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Ser y estar a ritmo de tango

Posted by Alvaro under: Resources

We’re aware of the many headaches the difference between ser and estar gives every year to teachers and learners. It’s a difficult topic, and we understand the frustration it causes in the Spanish class. That’s why we’ve decided to approach this issue with a different perspective, away from traditional drills and endless explanations. We want to make it fun and engaging, and to achieve this goal, we’ve decided to mix it with one of the most exciting dances of the world: the tango.
The result is our new 3-episode series: Ser y estar a ritmo de tango:


Episode 1: Catalina es muy impuntual. This first episode covers the main uses of ser and estar, providing lots of examples about how to:

  • use ser for permanent characteristics (Virginia es una chica muy simpática); possession and the relationship between people (Catalina es la mejor amiga de Mar); occupation and origin (Mar es argentina); and telling the time and date (Son las 6:15).
  • Use estar for the state or condition that objects are (Los restaurantes argentinos están vacíos); location (Mar está enfrente de un teatro); moods or how people feel (Virginia está contenta); and to form the present continuous (Mar está tomando mate y mirando internet).

Episode 2: Carlos está malo. In this episode your students will learn the different meanings some adjectives -aburrido, bueno, listo, malo, nervioso, rico and seguro- have when they are preceded by ser or estar. You can watch the whole episode in the trial version of our Campus. Just click here and enter bablingua in the password field.

Episodio 3: El Nuevo espectáculo es muy bueno. A review of all the uses of ser and estar, and an opportunity to listen to a beautiful Argentinian song (Volver, by Carlos Gardel).

Each episode includes a PDF document with activities and an audio file. The activities are organized following this structure:

  • An introduction exercise, to present the series (Episode 1) or review what your students have already learnt (Episodes 2 and 3).
  • Some pre-building activities that cover the main grammar and vocabulary, and will prepare your students to understand the video.
  • Several exercises to do while watching the video.
  • A review activity.

The three videos (which feature optional subtitles in Spanish), the audio files and the PDF documents with the activities, transcripts and answer key are available in the icebreaker section of this site.

We think the best ending for this series is to learn the most important facts about this dance, and the basic steps to do the basic tango move. You’ll find all that, and examples of the most common estar expressions, in Aprende a bailar tango.