Learn to Talk About Chores in Spanish: It’s More Fun Than Doing the Dishes!
Wouldn’t it be great if we never had to do them?
Instead of spending your evening doing dishes, you could spend it eating a delicious meal at a restaurant.
You could sleep in a boutique hotel every night and never have to make your bed in the morning!
That’s the dream. But unfortunately, it’s not a reality.
Nobody enjoys chores, but we all have to do them.
And we all have to talk about them.
It may not be the most glamorous topic, but learning to talk about chores is one of those little things that takes you out of the realm of basic survival to real communication.
If you’re lucky enough to live with Spanish-speaking roommates, you’ll find that chore vocabulary is essential to a happy home.
And if you get invited to a Spanish speaker’s house, imagine how great it’ll feel when you can offer to help your host wash the dishes.
Read on to learn everything you need to know to talk about chores in Spanish!
Tips for Learning and Practicing Spanish Chore Words
Chores are a big part of daily life. When it comes to language learning, that’s actually a good thing!
It means you’ll have many opportunities to use these vocabulary words.
And the more you use them, the better you’ll remember them.
Here are some things to try.
Use Chore Words Around the House for Fun
This is a great method for those who are learning Spanish independently. You can make signs and label common household items to help you remember what they are. Place them on the vacuum cleaner, the door of the oven or the bottle of dish soap on the kitchen counter.
Begin inserting the chore phrases into conversation around the house whenever possible. (“Don’t worry, Mom! I’m going to hacer la cama right now!”)
Bonus: your family members or roommates may learn a few Spanish chore phrases right along with you.
Play a Game
Do you like to draw? Do you have some friends who also want to practice their Spanish?
Then a game of Pictionary is a perfect way to practice Spanish chore words.
Create a stack of index cards with the chore words written on them. Divide into teams. Then players take turns randomly picking a card and drawing a picture of the phrase on an easel or whiteboard while their team or partner tries to guess the correct Spanish phrase. (No words allowed!) If they guess correctly within the allotted time period (say, two minutes), their team earns a point.
If you don’t especially like drawing, but enjoy drama, you can play a game of Charades instead! It’s similar to Pictionary, except that you have to act out the chore, rather than draw it. (Again, no words allowed.)
Besides getting a good review of the vocabulary, you can create some fun memories.
Use Online Study Sites
There are some excellent websites and apps that give you convenient access to Spanish vocabulary right from your device.
Here are a few tools to get you started:
- This list of household chore vocabulary on SpanishDict.com allows you to practice with flashcards, accompanied with audio to help with pronunciation. It also provides options for multiple-choice or free-response quizzes.
- Studystack.com offers a collection of handy flashcards about Spanish chores. You can even organize the cards as you go along based on those you know and those which need more practice.
- Sporcle has a wide selection of fun timed quizzes on almost any topic, including this quiz on Spanish chore vocabulary. All you have to do is type the correct Spanish phrase for the English terms within the time limit. Keep trying over and over until you get them all.
- Purpose Games also has a fun timed quiz on Spanish chores. Simply match each Spanish phrase with the correct English translation on the opposite column within eight minutes. Besides just the chores themselves, this quiz also allows you to practice using chore words in sentences.
That, of course, is just a tiny selection of the nearly endless internet resources available to help you learn about Spanish chores!
Now that you’re ready to learn, let’s learn some vocabulary and grammar!
Learn to Talk About Chores in Spanish: It’s More Fun Than Doing the Dishes!
Common Spanish Chore Vocabulary
There are a few basic ways to say “chores” in Spanish:
los quehaceres — chores
las tareas domésticas — chores, or housework
And here are some Spanish phrases for the most common household chores:
lavar los platos — to wash the dishes
lavar la ropa — wash the clothes/do the laundry
barrer el suelo— to sweep the floor
cocinar — to cook
limpiar el polvo — to dust
limpiar las ventanas — to clean the windows, wash the windows
arreglar la casa — to tidy the house
sacar la basura — to take out the trash
pasar la aspiradora — to vacuum
planchar la ropa — to iron the clothes
poner la mesa — to set the table
regar las plantas — to water the plants
Chore Phrases that Use Common Irregular Verbs
In addition to the above examples, there are many chore phrases that make use of common Spanish verbs such as hacer (to do/to make), dar (to give) and ir (to go).
All three of these verbs are irregular, so you’ll have to take some extra time to learn their conjugations.
Here are a few of the phrases that use these three common irregular verbs:
hacer la colada — to do the laundry
hacer la cama — to make the bed
hacer la cena — to make dinner
hacer la compra — to do the shopping
ir de compras — to go shopping
ir al banco — to go to the bank
dar de comer a las mascotas — to feed the pets
Using Chore Phrases in a Sentence
What do these chore phrases look like in a sentence?
They’ll change slightly depending on how you use them. Depending on what exactly you’re trying to say, you’ll have to conjugate your verbs in one of a few different ways.
The Present Tense
Use the present simple tense to talk about doing a chore on a regular basis.
Yo paso la aspiradora todos los días.
I vacuum every day.
Yo hago la colada siempre.
I always do the laundry.
To talk about what someone else is doing, use the appropriate present tense ending:
Nosotros sacamos la basura.
We take out the trash.
Mi amigo siempre plancha la ropa.
My friend always irons his clothes.
On the other hand, if you’re talking about a chore that you’re in the process of doing, you’ll use the present progressive, rather than the present simple tense:
Yo estoy sacando la basura ahora.
I’m taking out the trash now.
Ellos todavía están arreglando la casa.
They are still tidying the house.
When verbs are used in the imperative, they tell someone else to do something.
This is very useful when you’re talking about household chores, especially if you don’t feel like doing them!
¡Saca la basura!
Take out the trash!
¡Lava los platos!
Wash the dishes!
Remember, you can use the imperative while still being polite. It’s all about using the right tone and minding your manners:
Mamá, por favor, cocina para nosotros.
Mom, please cook for us.
Verbs are used in their infinitive form (in other words, not changed at all) when they’re used with another verb.
For example, you can use the infinitive verb to talk about chores you like or don’t like, or things you’re going to do in the future.
For example, to talk about likes and dislikes:
Me gusta arreglar la casa.
I like to tidy the house.
No me gusta limpiar las ventanas.
I don’t like to wash the windows.
Le gusta barrer el suelo.
He likes to sweep the floor.
And to talk about future tasks:
Pedro va a dar de comer a las mascotas.
Pedro is going to feed the pets.
Yo voy a poner la mesa.
I am going to set the table.
Yo voy a limpiar el polvo.
I am going to dust.
There are, of course, other verb tenses you might use to talk about chores in Spanish. But these are some of the most common, so they’re a good place to start.
With just a little instruction and practice, you can be well on your way to talking about those pesky but necessary quehaceres.