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Better Call Saul #13

Context: Jimmy sits down and begins to discuss his situation with his brother, Chuck.

Jimmy: As you can see, I’m in a... In a bit of a problem.

Spanish Translation: Como puedes ver, estoy en un... En un pequeño problema.

Our Issue: Ser Vs. Estar, Present Tense

THE LOGIC OF SER & ESTAR:

**********

“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.

**********

Jimmy said “I AM in a bit of a problem” (basically) and the subtitlers went with “estar”. Why? Why didn’t they pick “ser” for this one?

Because Jimmy’s talking about himself here. And when we encounter stressful situations in life (problems) -- those aren’t part of our identity or essence. They’re not part of who we are as humans. They’re just our current state of being.

I won’t say Jimmy’s current problem isn’t a result or consequence of WHO Jimmy is as a person. That would be a different thought though--necessitating a different sentence.

But being in a problem? Currently having a problem? That tells us about Jimmy’s state of being.

Now I WILL say... this sentence in English is weird. “I’m in a bit of a problem” sounds fine in conversation, and it sounded fine when I was watching the show originally. But when I look at it now (and write about it) I just can’t get used to it!

But that’s just how it goes, we talk funny sometimes.

THE WHOLE THING:

Como puedes ver, estoy en un... En un pequeño problema.

= As you are able to see, I am in a... in a small problem.

= As you can see, I’m in a... in a bit of a problem.

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

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