Ser Or Ir

Ser and ir are two of the most commonly used verbs in the Spanish language. While they may seem similar, they have different meanings and usage. In this article, we will explore the differences between ser and ir, and offer some tips on how to use them appropriately.


Ser is a verb that is used to describe permanent or lasting characteristics or attributes. It is used to talk about identity, personality, physical appearance, and nationality, among other things. For example, “Soy alta” means “I am tall”. Here, ‘soy’ is the first person present tense of the verb ‘ser’, which means ‘to be’. Let us take a look at some other examples:

– Soy americano – I am American
– Es inteligente – He/she is intelligent
– Somos amigos – We are friends

As you can see, ser is used to describe inherent characteristics about a person, place or thing. The verb does not change with the subject, so whether you are talking about yourself, him/her or them, you will use ‘soy’ or ‘somos’ to indicate your permanent identity.


Ir is a verb that is used to talk about movement or to indicate that someone or something is going somewhere. It is often translated as ‘to go’. For example, “Voy a la tienda” means “I am going to the store”. In this sentence, ‘voy’ is the first person present tense of the verb ‘ir’. Here are a few more examples:

– Van a la playa – They are going to the beach
– ¿Vienes conmigo? – Are you coming with me?
– Va a llover – It’s going to rain

As you can see, ir is used to talk about someone’s immediate or future destinations or planned action. Additionally, this verb needs to agree with the person doing the moving, which means that you will need to use ‘voy’ when talking about yourself, ‘vas’ when talking about someone else, and ‘van’ when referring to a group of people.

The Differences between Ser and Ir

To understand the differences between ser and ir, it is important to consider the context of the sentences where they appear. Ser refers to the intrinsic or inherent characteristics of someone or something while ir describes the movement or action of someone going to a specific location. Ser is used when we want to say who or what someone or something is, while ir is used when we want to explain the destination or movement of someone.

Here are a few examples:

– Soy estudiante de medicina – I am a medical student. (ser)

– Voy a la universidad todos los días – I go to university every day. (ir)

In the first example, the speaker is stating who she is, describing herself as a medical student, a permanent identity. In the second example, the speaker is talking about a constant action of going somewhere – the university that she attends every day.

Another difference between these two verbs is the way they are conjugated in Spanish. Ser is not affected by the subject, meaning you will use the same form of the verb regardless of who or what you are referring to.

In contrast, ir needs to be conjugated to match the subject of the sentence. The verb form ‘voy’ is used to denote the first person singular, while for the second and third person, the verb forms ‘vas’ and ‘van’, respectively, are used.


1. Can ser and ir be used interchangeably?

No, they cannot be used interchangeably. Ser is used to indicate permanent or lasting characteristics, while ir is used to describe movement or going somewhere.

2. Are ser and ir always used in the present tense?

No, ser and ir are not always used in the present tense. Depending on the context and sentence structure, they can be conjugated in different tenses, such as the past, future, or conditional.

3. Can we use the verb ‘ir’ to talk about past movements?

Yes, ir can be used to talk about past movements when it is conjugated in the past tense. For example, “Fui a la fiesta ayer” means “I went to the party yesterday”.

4. Can the verb ‘ser’ be used for temporary characteristics?

No, ser is used to describe permanent or long-lasting characteristics, such as identity, nationality, and physical appearance. For temporary characteristics, we can use other verbs, such as estar or sentir.

In conclusion, ser and ir, despite their similarity in spelling, have different meanings and usage. Knowing how and when to use them appropriately is essential to using the Spanish language correctly.