Spanish-phrasal-verbs

32 Common Spanish Phrasal Verbs and How to Use Them [With Quiz]

Phrasal verbs are an essential part of grammar. 

We have many in English (sit down, get up, take off, etc.), and the Spanish language is full of them as well. 

In this post, you’ll learn 32 common Spanish phrasal verbs and how to use them.

These are sure to come in handy in your everyday Spanish conversations, writing and more. 

Plus, understanding what they mean will greatly help your comprehension, as many of their meanings differ greatly from the main verb on its own. 

Contents


What Are Phrasal Verbs?

Phrasal verbs in English are phrases made up of a verb and a preposition or adverb. They mean something different than the verb on its own. For example, “get up” means something very different than just “get” in English. 

In Spanish, phrasal verbs are made up of a verb followed by one or more preposition (such as de, con, en and a). These verb/preposition combinations convey specific meanings. Without the preposition, the intended meaning of the sentence or phrase is lost. 

Take for example the Spanish verb contar, which means “to count.” When you add the preposition con, it means something slightly different. 

contar (main verb) + con (preposition) = contar con (to count on, to rely on)

Puedes contar conmigo. (You can count on me.)

Another example is tratar de. By itself, tratar means “to treat.” But when combined with the preposition de, it means something else:

tratar + de = tratar de (to try)

Traté de abrir la puerta pero estaba cerrada. (I tried to open the door but it was locked.)

Essential Spanish Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are used all the time in Spanish, and knowing the most common ones will really help improve your comprehension and use of the language. 

If you need a refresher, you can review how to conjugate Spanish verbs so you can use these phrasal verbs properly in any context.

Phrasal verbMeaningExamples
echarse a to begin to, start suddenly to Me eché a reír cuando escuché su chiste. (I burst out laughing when I heard his joke.)
dejar de to fail to, to stop, to neglect to ¡Deja de hacer ruido! Estoy estudiando. (Stop making noise! I'm studying.)
acabar de to have just (finished doing something) Acabo de llegar a casa. (I just got home.)
volver a to return to (doing something) Volví a estudiar cuando tenía 25 años. (I went back to study when I was 25 years old.)
estar para Spain: to be about to

Latin America: to be in the mood for
Estoy para empezar un curso de español. (I’m about to start a Spanish course.)
estar por Spain: to be in favor of

Latin America: to be about to
Me aburre este bar; estoy por ir a una discoteca. (This bar bores me; I say we go to a club.)
pensar de to think of, to have an opinion about ¿Qué piensas de la chica de los tacones azules? (What do you think about the girl with the blue heels?)
pensar en to think about, to direct your thoughts to No puedo dejar de pensar en ti. (I can’t stop thinking about you.)
soñar con to dream about Soñé con bailar con ella toda la noche. (I dreamed about dancing with her all night.)
contar con to rely on, to count on ¿Diego tiene el número? Sabía que podía contar con él. (Diego has the number? I knew I could count on him.)
reírse de to make fun of, to laugh at Mi novia se rió de mí. (My girlfriend laughed at me.)
alegrarse de to be glad to Me alegro de verte. (I’m glad to see you.)
enamorarse de to fall in love with Me enamoré de ella la primera vez que nos conocimos. (I fell in love with her the first time we met.)
casarse con to marry/get married to Ella se casó con su novio de toda la vida. (She married her longtime boyfriend.)
echar de menos to miss Ahora que me ha dejado, la echo de menos más que nunca. (Now that she has left me, I miss her more than ever.)
tratar de to try to Voy a tratar de aprender a tocar la guitarra. (I'm going to try to learn how to play the guitar.)
depender de to depend on El éxito del proyecto depende de nuestra cooperación. (The success of the project depends on our cooperation.)
tener que to have to Tengo que estudiar para el examen de mañana. (I have to study for tomorrow's exam.)
hablar de to talk about Hablemos de nuestro viaje a Grecia. (Let's talk about our trip to Greece.)
encontrarse con to meet up with, to run into Me voy a encontrar con Ana en el café. (I'm going to meet up with Ana at the cafe.)
acostumbrarse a to get used to Me estoy acostumbrando a levantarme temprano. (I'm getting used to waking up early.)
llevar a to lead to Este camino lleva al parque. (This path leads to the park.)
acordarse de to remember Siempre me acuerdo de tu cumpleaños. (I always remember your birthday.)
olvidarse de to forget Me olvidé de comprar pan en la tienda. (I forgot to buy bread at the store.)
quedarse con to keep something (literally, "to remain/stay with") Me quedé con el libro que me prestaste. (I kept the book you lent me.)
quedarse sin to run out of (literally, "to remain/stay without") Nos quedamos sin leche para el desayuno. (We ran out of milk for breakfast.)
dar con to come upon/to find Finalmente, di con la solución al problema. (Finally, I came upon the solution to the problem.)
gastar en to spend (money) on Gastamos mucho en nuestras vacaciones este año. (We spent a lot of money on our vacation this year.)

preocuparse por to worry about No te preocupes por mí, estaré bien. (Don't worry about me, I'll be fine.)
ponerse a to start doing something Me voy a poner a cocinar la cena. (I'm going to start cooking dinner.)
venir a to come to a place Mi abuela viene a visitarnos este fin de semana. (My grandmother is coming to visit us this weekend.)
salir de to leave a place Salimos de casa temprano para no perder el tren. (We left home early so as not to miss the train.)

Quiz on Spanish Phrasal Verbs 

Now that you’ve learned some common phrasal verbs in Spanish, take this quiz to test your knowledge. You can refresh the page to retake the quiz as many times as you’d like! 

0%
What does acostumbrarse a mean?
Correct! Wrong!

Which preposition do you use with depender to mean "to depend on"?
Correct! Wrong!

What does quedarse con mean?
Correct! Wrong!

Which Spanish phrasal verb means "to laugh at"?
Correct! Wrong!

Which preposition do you use with soñar to mean "to dream about"?
Correct! Wrong!

Which Spanish phrasal verb means "to meet up with" or "to run into"?
Correct! Wrong!

What does contar con mean?
Correct! Wrong!

Which Spanish phrasal verb means "to think about"?
Correct! Wrong!

Which preposition do you use with casarse to mean "to marry/get married to"?
Correct! Wrong!

What does ponerse a mean?
Correct! Wrong!

Spanish phrasal verbs quiz
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Congratulations! You've mastered these Spanish phrasal verbs!

 

 

Now that you know the most common Spanish phrasal verbs, it’s time to practice putting them to use.

Focus on two or three each day and write down your own sentences or, even better, use them in conversation.

Soon enough you’ll be using them with confidence and ease!

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