Be Good. Sã© Bueno. Seas Bueno. Ser Bueno. Eres Bueno. – Be Good. Sã© Bueno. Seas Bueno. Ser Bueno. Eres Bueno.

In this entry, we will learn the difference between
used with the verbs
estar. They have different meanings depending on the
they are used with.

Choose the one you have trouble with:

-Ser bueno/malo

-Ser bien/mal

-Estar bueno/malo

-Estar bien/mal

☆Ser bueno/malo

Used with actions:




are adjectives; therefore, they are used to describe something. Also, the verb

is related to the word “permanent”. So, we can say that

ser bueno/malo

is a “permanent description” or a general idea that may not change easily.

Let’s make it easier with examples:

– Ayudar es bueno.

Ayudar = Action
Es = Verb
Bueno = Adjective

Helping is good.

– Robar es malo.

Robar = Action
Es = Verb
Malo = Adjective

Stealing is bad.

If you are wondering why they are “permanent descriptions”, it is because “helping”,
as a general idea, is a good thing and it won’t be bad tomorrow all of a sudden. If someone thinks that,
as a general idea, helping is bad, they can say

ayudar es malo
and it would also be ok.

More examples:

Es bueno
que te gusten los perros, pero no que tengas tantos en casa.
It’s good
that you like dogs, but it isn’t if you want to keep too many at home.

-Yo creo que tener dinero
es bueno

siempre y cuando ayudes a los demás.
– I think having money
is good

as long as you help others.

Used with people and things:

Read:   Which Event Best Illustrates the Monster's Good Side

The explanation to use

ser bueno


ser malo

towards people is the same as above. You are describing how the personality of someone is.

– Pedro
es bueno. (You are describing Pedro as a
good person.)

– Las personas que roban
son malas. (As a general idea, people who steal,
are bad)

You can also use

ser bueno/malo

to mean “to be good/bad at”, as follows:

– Soy bueno
– I am good
at swiming
– Ese niño es malo
– That boy is bad
at reading.



with nouns.

– Soy bueno
en ajedrez.

– I’m good
at chess.

– Soy malo
en matemáticas.

– I’m bad
at math.

☆Ser bien/mal

I have good news for you, this is very easy because we

ser bien
ser mal.

☒ Yo soy bien.
☒ Pelear es mal.
☒ Caminar es bien

☑ Yo soy bueno.
☑ Pelear es malo.
☑ Caminar es bueno.

However, I want to make some clarification.

You may come across with sentences like “soy bien
inteligente”, or “soy mal
jugador” which are correct. But if you look carefully, you might notice that both of them need a complement to work; so, if I take
out from the sentences, they will make no sense.

– Soy bien. (¿?)
– Soy mal.  (¿?)

This is because
is working as an adverb (and
as an adjective) meaning “very”. On the other hand,

soy mal jugador

just means

soy un jugador mal


can be before a noun but the spelling changes, “mal” when it is masculine, and “mala” when it is feminine.

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– Él es
– Ella es
– Él es un jugador
– Ella es una jugadora

(He/she is a bad player.)

 Ther have the exact same meaning, but as a native speaker of Spanish, I prefer to say

mal jugador


mala jugadora

because it sounds better.

☆Estar bueno/malo

Used with actions:

This expression is not used with actions:

☒ Caminar está bueno.

☒ Gritar está malo.

Used with people:

Estar bueno/a

has a totally different meaning from the ones seen above when it is used towards people. This means “to be attractive” with a
sexual nuance. Also, it sounds a bit slangy, so it is usually used when you are with closer friends
of the same gender.

– ¿Cómo te parece ese chico?
Está bueno, ¿no?
– What do you think about that guy. He’s hot, huh?

– Esa niña me tiene loco. ¡Está muy buena!
– That girl drives me crazy. She’s so hot!

We just seen

estar bueno/a
, but how about

estar malo/a
? Does it mean “not attractive”?

Estar malo/a

does not mean “not attractive”, it just means “to be sick” or “not feel good”, but it is

– Llamé a Tom, pero me dijo que
está malo, creeo que no irá a la fiesta.
– I called Tom but he said he doesn’t feel good, so I think he won’t go to the party.

Estar bien/mal

Used with actions:


estar bien/mal

means the same as

ser bueno/malo

when it is used with actions. Do you remember the first two images of this post?

Read:   Which One of the Following Fragments is a Prepositional Phrase

Ayudar es bueno – Ayudar está bien

 Robar es malo – Robar está mal

Used with people:

When you learn basic Spanish, you learn greetings, don’t you?

Estar bien/mal

is used to answer the “How are you?” question when you meet someone.

¿Cómo estás?
– (Estoy) bien, gracias.

How are you?
– (I’m) fine, thank you.

Used with things:

When you use it towards things, it means, “to (not) be ok” or “(not) correct“.

– Tu respuesta está mal.
– Your answer is wrong.

– ¿Está bien?
– Is this ok?


I hope you find this useful. Share and comment if you liked it.

Be Good. Sã© Bueno. Seas Bueno. Ser Bueno. Eres Bueno.


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