feelings in spanish

50 Useful Ways to Describe Feelings in Spanish

Are you sick of expressing all of your opinions through (yes) and no (no), smiles, and grunts when talking with Spanish speakers?

Though Spanish is an expressive language, describing your feelings as a beginner or intermediate learner can be frustrating.

In this post, you’ll learn 50 phrases to express emotions—from happiness to sadness and anger to surprise—so you can easily talk about your feelings in Spanish.



How To Talk About Feelings in Spanish

Names of Feelings in Spanish

We’ll start by going over some of the names of feelings—otherwise known as nouns. These words are nouns because they don’t describe a state or feeling, they are a state or feeling.

They’re super useful to learn on your journey to expressing yourself in Spanish, so let’s have a look:

Positive Emotions

Negative Emotions

Verbs To Talk About Feelings 

In English, we use one verb to describe the way we feel: “to be.” For example, “I am sad,” “you are happy,” “he is thirsty.”

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But in Spanish, we use several words—primarily estar (to be), sentirse (to feel), dar (to give) and tener (to have).

The verb estar is used with adjectives.

This is similar to how we use “to be” in English when describing feelings.

Estoy alegre porque mañana es mi cumpleaños.
(I’m happy because tomorrow is my birthday.)

Ella está deprimida porque su novio rompió con ella.
(She’s depressed because her boyfriend broke up with her.)

Use sentirse as we’d use “to feel” in English.

For example:

Siempre me siento cansado porque trabajo por las noches.
(I always feel tired because I work nights.)

Se siente enfermo, así que vamos al consultorio médico.
(He feels sick, so we’re going to the doctor’s office.)

Use tener for feelings that are nouns.

You might have noticed that tener is used for feelings like “thirsty” and “hungry.” This is because these feelings are considered nouns in Spanish, whereas they’re adjectives in English.

For feelings that are nouns, we use tener.

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Tengo hambre porque debí haber desayunado a las 8, pero ya son las 10.
(I’m hungry because I should have eaten breakfast at 8, but now it’s 10.)

Mi prima tiene sueño porque su vuelo aterrizó a las 4 de la mañana.
(My cousin is tired because her flight landed at 4 o’clock in the morning.)

Common feelings phrases that use tener include:

Use dar to describe feelings that are inflicted on you.

Lastly, dar describes feelings that have been “given” to us or “inflicted” upon us.

For example, we say “spiders make me scared” in English, but in Spanish, we’d say “spiders give me fear.”

Me da miedo pensar en la muerte.
(It scares me to think about death.)

Las películas de terror le dan miedo a mi esposo.
(Horror movies scare my husband.)

Nos da vergüenza bailar.
(We feel embarrassed to dance)

Adjective Placement in Spanish

If you’re familiar with Spanish grammar, you probably already know that adjectives usually come after nouns—el vestido rojo (the red dress, literally “the dress red”), la casa blanca (the white house, literally “the house white”) etc.

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But not all feelings are adjectives (as we discovered when using the verbs tener and dar).

And when they are adjectives, they don’t describe nouns. They describe our state of being.

Because of this, feelings always come after the verb. For example:

Estoy cansado (I’m tired)

Me da miedo (It scares me)

Tiene celos (she’s jealous)

Me siento feliz (I feel happy)

Using the Subjunctive With Feelings

The Spanish subjunctive is a mood that most learners study in the upper intermediate stages of learning. It’s commonly used when talking about feelings, as it’s used to express:

  • Impersonal expressions
  • Opinions, emotions or points of view
  • Denial, disagreement or decision
  • Describing situations that are doubtful or unlikely

If you want to brush up on your subjunctive knowledge, you can do that here.

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It’s also important to note that typically, the pattern “verb + que” triggers the subjunctive, such as espero que (I hope that…), deseo que (I wish that…), dudo que… (I doubt that…) etc.

So, if you wish to add more detail to your “feelings” phrases, you’ll most likely need to use que or de que followed by the subjunctive to express yourself!

Let’s look at some examples:

Me molesta que siempre llegue tarde.
It annoys me that he always arrives late.

No importa que no quieras ir, tienes que ir igual.
It doesn’t matter that you don’t want to go, you have to go anyway. 

Estoy feliz de que vengas mañana. 
I’m happy that you’re coming tomorrow.

