12 Ways to Say “I Love You” in Spanish Beyond Te Quiero

In Spanish, there are many ways to say “I love you.”

In fact, there are several terms of endearment that can be used to express affection, but which you use depends on the situation and how close you are to someone.

Let’s look at the options for expressing love in Spanish!


How to Say “I Love You” in Spanish

1. Te quiero — I love you

This phrase literally means “I want you,” but is actually a cute way to say “I love you” or “I like you.”

It doesn’t come off as strong as phrases like te amo (also meaning “I love you,” which we’ll talk about below), making it the perfect one to use with a girlfriend or boyfriend, crush, friends and family and other relationships that aren’t super serious.

You can also add mucho or muchísimo at the end of the phrase to mean “I love you a lot.”

Mamá, me voy. ¡Te quiero! — Mom, I’m leaving. I love you!

2. Te amo — I love you

As mentioned earlier, te amo is stronger than te quiero. It means “I love you” literally and when used in real life. Typically you’d use this phrase with people you’re in a steady relationship with or with immediate family members. 

It is, however, used slightly differently in different countries—in some places it’s used mostly to refer to romantic love, in others you’ll see fresh couples using it, and in others you’ll see that it’s also commonly used with family. 

I guess it’s similar to “I love you” in English: Its use is pretty subjective! 

Like te quiero, you can also add mucho or muchísimo at the end of te amo.

Te amo mucho, mi querida. — I love you so much, my darling.

You can see our comparison te quiero or te amo further down in the post.

3. Eres mi media naranja — You are my half orange

The literal translation on this one doesn’t seem especially romantic, but when someone says Eres mi media naranja, they’re actually saying “You’re my other half.”

In other words, this expression says that the other person completes you or that you make a whole together.

4. Te quiero tanto — I love you so much

This is a variation of te quiero that’s tender and loving.

A fabulously popular song by Carlos Vives and Shakira called La Bicicleta” (“The Bicycle”) makes good use of the expression with the lyrics:

Que te sueño y que te quiero tanto — How I dream of you and I love you so much

5. Te adoro — I adore you

This declaration of love is used not only by lovers but by parents toward their children as well.

I’ve seen many madres (mothers) pull their babies onto their laps and croon, Te adoro.

6. Te necesito — I need you

Te necesito is also the title of a popular song by Mexican singer Luis Miguel. It’s hot and steamy—exactly how you’d expect this declaration to be portrayed.

There are lots of beautifully romantic Spanish songs, not just this one. Check some out for even more learning opportunities!

7. Me vuelves loco — You drive me crazy

Have you ever seen someone driven to distraction by another person’s quirky ways or their silly antics? This is the expression that covers that kind of relationship!

This phrase has another meaning that’s a bit steamier when whispered behind closed doors.

8. Eres mi alma gemela — You are my soulmate

The idea of being someone’s soul mate is ¡Muy romántico! (Very romantic!)

9. Mi corazón late por ti — My heart beats for you

This is one of the ultimate Spanish declarations of love, an admission that one person is alive because their heart beats from loving another so much.

10. Este corazón es tuyo — This heart is yours

Another declaration of undying love.

Definitely don’t expect to hear this one on a first—or even a 10th!—date.

11. La vida estaría vacía sin ti — Life would be empty without you

This may be one of the most definitive expressions of love in Spanish (and any language).

Professing that an entire life would be devoid of meaning and purpose without another person? Spanish really does go big on sincere declarations of love.

12. Te amo más hoy que ayer pero menos que mañana — I love you more today than yesterday but less than tomorrow

This is super romantic, isn’t it?

Wouldn’t you melt if someone special murmured this expression to you?

The Difference Between Te Quiero and Te Amo

The most important thing to remember is that these terms are not always interchangeable—or suitable for everyone on your love list.

In Spanish-speaking cultures, the degree of familiarity or affection determines how you express love.

Let’s cover when to use each expression:

  • Te quiero is used among family members and friends. It’s the less “serious” expression that’s also safe to say when you’re just dating someone. It’s perfect for uncommitted relationships!
  • Te quiero is also used between lovers in a different way—in a private setting, if you catch my drift…
  • Te amo encompasses romantic love and is expressed between couples. Depending on the country, it’s the heavy-duty, no-holds-barred way to state your love for someone. 
  • Te amo can also be used with close family members, however again, this differs from country to country!

Making the differences between te quiero and te amo come naturally to you is a matter of immersing yourself in Spanish.

Luckily, you can do this online now thanks to technology.

For example, FluentU lets you learn Spanish words, grammar and colloquialisms—like te quiero and te amo—through authentic Spanish videos and interactive subtitles.

You can watch clips from telenovelas where you’ll hear extra dramatic expressions of love (and hatred). And when you come across words you don’t know, just click on them to get definitions, examples and automatic addition to your flashcard deck.


There’s also pronunciation practice on the iOS and Android app, so you can perfect te quiero or te amo before using it on your pareja (partner).

Spanish Terms of Endearment for Partners

You’ll often hear terms of endearment attached to phrases that mean “I love you” in Spanish, just as you would in English.

Here are five of some of the most common ones:

1. Mi corazón — Sweetheart

¿Cómo estuvo tu día, mi corazón? — How was your day, sweetheart?

2. Mi amor — My love

¿Qué quieres comer, mi amor? — What do you want to eat, my love?

3. Mi vida — My life

Siempre estoy aquí para ti, mi vida. — I am always here for you, my love.

4. Querido / Querida — Darling, dear

Te extraño mucho, querido. — I miss you so much, darling.

5. Mi cielito — My little sky

Mi cielito, te ves tan bonita. — My little sky, you look so pretty.


For a full list of cute names you can use for your partner, check out our post here:


Spanish is a beautifully romantic language with many ways to express almost any degree of love for nearly anyone.

Use that versatility to your advantage and appreciate your family, friends or romantic partner.

Show the love like a true Latin lover—and watch it come back to you!

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