Speaking About Love In Spanish

Let's talk about love, that universal emotion, in Spanish. It is probably the most common theme in Spanish soap operas or telenovelas and popular songs.

And, who knows, you might find yourself in a romantic situation where you certainly don't want to say the wrong thing in Spanish. Here's a guide to navigating this linguistic minefield. Let's start right off with that most important expression, "I love you" in Spanish:

Te quiero

So the key verb here is querer. Here are some more examples:

A Juan lo quiero mucho (I love Juan a lot)
Nosotros nos queremos mucho (We love each other a lot)
Ella no me quiere (She doesn't love me)

In English, of course, "to love" has many different uses. One can say things like:

I love Chinese food.
My parents love to dance.
We'd love to have you over for dinner sometime.

We can also make the distinction between "like" and "love", as in:

I like him but I don't love him.

In Spanish all these distinctions can be easily made, but one has to pay attention to the choice of words. We have to be careful with the verb querer because in Spanish it is also used in the sense of "want", as in.

Quiero comer, que tengo hambre (I want to eat, I'm hungry)
Quieren saber el precio (They want to know the price)
No quiere salir hoy (She doesn't want to go out today)
Quiero que sepas toda la verdad (I want you to know the whole truth)

In passing, be aware that la querida refers to the mistress or female lover. If you want to say things like "love Chinese food" or "love to play golf", you would not use querer. Instead, use verbs like gustar or encantar, as in:

Me encanta la comida francesa (I love French food)
A mis padres les gusta mucho bailar (My parents love to dance) In English next to "love" we have "like". For this verb in Spanish you could also use gustar most of the time.

But speaking specifically of people, a common verb is caer, as in:

Este professor me cae bien (I really like this teacher)
Es muy bella pero no me cae bien (She is very pretty but rubs me the wrong way)

Here is a useful construction:

Juan me cae bien pero no lo quiero (I like Juan but I don't love him)

Although querer is the most common verb for expressing love in Spanish, the verb for falling in love is enamorarse. This is derived from the noun el amor "love" that you will see and hear often in soap operas, movies and songs. Amor is also used a lot in the sense of "darling", "sweetheart" or "honey" as in:

Hola mi amor (Hi sweetie)

There is the related verb amar that refers specifically to romantic love. It is used in situations where querer might be too ambiguous. Typically, you will see it in titles of books and movies, as in:

Amar en los tiempos modernos (Love in modern times)

When used when referring to persons, it is very strong, as in: Te amo (I really love you) You will also see the verb adorar that is used pretty much like its English counterpart "to adore."

Finally, whereas in English "Love you" or "Love ya" is used a lot at the end of telephone conversations with close friends, relatives or even in interviews with celebrities, the Spanish equivalent is often un abrazo or un abrazo muy fuerte. Another common form us un beso (a kiss) to which the usual response is otro para ti (another for you). . (First publishd by articles@ezine )