Translation of be in Spanish:

be

Pronunciation /bi//biː/

intransitive verb

  • 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 está casado/divorciado/soltero Spain
      • 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)

      ser
      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)

      tener
      how old are you? ¿qué edad 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 literary
      • 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)

      ser
      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)
    estar
    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)

      estar
      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! ironic informal


impersonal verb

  • 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 reinaba el caos en la estación

    • 1.2(in expressions of time)

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

    • 1.3(when talking about distance)

      estar
      how far is it to Lima? ¿a qué distancia está Lima?
      • it's 500 miles from here to Detroit hay 500 millas de aquí a Detroit
      • 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)

      ser
      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

      ser
      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

  • 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) llevas esperando?

    • 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

      ser
      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 se quede 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 … se merecen que se los felicite 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 … en el caso de que 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!