“Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?”
“I want to live in your socks so I could be with you every step of the way.”
“If you were a vegetable, you’d be a cute-cumber!”
Oh, pick-up lines. They range from beautiful and romantic to silly and juvenile.
Even though a corny pick-up line might make you want to roll your eyes, you have to admit they’re fun to learn and share!
The Spanish language is full of great pick-up lines that employ clever plays on words and evoke images both poetic and mundane. Read on to find out some of the best ones, and learn some Spanish while having a good laugh.
Why Learn Spanish Pick-up Lines?
Qué poco azul llevas… para el cielo que eres.
What little blue you’re wearing… for the sky that you are.
Sounds way better in Spanish, doesn’t it?
Unsurprisingly, many Spanish piropos (pick-up lines) don’t translate well. These romantic phrases frequently employ puns and plays on words, which makes them great practice for advanced Spanish learners.
Sometimes, puzzling through piropos can feel like a word game! In the above example, it helps to know that cielo means not only “sky” but also “heaven,” and is also a term of endearment that one might call a significant other.
Pick-up lines can also be a great way to hone in on certain tricky grammar points. In this case, we’ll be focusing on pick-up lines that include the past subjunctive. Why? Since the past subjunctive is frequently used to express desires, unfulfilled wishes or unlikely occurrences, it shows up quite a bit in Spanish piropos.
The Past Subjunctive: A Refresher
Total newbie to the past subjunctive? Fear not! This post has got you covered on the basics.
Otherwise, here’s a quick refresher on the past subjunctive.
First, let’s review the conjugation of the past subjunctive using the verb hablar (to talk). To conjugate the past subjunctive, start with the third-person plural form of the preterite: hablaron.
Next, chop off the final –ron and add one of the two accepted verb endings.
Yo: -ra or -se
Tú: -ras or -ses
Él/ella/usted: –ra or –se
Nosotros: –ramos or –semos
Vosotros: –rais or –seis
Ellos/ellas/ustedes: –ran or –sen
Él quería que hablaseis con la profesora.
(He wanted you to talk to the professor.)
Ojalá hablara español.
(If only I spoke Spanish.)
Si hablaras inglés, ¿te irías a vivir a Irlanda?
(If you spoke English, would you go live in Ireland?)
These verb endings don’t change, regardless of if the verbs end in –ar, –er or –ir. Just remember that any irregular verbs in the past tense indicative maintain their irregular stems in the past subjunctive, such as fuera from ser (to be) or quisiera from querer (to want).
We use the past subjunctive in the following cases:
- When talking about a want, need, desire or subjective emotion in the past tense.
- Quería que cenaras conmigo. (I wanted you to have dinner with me.)
- To express current emotions, desires or doubts about events that happened in the past.
- Me alegra que estuviese allí. (I’m happy that she was there.)
- Using the word ojalá, to express a desire for an unlikely event or occurrence.
- Ojalá hiciera sol. (If only it were sunny.)
- In si clauses to talk about unlikely situations. These clauses generally include one verb in the past subjunctive and another in the conditional tense.
- Si tuviera dinero, iría al cine con vosotros. (If I had the money, I’d go to the movies with you guys.)
Memory refreshed? Great. Let’s move on to the pick-up lines themselves!
9 Cute Spanish Pick-up Lines That Just Might Work
1. Si besarte fuera pecado, caminaría feliz por el infierno.
English Meaning: If kissing you were a sin, I’d happily walk through hell.
Note the structure of this sentence: It starts with the word si (if) and contains a past subjunctive verb as well as a conditional verb. Lots of piropos take this structure, so you’ll want to learn it and learn it well!
Using the conditional verb caminaría (I would walk) is technically correct, but in colloquial Spanish you could also use the imperfect caminaba. Since piropos are by definition colloquial Spanish, you should expect to hear these variations quite a bit.
2. Si el agua fuese belleza, tú serías el océano entero.
English Meaning: If water were beauty, you’d be the whole ocean.
Here we have another si clause, this time using the same verb in the past subjunctive and conditional forms: ser (to be).
Note that this pick-up line uses the verb fuese instead of fuera. Remember, those two verbs are completely interchangeable! Any time you see a verb in the past subjunctive, keep in mind that it has an equivalent form.
3. Si Cristóbal Colón te viera, diría: ¡Santa María, qué Pinta tiene esta Niña!
English Meaning: If Christopher Columbus saw you, he’d say: Saint Mary, that girl looks incredible!
This piropo is a great example of how certain things just don’t translate between English and Spanish.
This one has several different layers to work through. First, remember that Cristóbal Colón is Christopher Columbus’s name in Spanish. And if you’ve forgotten elementary school American history, here’s a quick reminder: The three ships that Columbus sailed to America were the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa María.
Now that we have the historical context, it’s also important to remember that Santa María (Saint Mary) can be used as an interjection in Spanish, like “oh my God!” and that tener pinta is a colloquial way to say that someone (or something) looks good.
