You’re in love.
And you’re learning Spanish.
Congratulations on both!
And now Valentine’s Day is on its way, daring you to come up with a plan.
Making Valentine’s Day special in unique ways doesn’t have to involve a search for this year’s incarnation of the latest heart-covered balloons, roses, cupcakes, cards or wine. Not for someone with your communicative gumption.
It’s all about you and your ability to let your special someone know they’re special.
One of the best things about learning another language is expanding your options. Really, if memorizing a new term (or three!) for every object and concept you want to discuss gives you expanded job opportunities, vastly improved travel experiences, and resistance to degenerative brain diseases but doesn’t add zing to your love life, what’s the point?
So let’s get started.
These eight love-related Spanish vocabulary words were chosen for their versatility and staying power. Adding manageable lists of related vocabulary terms helps you learn Spanish quickly. Practicing with those words in a variety of settings helps you learn Spanish well. Adding words and practicing them with someone you enjoy, well, that can lead to a fun-filled evening of endorphins no matter what day it is.
8 Lovely Valentine’s Day Spanish Vocabulary Words
1. Acompáñame (Join me, come with me)
You’ve got class. This means you’re the type who understands the appeal of an invitation. This is the familiar command form, acompaña, of the verb acompañar, with the addition of the object me to be clear about whom they’ll be joining. Why the accent mark over the middle “a”?
Oh you are an observant one, and your partner is a lucky, lucky person. The accent mark needs to be added to make sure the correct syllable is emphasized. In the basic command form, “acompaña,” we know to emphasize the second-to-last syllable because we always emphasize that syllable when a word ends in a vowel, n or s.
The addition of the object, “me,” could throw us off our game, though, so an accent mark is necessary. For the dedicated:
- acompáñame a… (join me for… / come with me to…)
- Acompáñame a cenar. (Join me for dinner.)
- Acompáñame a bailar. (Come with me to dance.)
2. Te amo, te quiero (I love you)
The next time you want to start an argument among your bilingual friends, ask them to explain the difference between these two ways of saying you love someone. I’ve done it, it’s a hoot. I haven’t done it lately though because the memory of the last time is still too fresh.
There are those who insist–loudly–that one is more affectionate, more real, more loaded with emotion and meaning. There are those who are prejudiced against te quiero because coming from the root verb querer, which also means “to want,” it can therefore also mean “I want you.”
Use the one you’re comfortable with, and rest assured that you’re in good company no matter which one you decide is your favorite. For the not-quite-yet-in-love, or the I-am-but-I-don’t-want-to-say-it-yet folks: Te adoro. (I adore you.)
3. Amor (Love, my love), Mi amor (My love)
Add this one to our first term to get acompáñame, amor or acompáñame, mi amor. Including the mi, is a matter of preference, just like in saying either “join me, darling,” or “join me, my darling.”
Add a dose of sugar to this term by adding the diminutive suffix –ito to the end, resulting in amorcito. Spanish is famous for making things sound affectionate with a simple addition like this, but don’t overdo it or it risks losing its appeal.
Is amorcito used regardless of whether we’re referring to a man or a woman? I’m so glad you’re reading this article. Your intuitive questions are making it better, and I appreciate that. Yes, amorcito is used for men and for women. The short explanation is that the noun for love, amor, is masculine, and love stays love regardless of gender, and therefore so does amorcito.
4. Cariño (Sweetheart, darling, honey)
Everyone needs more than one term of endearment. Sometimes you feel like using different sounds or more syllables, and Spanish is happy to oblige. Like amorcito, cariño remains with its “o” ending regardless of the gender of your sweetie, and for basically the same reason.
Cariño is the noun for affection, and is appropriately used, as is, for both genders. For those who want some more c-words: Corazón (heart) is a popular pet name, and so is cielo (heaven/sky).
5. Querido/a (Darling, honey, sweetheart)
With this term gender does matter. Think of it this way – querido and querida are adjectives meaning “loved,” and adjectives change with the gender that they refer to, even when it could be claimed we’re basically using them as pronouns.
To be clear, use querido when the person being referred to is male, and querida when referring to a female. For those who want a sentence:
Querido, acompáñame a cenar, por favor. (Honey, join me for dinner, please.)
Querida, acompáñame a bailar esta noche. (Sweetheart, come dance with me tonight.)
6. Me vuelves loco/a (You drive me crazy)
Me vuelves loco (You drive me crazy—said by a man). Me vuelves loca (You drive me crazy—said by a woman). Here we have a phrase that’s as useful at the end of a relationship as at the beginning.
Vuelves is the second person familiar present tense of the verb volver. The literal translation of each of the phrases above would be “you turn me crazy,” and the reason the gender of the adjective for crazy needs to match the speaker is because that’s the person it’s describing.
For those who want to call the other person crazy: Tú estás loco. (You are crazy.)—said to a man; Tú estás loca. (You are crazy.)—said to a woman.
7. Tú eres mi razón para vivir (You are my reason for living)
This phrase is for those who want something longer, more impressive to say than a simple pet name, and who are ready and willing to reveal this depth of devotion.
For those who want the length with less seriousness:
Tú eres mi razón para sonreír. (You are my reason for smiling.)
For those who want the length with no seriousness:
Tú eres mi razón para reír. (You are my reason for laughing.)
8. Bésame (Kiss me)
Fun to say, fun to sing (¡Bésame Mucho!), and fun to see what happens next. This word is the familiar command form, besa, of the verb besar, with the addition of the object me to make sure there’s no doubt about whom they’re being commanded to kiss.
[If you’re reading this out loud to your partner, use the word "asked” instead of commanded in that last part.] For those who just want a hug: Abrázame. (Hug me.)
There you are. Some words to add to the growing list of Spanish vocabulary in your brain, some tools you now have at your disposal for deepening a relationship with another human being. Disfrútalas. (Enjoy them.)
For those who want that broken down: Disfruta is the familiar command form of the verb disfrutar, and las is the plural object word standing in for the feminine noun for words, palabras. Feliz Día de San Valentín. = Happy St. Valentine’s Day.
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