What is the difference between el "examen fue largo" and "el examen estuvo largo"?

  • What did you investigate so far? Note there are quite a lot of questions/answers on this topic, so doing some research can satisfy your needs. For avid users: Necesitamos una pregunta canónica sobre ser/estar
    – fedorqui
    Sep 13, 2016 at 6:19
  • The question is somewhat incomplete. It lacks a context, and it does not show a previous effort. The more information you provide, the more we will be able to help you. Welcome to Spanish Language!
    – Charlie
    Sep 13, 2016 at 6:31
  • 1
    Spanish people never say "El examen estuvo largo..." that's a incorrect expression
    – user13684
    Sep 15, 2016 at 9:01

3 Answers 3


In the Spanish from Spain the former one is used, while the American Spanish uses the second one. There is no difference but the localization, but el examen estuvo largo sounds weird in Spain, as here largo is a quality, not a state.


"El examen estuvo largo" is a colloquial way of saying "el examen fue largo" in some Latin American regions.

The correct way is "el examen fue largo", but both are accepted. In those regions, "estuvo" is used just like "it was".

  • Thanks for your answer. Could you complete it with some sources for your statement? I wasn't aware that this was just a colloquial form.
    – fedorqui
    Sep 13, 2016 at 20:53
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    @fedorqui The "estuvo largo" is more likely to be said in México
    – JorgeeFG
    Sep 13, 2016 at 21:59
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    In Chile both sentences are identical. "Estuvo largo" is not colloquial, is not wrong, is not uncommon.
    – Rodrigo
    Sep 14, 2016 at 12:30

This really boils down to the difference in

Ser vs Estar

Fue largo el examen

just means... it was a long test

Estuvo largo el examen

means you're telling a story involving this long test. Consider these English differences.


How was the test? It was a long test.


Yesterday, I had to pick up my little sister after taking a test. It was a long test, and I was constantly distracted by the pretty teacher.

The first example is very passive, while the second example really emphasizes the length of the test.

Ayer assistía a mi clase y me sorprendió que hubo un examen. Estuvo un examen largo.

It can also mean that the test was unusually long

  • While this could be a case, in Latin America they use Estuvo largo with the exact same meaning of it was a long test.
    – fedorqui
    Sep 14, 2016 at 6:27

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