With all that in mind, go back and read the Spanish version of the piropo. Does it make more sense now?
Take note: Although this is also a si clause, it differs from the two we’ve seen so far because its verb doesn’t come from ser. In this case, the past subjunctive verb is viera, from the verb ver (to see).
4. Si yo fuera azafata, te llevaría en mi avión, pero como no lo soy, te llevo en mi corazón.
English Meaning: If I were a flight attendant, I’d carry you in my airplane, but since I’m not, I’ll carry you in my heart.
This cute rhyming pick-up line consists of a compound sentence. The first half is a si clause like the ones we’ve seen so far, including the past subjunctive verb fuera from ser (to be) and the conditional verb llevaría from llevar (to take).
The second half of the pick-up line is written in the indicative, with two present tense indicative verbs: soy (I am) and llevo (I take).
Because the first half of the sentence describes a dream or a hypothetical (If I were a flight attendant…), it requires subjunctive and conditional tenses. The second half of the sentence deals with reality (I’m not a flight attendant) so you can stick to indicative.
5. Si tus ojos fueran el cielo y tu boca el mar, me gustaría ser el horizonte para poderte besar.
English Meaning: If your eyes were the sky and your mouth were the sea, I’d like to be the horizon to be able to kiss you.
Here we have another great example of a si clause using the verbs ser (to be) and gustar (to like, to please). But this pick-up line touches on another tricky grammar issue as well: the difference between por and para.
Look at the second half of the sentence: Me gustaría ser el horizante para poderte besar. (I’d like to be the horizon to be able to kiss you).
We use both por and para to describe reasons for doing things, but the two words are not interchangeable. Use por when talking about the cause for an action, and use para when talking about motivations. Roughly speaking, you can translate por to “because of” or “due to,” and you can translate para to “in order to” or “so that.”
Quiero aprender español por su belleza y utilidad.
(I want to learn Spanish because of its beauty and usefulness.)
Quiero aprender español para poder conseguir un trabajo en Argentina.
(I want to learn Spanish so that I can get a job in Argentina.)
Given this distinction, it’s clear why the pick-up line uses para: It describes a motivation and a potential future action.
6. Quisiera ser joyero para poder apreciar todos los días un diamante como tú.
English Meaning: I’d like to be a jeweler to be able to appreciate every day a diamond like you.
Si clauses are one use of the past subjunctive, but they are far from the only use. With this pick-up line, we move away from si clauses, which is why you won’t see any verbs conjugated in the conditional tense.
Quisiera, from the verb querer (to want) is a special verb in the past subjunctive. It’s a very polite or elegant way to say “I’d like,” not much different from me gustaría (I’d like).
7. Ojalá fueras bombero para apagar el fuego de mi deseo.
English Meaning: If only you were a firefighter to be able to put out the fire of my desire.
Whenever you see the word ojalá (God willing), you should be prepared to follow it up with a subjunctive verb. But the tense of the subjunctive verb (past or present) changes the meaning of the word somewhat.
When you follow ojalá with a present tense verb, it means something like “hopefully” or “God willing,” and with good reason—the word has its roots in the Arabic word Allah (God).
¡Ojalá tengas suerte!
(Hopefully you’ll have good luck!)
However, with past subjunctive, ojalá expresses an impossible desire and is similar to the English “If only…” or “I wish I could…”
Because of this, ojalá plus the past subjunctive is perfect for romantic proclamations, such as the one above!
8. Ojalá la mitad de las estrellas brillaran tanto como tus ojos.
English Meaning: If only half of the stars in the sky shined as brightly as your eyes.
Here’s another example of ojalá plus the past subjunctive, this one even more romantic than the last!
Unsurprisingly, there are many piropos that involve shining stars and shooting stars. Here are a few more to use on romantic star-lit nights:
No necesito que la noche caiga para poder ver las estrellas.
(I don’t need it to be night to be able to see the stars.)
Tú eres la estrella que guía mi corazón.
(You are the star that guides my heart.)
¿Qué hace una estrella volando tan bajo?
(What’s a star doing flying so low?)
9. Me gustaría ser lente de contacto para que no pudieras sacarme tu mirada.
English Meaning: I’d like to be a contact lens so you couldn’t take your eyes off me.
Some piropos evoke beautiful images of the sea, the stars, the moon… and others just talk about contact lenses! Pick-up lines in Spanish, like in English, don’t have to be super-serious and passionate. Some of the most entertaining ones are silly plays-on-words like the one above.
Para que (so that) is another trigger phrase that should let you know you’ll likely need to use a subjunctive verb. In this case, since you’re talking about a desire or unlikely event, use the past subjunctive.
Spanish pick-up lines are a ton of fun, whether you’re talking to a significant other or simply swapping funny phrases with your friends. Not to mention, they’re great grammar and vocabulary practice! Which of these pick-up lines will you use first?
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