Estar is the seventeenth most frequently used word in the Spanish language.
Estar is a verb and, to boot, it is irregular (that is to say that it does not follow the normal regular -ar verb formations) and causes no end of trouble to most learners of the Spanish language, especially to maternal English tongue speakers.
So, what’s all the trouble about? To be or not to be, to quote Shakespeare, is the problem. Estar means “to be”. But the attentive to this series of posts and podcasts will know that we have already dealt with a monosyllabic powerhouse verb meaning to be, ser. See post on high frequency word in Spanish number 8 (click here http://wp.me/p3mW5k-3v)
Estar means to be. That definition is simply stated, but flowing from that is a whole grammar book’s worth of scholarly debate. However, for our purposes here, to be will do.
Examples of use:
Madrid está en España – Madrid is in Spain. (Está is indicating geographic position).
Estoy cansado – I am tired (a temporary state – I am not always tired … if this was the case you would say soy cansado)
Well, it is not easy.
Ser or no ser? Estar or no Estar. I’ll leave it there – the discussion could go from grammatical to philosophical.
So, there you have it – estar the seventeenth most common word in the Spanish language.