Common Emotions and Feelings in Spanish

1. Happiness in Spanish

girl jumping with balloons on a beach

Let’s start with some basic phrases and vocabulary to let your Spanish friends know you’re happy. With these basic phrases, you’ll be able to express your satisfaction perfectly fine in any social situation.

We’re also throwing in some colloquial phrases to spice up your speech.

1. Estoy contento — I’m happy

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Literally, “I am content.” You can use contento/a depending on your gender to express general happiness or satisfaction.

Estoy contento de haber encontrado mis llaves.
(I’m happy that I’ve found my keys.)

2. Estoy feliz — I’m happy

Although contento and feliz have similar meanings, feliz implies more enthusiastic or joyful happiness and is less commonly used.

Estoy feliz de haber realizado mis sueños.
(I’m happy that I have accomplished all of my dreams.)

3. Me alegro  — I’m happy, glad

Me alegro comes from the reflexive verb alegrarse (to be happy). It means “I’m happy” or “I’m glad,” frequently used the way that English speakers would say, “I’m happy to hear that.”

Me siento mucho mejor.
(I feel so much better.)

Bien, me alegro.
(Good, I’m happy to hear that.)

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4. Pasárselo pipa — To have a great time

This phrase invokes the pipas (sunflower seeds) so common in Spanish bars, meaning “to have a great time.”

¡Me lo estoy pasando pipa!
(I’m having a great time!)

It also works well in the past tense:

Me lo pasé pipa.
(I had a great time).

5. Flipé, flipé en, flipé con  — To flip out

This phrase is similar to the English “I flipped out,” expressing happiness, awe and enjoyment.

Use the word alone, or get more specific using flipé en (I flipped out on/at/in) or flipé con (I freaked out with).

Flipé en el concierto anoche.
(I flipped out at the concert last night.)

You can also use the verb alucinar (to hallucinate) similarly.

6. ¡Toma! — Yes!

This expression, the command form of the verb tomar (to take), expresses excitement, happiness or triumph.

Use this when your soccer team scores a goal, you get a high grade on your Spanish exam, or you find out the shoes you’ve been dreaming of are finally on sale.

Los zapatos finalmente están a la venta. ¡Toma!
(The shoes are finally on sale. Yes!)

2. Approval in Spanish

girl in a yellow sweater giving thumbs up

Living in Spain, I’ve met a ton of friendly people who are eager to show me all of the cultural, artistic and culinary wonders that their country has to offer.

After every tapa (appetizer, finger food), picturesque village and new Spanish song, they ask me, “So? What do you think?”

If you get tired of the basic phrases, you can also mix it up with some advanced colloquial expressions later on in the list.

7. Me gusta — I like

Me gusta (I like it) is incredibly useful for Spanish speakers. If you don’t know how to use this verb completely yet, check out how to use gustar.

Remember to use me gustan (with the n) when you’re talking about more than one thing.

Me gusta la película.
(I like the movie. / lit. The movie pleases me.)

Me gustan las películas.
(I like the movies. / lit. The movies please me.)

8. Me encanta — I love

The verb encantar is similar to the verb gustar. Although encantar directly translates to “to enchant,” it’s actually used to express strong like or love.

Like with gustar, use me encanta when talking about singular objects and me encantan when talking about multiple objects.

Me encanta esta canción.
(I love this song.)

Me encantan estas canciones.
(I love these songs.)

9. ¡Cómo mola!  — How cool!

The word mola comes from the verb molar (to be cool).

Ese bar mola mucho.
(That bar is really cool.)

This phrase is just one of many colloquial ways to express the concept of “cool” in Spanish.

¡Cómo mola!
(It’s so cool! / How cool!)

Some others to work into your day-to-day conversations are genial, qué guay, qué chulo and qué guapo.

10. Es la leche — It’s awesome

Literally “it’s the milk,” this fun phrase describes something awesome.

¿Te gusta la guitarra española?
(Do you like the Spanish guitar?)

Sí, ¡es la leche!
(Yes, it’s awesome!)

11. Es una pasada — It’s amazing, incredible

A step beyond es la leche, this phrase literally translates as “it’s a craze” but means “it’s amazing” or “it’s incredible.”

