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Better Call Saul #12

Context: This is a flashback to Chuck visiting his brother (Jimmy) in jail. They are obviously much younger. This is what Jimmy says when he enters the room in which Chuck is waiting for him.

Jimmy: Here’s Johnny.

Spanish Translation: Aquí está Johnny.

Our Issue: Ser Vs. Estar, Present Tense

THE LOGIC OF SER & ESTAR:

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“Ser” refers to stuff that’s part of somebody or something’s IDENTITY or ESSENCE.

“Estar” refers to stuff that’s part of somebody or something’s STATE OF BEING.

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Jimmy is imitating Ed McMahon from the Johnny Carson Show, a classic late-night TV show in the USA over many decades (including the 80’s, when this show is set).

So “Here’s Johnny” really means “Here’s Jimmy”. Oh, Jimmy.

“Here IS Jimmy”. Why did they use “estar” for this one, not “ser”?

Because Jimmy being there has nothing do with who he is as a person. Jimmy’s location (and location in general) is one of the most common uses of “estar”.

Something or somebody’s location is part of their STATE OF BEING--not their identity or essence.

This sentence tells us nothing of Jimmy's identity or essence. It simply tells where Jimmy is geographically located at that moment.

THE WHOLE THING:

Aquí está Johnny.
= Here is Johnny.
= Here’s Johnny.

Any questions? About this issue or any others? Ask away!

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