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.
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.
|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!
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!