¿Te lo pasaste bien en Barcelona?
(Did you have a good time in Barcelona?)

Sí, el Parque Güell es una pasada.
(Yes, Güell Park is incredible.)

12. Qué salado  — So funny, cool

Generally used to describe people rather than things, the adjective salado/a (salted) describes a person who is interesting, funny or enjoyable to be around.

If a Spanish-speaking friend makes a hilarious joke, you might follow up your laughter with this phrase:

Qué salado eres.
(You’re so funny/cool.)

13. Majo  — Nice, friendly, interesting

The word majo/a describes a nice, friendly or interesting person.

Es muy majo.
(He is a really nice person.)

Be careful, though—maja can also be interpreted as “physically attractive” in certain contexts.

Esa mujer es muy maja.
(That woman is really attractive.)

3. Indifference in Spanish

girl against a pink ground looking unsure

Sometimes, being able to express your indifference is just as important as being able to express a strong emotion!

Here are basic phrases to let people know when you just really don’t care, and some advanced ones to express varying degrees of disinterest.

14. No importa  — It doesn’t matter

The verb importar means “to matter” or “to be important.”

No importa.
(It doesn’t matter.)

For a slightly more direct or aggressive effect, you can also say this:

No me importa.
(I don’t care.)

Of course, vocal tone also influences how your words are interpreted.

The verb importar functions grammatically like the verb gustar, meaning that if you’re talking about multiple things that do not matter, you should say:

No importan.
(They don’t matter.)

15. Me da igual — I don’t care

Literally translated, this phrase is “it gives me equal.” It actually means “I don’t care” or “it’s all the same to me.”

Me da igual can sound polite or aggressive, depending on vocal tone.

¿Quieres ir al restaurante chino o al restaurante italiano?
(Do you want to go to the Chinese restaurant or the Italian restaurant?)

Me da igual, a mí me gustan los dos.
(I don’t care, I like them both.)

16. Como quieras — Whatever you want, as you wish

This phrase means “whatever you want” or “as you wish.” It’s commonly used to express indifference about an idea or decision.

Voy a preparar la cena. ¿Quieres pescado o pollo?
(I’m going to make dinner. Do you want fish or chicken?)

Me da igual, como quieras.
(It doesn’t matter to me, whatever you want.)

17. Estoy aburrido  — I’m bored

Estoy aburrido/a is “I’m bored.” Simple as that!

Estoy aburrido de ese libro.
(I’m bored of that book.)

Be careful not to mix up ser and estar here. Soy aburrido means “I’m boring.”

However, when you want to describe things as boring rather than saying you’re bored, use the verb ser instead of estar.

Estos libros son aburridos.
(These books are boring.)

Esa película es aburrida.
(That movie is boring.)

18. Me importa tres pepinos — I don’t care

Literally, this one means “it matters three cucumbers to me.”

This phrase can be used to express how much you really, really don’t care about something.

While me da igual or no importa can be interpreted as either polite or impolite, this phrase is definitively dismissive in nature.

¿Qué quieres cenar?
(What do you want to eat for dinner?)

Me importa tres pepinos.
(I don’t care.)

If cucumbers aren’t your style, feel free to use one of these food-based variations:

Me importa un pimiento (lit. it matters one pepper to me)

Me importa un comino (lit. it matters one cumin to me)

19. Nada del otro mundo — It’s nothing special

This phrase translates to “nothing from the other world.”

It’s roughly equivalent to the English phrase “nothing out of this world.” Use it to describe something that’s just okay or not particularly exciting.

¿Qué opinas de esta canción?
(What do you think of this song?)

Nada del otro mundo.
(It’s nothing special.)

20. Regular — Just okay, not so great

This false friend does not mean the same as its English equivalent. Rather, the Spanish word regular is colloquially used to mean “just okay” or “not so great.”

For example, if you’re feeling under the weather, you might tell somebody:

Me siento regular.
(I don’t feel so great.)

In this case, regular expresses neither great enthusiasm nor great discomfort.

You can also use regular to express opinions. For example:

¿Cómo fue la película?
(How was the movie?)

Eh, regular.
(Eh, it was just okay.)

4. Dislike in Spanish

person giving thumbs down

It’s important to know how to tell people when you disapprove of something.

