There are process (ser) and status (estar) passive forms. I do not quite catch the difference in meaning and translations:

La casa es vendida
La casa fue vendida el mes pasado
La casa está vendida
La casa estuvo vendida
La casa estaba vendida

if the last sentences make sence?

  • 3
    I think only the first and the second sentences are actually passive forms.
    – rafabayona
    May 28, 2014 at 15:19

2 Answers 2


Nomenclatures differ, but, generally: The passive voice is "ser" + participle. The the passive meaning is obtained using the passive voice, the passive "se", the passive third-person plural, the passive "tú", and by shifting the object to the head of the sentence. But to avoid writing a book, I'll stick with "ser" + participle and "estar" + participle. Generally, "ser" + participle describes an action, while "estar" + participle describes the state that results from the action.

La casa es vendida a menudo.
The house is sold a lot.  [habitual action]

La casa fue vendida el mes pasado.
The house was sold last month.  [past action]

¡La casa por fin está vendida!
The house is finally sold!  [It was on the market for months.]

La casa estuvo vendida.
[This case is a bit odd and I'll pass over it.]

La casa estaba vendida.
The house was sold.

In the last example, I walked by the house yesterday and the "FOR SALE" sign had a "SOLD!" banner taped to it, indicating the new state of the house. I have no idea when the sale happened.

Notice, by the way, that there is no "estar" passive meaning. In the above examples, "estar" functions in its usual way, and "vendida" functions purely as an adjective.

  • thank you! are you sure about 1st sentence: "La casa es vendida" is the process passive translating to: "The house is currently on sale" or "The house is being sold" Present Continuous Jun 16, 2014 at 13:13
  • I did indeed focus on "vender" as a selling action, for the purpose of discussing "ser" + participle and "estar" + participle. I thoughtlessly overlooked the state of having something for sale. My apologies. FWIW, the classic sign for having something for sale is simply "SE VENDE" or, from a short comic story, "AQUÍ SE VENDE PESCADO FRESCO".
    – Greg Weeks
    Jun 16, 2014 at 14:53
  • La casa es vendida.

This would be the standard passive voice in present tense. If there is no explicit agent, it is more common to use the passive reflex form:

La casa se vende.

But it's ok to say:

La casa es vendida por sus dueños.

  • La casa fue vendida el mes pasado.

Standard passive voice in past tense, totally ok. You can also say:

La casa se vendió el mes pasado.

  • La casa está vendida.

This may happen during the process of selling a house: you see an ad for the house, call the real estate agent and they respond with this phrase, meaning that there is already a buyer for it. Note that this is not passive voice, but a state of the house. Buying a house is usually a lengthy process. Once it's finished, it would be more appropriate to say:

La casa ya se vendió.


La casa ya fue vendida.

  • La casa estuvo vendida.

This can be used when there was a buyer for the house, but the sale failed for some reason:

La casa estuvo vendida, pero el comprador tuvo un problema de salud y la operación no se concretó. Ahora está en venta nuevamente.

  • La casa estaba vendida.

You are telling something that happened when La casa está vendida was true. For instance:

Me dijeron que la casa estaba vendida, pero pedí verla igual por si el comprador se arrepentía.


La casa estaba vendida, pero hice una oferta superior y me la terminaron dando a mí.

  • are you sure about estar passive form? it is the status not the process as with ser. La casa es vendida = the house is being sold (the process). La casa está vendida = the house has been sold (the state) learn-spanish-online.de/grammar/… Mainly I was wondering about the past tense difference May 28, 2014 at 10:35
  • La casa es vendida is not commonly used and it is difficult to assign it a meaning. La casa se vende = The house is on sale. La casa está vendida = The house is sold. La casa fue vendida = The house has been sold. estar + participle is not a passive form.
    – rsanchez
    May 28, 2014 at 11:10
  • @rsanchez, a possible use for La case es vendida would be in a sentence La casa es vendida por algún agente although even there I'd strongly prefer it in progressive: La case está siendo vendida por algún agente. Jun 24, 2014 at 21:18
  • @guifa yes, I put as an example la casa es vendida por sus dueños. What I meant is that la casa es vendida by itself is not meaningful, you need to add some complement.
    – rsanchez
    Jun 24, 2014 at 21:30

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