está embarazada/cansada/deprimida
      • how's the patient today? ¿cómo está el paciente hoy?
      • I'm cold/hot/hungry/thirsty/sleepy tengo frío/calor/hambre/sed/sueño
      • she has been ill ha estado enferma
      • he's dead está muerto

    • 3.2(when stating one's age)

      how old are you? ¿cuántos años tienes?
      • I'm 31 tengo 31 años
      • Paul was four last Monday/will be four next Monday Paul cumplió cuatro años el lunes pasado/cumplirá / va a cumplir cuatro años el lunes que viene
      • he's a lot older/younger es mucho mayor/menor
      • our house is over 100 years old nuestra casa tiene más de 100 años

    • 3.3(when giving prices, measurements, weight)

      how much is that? — that'll be $15, please ¿cuánto es? — (son) 15 dólares, por favor
      • the large ones are $15 each las grandes cuestan / valen 15 dólares cada una
      • two plus two is four dos más dos son cuatro
      • how tall/heavy is he? ¿cuánto mide/pesa?
      • Jim's over six feet (tall)/120 pounds Jim mide más de seis pies/pesa más de 120 libras

  • 4

    • 4.1(to exist, to live)

      I think, therefore I am pienso, luego existo
      • to be or not to be ser o no ser
      • the old custom is no more la vieja costumbre ya no existe
      • they made plans to marry but it was not to be planearon casarse pero no quiso el destino que así fuera
      • to let sth/sb be dejar tranquilo / en paz algo/a algn
      • I met her husband-to-be conocí a su futuro marido
      • the mother-to-be la futura madre

    • 4.2(in expressions of time)

      don't be too long no tardes mucho
      • I'm drying my hair, I won't be long me estoy secando el pelo, enseguida estoy
      • how long will dinner be? ¿cuánto falta para la cena?

    • 4.3(to take place)

      the party/concert is tomorrow la fiesta/el concierto es mañana
      • the meeting will be in the hall la reunión será en la sala
      • the exams were last week los exámenes fueron la semana pasada

  • 5

    (to be situated, to be present)
    where is the library? ¿dónde está / queda la biblioteca?
    • where's the bread? ¿dónde está el pan?
    • where are you? — I'm over here ¿dónde estás? — estoy aquí
    • what's in that box? ¿qué hay en esa caja?
    • who's in the movie? ¿quién actúa / trabaja en la película?
    • he's here for two weeks va a estar aquí dos semanas
    • how long are you married? ¿cuánto tiempo hace que te casaste?
    • how long are you in Chicago? ¿cuánto (tiempo) te vas a quedar en Chicago?
  • 6

    (in perfect tenses)
    • 6.1(to have visited)

      I've never been to India nunca he estado en la India
      • have you been to the Turner Exhibition yet? ¿ya has estado en / has ido a la exposición de Turner?
      • has the milkman been? ¿ha venido el lechero?

    • 6.2British informal (used for emphasis)

      you've really (been and) gone and done it now! ¡ahora sí que la has hecho buena! informal, ironic

impersonal verb am, are, is, was, were, been

  • 1

    • 1.1(when talking about physical conditions, circumstances)

      it's sunny/cold/hot hace sol/frío/calor
      • it's cloudy está nublado
      • it was three degrees below zero hacía tres grados bajo cero
      • it was still dark outside afuera todavía estaba oscuro / era de noche
      • it was pitch black in the cellar en el sótano estaba oscuro como boca de lobo
      • it's so noisy/quiet in here! ¡qué ruido/silencio hay aquí!
      • what was it like in Australia? ¿qué tal en Australia?
      • it was chaos at the station aquello era un caos en la estación

    • 1.2(in expressions of time)

      it's three o'clock son las tres
      • it's one o'clock es la una
      • it was still very early todavía era muy temprano
      • it's Wednesday today hoy es miércoles
      • it's time we had a talk es hora de que hablemos
      • hi, Joe, it's been a long time qué tal, Joe, tanto tiempo (sin verte)
      • I was to meet up with my two travelling companions in an open air restaurant on edge of Timbuctou.
      • The two clubs were to meet at Lismore in a match many considered a grand final preview.
      • They were to meet in a restaurant and pose as two friends trying to patch up some hard times.
      • The same year he met the girl who was to become his wife and decided to stay on and look for a job.
      • Now fire chiefs in the county are to meet and discuss their concerns about the worrying trend.
      • Local people are to pass on their parenting know-how to help other mums and dads.
      • The general had no idea a Georgian major was to meet with him, nor would he ever meet the major.
      • She opened a family grocery that grew and prospered in the years that were to follow.
      • Mrs. Bache was given a first and final written warning which was to remain on her file for two years.
      • Then all that remained was to persuade the archbishop of Canterbury to anoint him.
      • In fact Delsarte was to remain on the staff at Nancy for the rest of his career.
      • He was to remain a friend of Dee's throughout his life and undertook joint work with him.
      • Guido was to remain in hospital for five days, as four wounds in one leg were treated.
      • Thousands more merchant seafarers were to lose their lives on the convoys that followed.
      • Those who followed the instructions and reported their results were to receive prizes.
      • More horrors were to follow when I visited the toilet and walked into the ladies.
      • Her son and his fiancee were to be married at the end of May.
      • The same plane was to be used for a noon flight from Manchester to Washington on Saturday.
      • Leaflets outlining the scheme are to be delivered to homes in the immediate area in the coming weeks.
      • Bradford firms are to be made aware of the benefits of employing a diverse workforce at a seminar in the city.