Use these easy phrases to let others know you’re feeling frustrated, dissatisfied or annoyed.

21. No me gusta — I don’t like

This, of course, is merely the opposite of me gusta.

No me gusta means “it doesn’t please me” or “I don’t like it.”

As with me gusta, you will generally only see this verb conjugated in the “he/she/it” or “they” forms for singular or plural objects, respectively.

No me gusta el libro.
(I don’t like the book.)

No me gustan estos libros.
(I don’t like these books.)

For describing actions, use the infinitive:

No me gusta jugar al tenis.
(I don’t like playing tennis.)

Use the subjunctive to describe the actions of others:

No me gusta que me hables así.
(I don’t like that you talk to me like that.)

22. Me molesta — It bothers me

This false friend means, “It bothers me.” Again, it functions like gustar, so use me molesta for singular objects and me molestan for plural objects.

Me molesta el viento.
(The wind is bothering me.)

Me molestan las moscas.
(The flies are bothering me.)

Looking for other ways to talk about things that bother you? You can also use these:

Me fastidia (It upsets me)

Me agobia (It overwhelms me)

Me preocupa (It worries me)

23. Es un rollo — It’s a pain in the neck, it’s a mess

Un rollo is something annoying, complicated or frustrating.

English equivalents include “it’s a mess” or “it’s a pain in the neck.”

For example, if you spent all morning cleaning your house after a party, you might later complain to a friend like this:

Fue un rollo.
(It was a pain in the neck.)

24. Pesado — Tedious, boring

Literally “heavy,” this adjective is commonly used to describe annoying people and things. To express that you’ve been having a long or difficult day, you could say:

El día ha sido muy pesado.
(It’s been a long day.)

25. Me da la lata — [Something] is getting on my nerves

What does it mean for someone to “give me the can?”

Colloquially, it means that someone is getting on your nerves. If one of my ESL students was acting out or talking during class, I could later say:

Él me está dando la lata hoy.
(He’s getting on my nerves today.)

5. Anger in Spanish

couple sitting on a couch arguing

Sometimes you just have to let it all out. Feeling angry? These adjectives will help you make yourself understood.

And when the basics just don’t suffice to express the extent of your anger, blow off some steam with advanced phrases.

26. Enfadado , Enojado — Angry

These two adjectives both mean “angry.” In my experience, enfadado/a is more common in Spain, while enojado/a is generally used in Latin America.

Estoy enfadada porque perdí en los videojuegos.
(I am angry because I lost the video game.)

Both words also have a reflexive verb form: enfadarse and enojarse (to get angry). Use the forms me enfada or me enoja (it makes me angry).

Me enojo cuando pierdo en los videojuegos.
(I get angry when I lose video games.)

Me enfada perder en los videojuegos.
(It makes me angry to lose video games.)

27. Me da rabia — It enrages me

A step beyond simple anger, this phrase directly translates to “it gives me rage” or “it enrages me.” Use this for particularly strong or serious opinions.

Me da rabia el gobierno de este país.
(The government of this country enrages me.)

28. ¡Me cago en el mar! — To feel enraged

Spain has some truly expressive phrases, and this is one of my favorites. The next time you’re feeling enraged, use this phrase:

¡Me cago en el mar!
(I take a crap in the sea!)

Despite the shocking visual imagery, this phrase is not vulgar and can be said by children or in front of children.

Spain has many fun phrases that begin with me cago en.

Me cago en la leche (lit. I take a crap in the milk)

Me cago en diez (lit. I take a crap in ten)

There are several others. But they’re too shocking to say here.

29. ¡Jolín! — Darn!

This exclamation expresses shock and anger, like the English “darn!” or “oh, come on!”

Use it when you stub your toe, when you crack your cell phone screen, when it starts raining the moment you leave the house or in any other unexpected and frustrating situation.

¡Jolín! Olvidé mi paraguas!
(Darn! I forgot my umbrella.)

6. Surprise in Spanish

happy mother receiving gifts from her children

If you really want to blend in and sound like a native speaker, you might want to try out some of these interjections of surprise.

Keep practicing—eventually, they will work their way into your everyday vocabulary.

30. ¡Anda!  — Wow!

The command form of the verb andar (to walk), this exclamation expresses subdued, mild or pleasant surprise. It’s like the English phrases “how about that!” or “huh!” but it can also mean “wow!”

