No está mal

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mancunienne girl

Senior Member
English - England
Moderator's note
Split from another thread
Bevj


Could anyone explain why "estar" is used to describe a noun as being "not bad", as in the above example? Usually when nouns are described the verb ser is used, but it appears you can say "la película no está mal". This being the case could you use "no está mal" to describe ANY noun?
 
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  • nanel

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    I'm intrigued by your question, mancunienne girl. Could you give us an example of "no está mal" used to describe a different noun? I'd like to know what you have in mind.

    In general, "estar" is temporary/changeable and "ser" more definite/unchangeable:

    - La película no está mal: the movie was okay/it wasn't bad. You're talking about your thoughts on the movie.
    - La película no es mala: The movie isn't bad. You're talking quality.

    - El arroz está bien: it's okay, there's nothing wrong with it.
    - El arroz es bueno: it's good quality rice.

    An example that I always think of in these cases:

    - ¡Qué alto es Pepito! - Pepito is a tall person, and I'm surprised by his height.
    - ¡Qué alto está Pepito! - I haven't seen him in a while and I'm surprised to see how much he's grown. He may not be that tall, he just feels tall to me because I remember him being shorter, as he was last time I saw him.

    I hope this helps :)
     

    mancunienne girl

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I do understand the temporary nature of "estar" and the permanent nature of "ser" for descriptions, but I suppose it is the nuances that occasionally can be questionable. If a kid is giving his/her opinion on a school subject, for instance, I am guessing that they would say "el
    inglés no está mal", In English, by OK we mean neither good nor bad - that we don't enthuse about something but that it's not great either.
     

    nanel

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    If a kid is giving his/her opinion on a school subject, for instance, I am guessing that they would say "el
    inglés no está mal"
    With a school subject they would actually say "(la asignatura de) inglés no está mal". If they said "el inglés no está mal", they would be talking about the English language. But, back to ser and estar, you're right that the right verb here would be "estar". If we used "ser", we would be talking about how bad, as in being evil, this subject is.

    In English, by OK we mean neither good nor bad - that we don't enthuse about something but that it's not great either.
    "No está mal" is somewhat similar but, because we use the word "mal", it has a slightly negative tone.
     

    gato radioso

    Senior Member
    spanish-spain
    Moderator's note
    Split from another thread
    Bevj


    Could anyone explain why "estar" is used to describe a noun as being "not bad", as in the above example? Usually when nouns are described the verb ser is used, but it appears you can say "la película no está mal". This being the case could you use "no está mal" to describe ANY noun?
    Mind that the difference between ser/estar isn´t just the permanent/transitory dichotomy, but also if you make a general statement about something that needs no adittional prove, or, on the other hand, you are saying something that has to be previously tested by someone.

    E.g.:
    El cielo es azul (a general statement, that is its natural color)
    El cielo está azul (because you´ve come near a window to look out, ten minutes ago it was grey and cloudy)
    E.g.:
    La sopa es un alimento
    La sopa está fría
    E.g.:
    La película no es mala (that´s a general statement, everybody -public and critics- have always said so for years, you don´t need to have seen it previously to say this)
    La película no está mal (it´s your personal experience, you´ve just gone to the cinema to see that film. It wasn´t great but it was more or less up to your expectations)
     
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    Magazine

    Senior Member
    Español-España.


    Could anyone explain why "estar" is used to describe a noun as being "not bad", as in the above example? Usually when nouns are described the verb ser is used, but it appears you can say "la película no está mal". This being the case could you use "no está mal" to describe ANY noun?
    Hi mancunienne, please let us know what the above example was, as we can't guess what you mean (it appears the example above was deleted)
     

    Doraemon-

    Senior Member
    "Spanish - Spain" "Catalan - Valencia"
    La película no está mal o la película no es mala.
    La diferencia es prácticamente nula, a fin de cuentas, pero en un caso proviene de tu impresión al verla (por tanto con "estar", como la comida concreta que te estás comiendo, y si te gusta o no), y en el otro de una descripción inherente a la película (es buena o es mala por sí misma, como las verduras, que son buenas aunque no te gusten).
    Si un cinéfilo muy técnico defendiera que una película es buena aunque no te guste ni a ti, ni a él ni a nadie, se podría incluso decir "la película no está mal, es entretenida, pero es una mala película", aunque para la mayor parte de la gente serían lo mismo en este caso, "ser mala" y "estar mal", aunque realmente provienen de un matiz o un significado diferente, según uses "ser" o "estar".
     
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    gato radioso

    Senior Member
    spanish-spain
    Donde dije digo, digo Diego..... :)
    En mi post #5, la frase correcta seria: "No additional proof...."
    Gracias
     
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