    • 1.3(when talking about distance)

      how far is it to Lima? ¿a qué distancia está Lima?
      • it's 500 miles from here to Detroit Detroit queda / está a 500 millas de aquí
      • it's twenty minutes by train to the airport el aeropuerto queda / está a veinte minutos en tren

  • 2

    • 2.1(when introducing a person, an object)

      look, it was he/they who suggested it mira, fue él quien lo sugirió/fueron ellos quienes lo sugirieron
      • it was me who told them fui yo quien se lo dije / dijo
      • what was it that annoyed him? ¿qué fue lo que lo molestó?

    • 2.2

      had it not been / if it hadn't been for Juan, we would have been killed si no hubiera sido por Juan / de no ser por Juan, nos habríamos matado
      • were it not that she has a family to support … si no fuera porque tiene una familia que mantener …

auxiliary verb am, are, is, was, were, been

  • 1to be -ing

    • 1.1(to describe action in progress)

      (+ gerund) estar
      I am waiting/working estoy esperando/trabajando
      • I was working until ten o'clock estuve trabajando hasta las diez
      • what was I saying? ¿qué estaba diciendo?
      • she was leaving when … se iba cuando …
      • how long have you been waiting? ¿cuánto (tiempo) hace que esperas?

    • 1.2(to speak of future events)

      he is / will be arriving tomorrow llega mañana
      • when are you seeing her? ¿cuándo la vas a ver / la verás?
      • she'll be staying at the Plaza se va a alojar en el Plaza

  • 2

    • 2.1

      it was built in 1903 se construyó en 1903
      • she was told that … le dijeron / se le dijo que …
      • it is known that … se sabe que …
      • she deserves to be promoted merece que la asciendan
      • are you afraid of being recognized? ¿tienes miedo de que te reconozcan?
      • he demanded that the hostages be released exigió que liberaran a los rehenes / que los rehenes fueran liberados

    • 2.2(when describing a process)

      the mixture is then cooked on a low heat … luego la mezcla se cuece a fuego lento …

  • 3to be to + inf

    • 3.1(to describe events with future reference)

      I'm to be met at the airport by Joe Joe me irá a buscar al aeropuerto
      • are we never to know the truth? ¿es que no sabremos nunca la verdad?
      • the dessert is (still) to come todavía falta el postre
      • she was to die in poverty moriría en la pobreza
      • if a solution is to be found … si se quiere encontrar / si se ha de encontrar una solución …
      • the plane was to have landed at Cairo el avión debería haber aterrizado en El Cairo

    • 3.2(when expressing possibility)

      is she to be trusted? ¿se puede confiar en ella?
      • what are we to do? ¿qué podemos hacer?
      • what's to stop you making a complaint? ¿qué te impide reclamar?
      • he wasn't to know no tenía cómo saberlo
      • it was nowhere to be found no se lo pudo encontrar por ninguna parte

    • 3.3(when expressing obligation)

      (+ infinitive) deber
      (+ infinitive) tener que
      (+ infinitive) haber de
      tell her she's to stay here dile que debe quedarse / tiene que quedarse aquí
      • you are not to tell Carol! ¡no debes decírselo a Carol!
      • what am I to make of this? ¿cómo se supone que debo interpretar esto?
      • am I to understand that … ? ¿debo entender que … ?
      • she is to be admired es digna de admiración
      • they are to be congratulated on … hay que felicitarlos por …
      • I'm not to be disturbed! ¡que nadie me moleste!

  • 4

    (in hypotheses)
    what would happen if she were / was to die? ¿qué pasaría si ella muriera?
    • were he to refuse … si se negara …
  • 5

    • 5.1(in tag questions)

      she's right, isn't she? tiene razón, ¿no? / ¿verdad? / ¿no es cierto?
      • Jack isn't tired, are you, Jack? Jack no está cansado, ¿no es cierto / verdad, Jack?
      • so that's what you think, is it? de manera que eso es lo que piensas

    • 5.2(in elliptical uses)

      are you disappointed? — yes, I am/no, I'm not ¿estás desilusionado? — sí (, lo estoy)/no (, no lo estoy)
      • isn't this scenery wonderful? — it certainly is! ¿no es maravilloso este paisaje? — sí, realmente
      • she was told the news, and so was he/but I wasn't a ella le dieron la noticia, y también a él/pero a mí no
      • I'm surprised, are/aren't you? estoy sorprendido, ¿y tú?/¿tú no?
      • it's me! — I guessed it was! ¡soy yo! — ¡ya me lo imaginaba!