I'm sorry, I didn't find any explanations with the search feature, among the thread titles for the ser/estar feliz, so it was probably already answered, but it seems impossible to find. But, also, I would need more details.

"Ser feliz" is the recommended form, according to what I read in several forums.
For instance, this one: https://cvc.cervantes.es/foros/leer_asunto1.asp?vCodigo=37186

But, it's not clear if "estar feliz" is only a figure of speech, in some novels, or if it's as correct as "ser feliz".

Could it change depending on who is writing, and if they want to imply the permanency or not? Could it change depending on the dialect of the area? Or depending to the context?

Why "to be happy" is considered something inherent? Maybe it makes sense in Spanish, but in my own language, it doesn't, unless translating "happy" with something like "good tempered".

It's necessary to ask also here about the difference in the meaning and connotations with "contento", as it seems that "contento" is the same than "feliz" but in a more impermanent way? Like being happy or pleased of something?

Is that a possible explanation?


3 Answers 3


I wouldn't follow Jorge Bucay's definition of "ser feliz" and "estar feliz": he is far from being a good writer, a good psychologist, or even a good person. He has been accused of plagiarism countless times.

We can say both:

  • Soy feliz.


  • Estoy feliz.

to mean: I am/feel happy (more or less durative).

If you want to assert that happiness is your usual state of mind, then you should say:

  • Soy una persona / un hombre / una mujer feliz.

"Estoy contento" ("soy contento" is wrong) is only used to refer to a temporary state of happiness, sometimes short-lived.


Ser/estar usually means only one verb in other languages. But in Spanish, there is a difference between ser and estar, even if both of them are translated the same.

Estoy contento: now I am happy (with my doings), right now, I am happy, but it does not mean that this is a regular thing. eres feliz. you are happy, period, nothing else than being happy, you are usually happy

Eres bueno: you are good (a good person) Estás bueno: you have a sexy body.

I am sure that there are more meanings and differences between those verbs, but for now, that will do


Unless the rules have changed over the decades, the answer has more to do with the word "feliz." According to Zenia Sachs Da Silva's A Concept Approach to Spanish, "feliz" is a characteristic, not a condition (conditions such as being happy about or content with something); hence, soy estoy alegre, estoy contento(a), but soy feliz.

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