¡Anda! Hace tiempo que no nos vemos.
(Wow! Long time no see.)

31. ¡Hostia! — Jesus!

What better way to express surprise than by referring to holy communion bread?

That is the literal meaning of the word hostia, one of Spain’s most common slang words.

Although the word has various meanings depending on its context, it’s an exclamation of surprise on its own, similar to “Jesus!” or “damn it!”

It can be positive or negative depending on vocal tone and nonverbal communication.

So, feel free to shout it when your favorite soccer player scores a near-impossible goal, or when you realize you locked your keys in the car.

¡Hostia! ¿Dónde ha ido el tiempo?
(Jesus! Where has the time gone?)

32. ¡Ostras! — Jeez!


A more polite (and less sacrilegious) version of hostiaostras is Spain’s version of “oh my gosh!” or “jeez!”

¡Ostras! Esa es una gran comida.
(Jeez! That’s a big meal.)

Expressions like these are abundant in Spanish, and the best way to learn as many of them as possible is by talking with native speakers and consuming Spanish content.

You can do this on language exchange apps like HelloTalk and immersion programs like FluentU.

FluentU takes authentic videos like movie trailers, music videos and TV series clips and turns them into Spanish lessons by adding interactive subtitles to them.

This helps you spot colloquial expressions, slang like ¡Ostras! and much more—which is especially useful if you’re focusing on a particular Spanish dialect.

33. ¡Madre mía! — Oh dear!

I always hear this versatile phrase, used to express varying degrees of shock.

It can be used for positive and negative surprises, directly translating as “my mother!” but is closer to the meaning “oh dear!”

¡Madre mía! Llego tarde al trabajo.
(Oh dear! I’m late for work.)

7. Love in Spanish

couple cuddling and looking lovingly at each other

If you’re lucky enough to get hit with Cupid’s arrow, don’t let your lack of Spanish hold you back.

These phrases to express love and affection in Spanish will help your relationships flourish!

34. Te quiero — I love you

While this phrase literally translates to “I want you” (and is used as such in some situations), it’s more commonly used as “I love you” when speaking to family and friends.

There is actually a debate over who te quiero should really be used with, and sometimes it’s dependent on the country.

Te quiero mucho.
(I love you so much.)

35. Te amo — I love you

Te amo is another way of saying “I love you,” and there’s no doubt that this is the more intense way of saying it. It’s more romantic and affectionate, mostly reserved for very serious relationships. 

On that note, family members do say this to each other in some parts of the Spanish-speaking world.

Te amo más que a nada en este mundo.
(I love you more than anything in this world.)

36. Estoy enamorado /a — I’m in love

It’s not every day that you get to say, “I’m in love.” If that moment ever arises, you’ll be prepared! 

Estoy enamorado de ti.
(I’m in love with you.)

37. Estoy loco por ti — I’m crazy about you

This phrase means “I’m crazy about you” but in a good way.

Nunca me he sentido así antes. ¡Estoy loca por ti!
(I’ve never felt this way before. I’m crazy about you!)

38. Eres mi media naranja — You’re my other half

This translates to “you’re my half orange.” Any guesses as to what it might be?

While in English we’re content with saying, “you’re my other half,” they take it a step further in Spain and get oranges involved. It’s pretty cute!

Claro que te amo. Eres mi media naranja.
(Of course I love you. You’re my person/other half.)

39. Eres el amor de mi vida — You’re the love of my life

This beautiful phrase is reserved for when you know you’ve found the one. Be careful using this—it may cause irreversible infatuation.

Eres el amor de mi vida. ¿Te casas conmigo?
(You’re the love of my life. Will you marry me?)

8. Sadness in Spanish

woman looking troubled at the beach

Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life that we’re going to experience sadness at some point.

Some of us get more than our fair share of it, and even the happiest people sometimes get down in the dumps.

Prepare for these inevitable situations with the following Spanish phrases. 

40. Estoy triste — I’m sad

Triste is the key word here, which means “sad.” When you pair it with estoy, you’ve got “I’m sad.”

This is a nice basic phrase that’ll definitely come in useful at some point, especially when you’re unhappy and looking to garner some attention (which never hurts!).

Estoy triste porque las vacaciones han terminado.
(I’m sad because the vacation is over.)

41. Me da pena — It makes me sad

The word pena means a feeling of sadness and is often paired with the verb dar (to give) to express empathy, pity and sadness.

You can also swap out the object pronoun me and change the conjugation of dar depending on who you’re talking about.

For example:

La situación me da mucha pena.
(The situation makes me really sad.)

Me das pena.
(I feel sorry for you.)

Le da pena verte así.
(It makes her sad to see you like that.)

42. ¡Qué pena! — What a shame!

Qué pena is more than just a catchy reggaeton song—this useful phrase translates as “what a shame” to express sorrow and empathy.

However, it can also be used to express regret, meaning “too bad,” “pity” and in some countries, even “sorry.”

You can use it on its own, or with the conjunction que. Note the use of the subjunctive after qué pena que… (what a shame that…).

Qué pena que haya muerto tu abuelo. 
(What a shame that your grandfather has died.)

¿Perdieron el partido? ¡Qué pena! 
(They lost the game? Too bad!)

43. Me siento derrotado  — I feel defeated

For times when you’re feeling really over it and estoy triste doesn’t seem to cover it, keep derrotado/a phrase in your arsenal.

Me siento derrotado.
(I feel defeated.)

44. Estoy deprimido — I’m depressed

I hope you never have to use this phrasebut sometimes we need to be honest about how we’re feeling! It’s always better out than in.

This is how you say that you’re depressed. You could mean this literally—like you actually have depression—or when you’re just stretching the truth a bit.

Estoy deprimida. Rompió conmigo.
(I’m depressed. He broke up with me.)

45. Estoy sin ganas de hacer nada — I don’t feel like doing anything

While you don’t necessarily need to be sad to say this, it’s a pretty common way to feel when you’re glum. So whether you’re sad or just feeling lazy, it’s still a useful phrase to know!

Está lloviendo hoy. Estoy sin ganas de hacer nada.
(It’s raining today. I don’t feel like doing anything.)

9. Fear in Spanish

scared girl in a movie theatre being comforted by her partner

Fear is another inevitable emotion that we experience in life—it’s all part of being human!

And after all, what’s life without a bit of unpredictability? 

46. Estoy asustado — I’m scared

Estoy asustado/a = “I’m scared.”

This is a nice, straightforward phrase that’ll come in handy when you least expect it!

Es mi primera vez en un avión. Estoy asustado.
(It’s my first time on a plane. I’m scared.)

47. Tengo miedo — I’m scared

Tener miedo means, literally, “to have fear,” and is used to express that you’re scared or afraid.

I use it much more often than estoy asustado because tengo miedo (I’m afraid) is more versatile.

It can be used on its own or as part of a phrase to express that you’re worried about or scared of something in particular. 

Note that if you’re referring to something, you’ll need to use a preposition—like a (to) or de que (that)and sometimes the subjunctive after the phrase. 

Tiene miedo a los tiburones.
(He is afraid of sharks.)

Tengo miedo de que me dejes. 
(I’m scared that you’ll leave me.)

48. ¡Qué susto! — What a scare!

This phrase is used on its own as an exclamation.

You can use it to express shock or fight on behalf of yourself or to empathize with someone else if they’re telling you about a frightening experience they had—great for rapport building!

Qué susto actually means “what a scare” which might sound a bit insincere to English speakers. But don’t worry, it’s perfectly polite and common among Spanish speakers.

¿De dónde saliste? ¡Qué susto!
(Where did you come from? What a scare!)

49. ¡Qué miedo! — How scary!

In the same vein as qué susto, we have qué miedo.

However, this interjection would be used less to express shock and more for a fright or when you find something scary.

¡Qué miedo da esa casa encantada!
(How scary is that haunted house!)

50. Cagado de miedo — I’m scared sh*tless

Lastly, we have cagado/a de miedo. In keeping with an earlier phrase pertaining to taking a crap in the ocean, this gem translates to “scared sh*tless.”

Estaba cagada de miedo cuando vi su cara.
(I was scared sh*tless when I saw his face.)


Being able to express your feelings accurately is one of the signs that you’re fluent in a second language.

It’s no easy task, but keep practicing and soon you’ll feel like you can truly be yourself in Spanish!

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