volver-a

How to Use Volver A + Infinitive

The Spanish phrase volver a means “to return to” or “to do something again.”

So, for example, the Juanes song “Volverte a ver” means “to see you again.” And volver a casa means “to return home.”

As a Spanish learner, it’s extremely useful to understand and know how to use this phrase, as it shows up everywhere.

With this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn exactly when and how to use volver a in your own speech and writing!

Contents


1. Volver a + [Infinitive]

The Spanish verb volver generally means “to return.” But that little Spanish preposition can change the meaning of the verb slightly.

In many contexts, the Spanish phrase volver a followed by an infinitive verb means “to do something again.” So, volver a llorar means “to cry again” and volver a comenzar means “to start again.”

Volver is a slightly tricky stem-changing –er verb, so to help you out, we’ve provided here the conjugations for volver a in the present tense:

PronounConjugation
Yo vuelvo a
vuelves a
Él/ella/usted vuelve a
Nosotros volvemos a
Vosotros volvéis a
Ellos/ellas/ustedes vuelven a

Here are a few example sentences in the present tense to help you get the hang of using this highly useful phrase:

La maestra vuelve a intentar empezar la clase, pero los estudiantes no se callan.
(The teacher tries again to begin class, but the students don’t quiet down.)

Vuelvo a pedir disculpas por lo que te hice.
(I ask again for forgiveness for what I did to you.)

¿Vuelves a salir esta noche o te quedas en casa?
(Are you going out again tonight or are you staying home?)

2. Volver a in the Past and Present Perfect Tenses

Of course, volver a doesn’t only function in the present tense. The preterite (past) and present perfect tense versions of this phrase can be very common and useful as well.

In the preterite (past) tense, conjugate volver a like this:

PronounConjugation
Yo volví a
volviste a
Él/ella/usted volvió a
Nosotros volvimos a
Vosotros volvisteis a
Ellos/ellas/ustedes volvieron a

For example, you could say:

Me desperté, pero dentro de poco volví a dormir.
(I woke up, but I quickly fell back asleep.)

Los jugadores volvieron a intentar meter un gol.
(The players tried again to score a goal.)

The present perfect tense is similar. Those conjugations are:

PronounConjugation
Yo he vuelto a
has vuelto a
Él/ella/usted ha vuelto a
Nosotros hemos vuelto a
Vosotros habéis vuelto a
Ellos/ellas/ustedes han vuelto a

This one is even easier because you only need to learn the conjugations of haber and the participle vuelto.

¿Para qué has vuelto a mencionar eso?
(Why have you brought that up again?)

Using the basics provided in this article, you should be able to use the phrase volver a in other verb tenses as well—such as the past perfect or the future tense. You can use this website to conjugate Spanish verbs when you need a bit of help. 

Find more examples of volver in any tense on the FluentU program, which uses hundreds of Spanish videos to teach the language naturally.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

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3. Other Meanings of Volver a

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the verb volver literally translates to “to return” and in many cases volver a means “to do [an action] again.”

However, this isn’t always the case. In some cases, it can also mean “to return to [a place]” or “to return [at a specific time].”

The key is to look at what comes after the preposition a. If it’s a place or an expression of time, the verb volver in context probably means “to return.”

For example:

Después del almuerzo, volvimos a la oficina.
(After lunch, we returned to the office.)

Ellos salieron tarde y volvieron a las cinco de la mañana.
(They went out late and returned at five in the morning.)

In these cases, volver a could be replaced with regresar a, which also means “to return to [a place] or “to return [at a specific time].”

4. Other Ways to Say “Do Again” in Spanish

This article is all about volver a—but that’s not the only way to express the idea “to do something again” in Spanish.

It’s good to diversify your vocabulary in order to increase comprehension and sound more like a native speaker. So, here are a few more ways to say the same thing in Spanish (we’ll also show how to change these sentences to use volver a):

Spanish phraseLiteral translationExampleUsing volver a
Otra vez "other time" Quiero verte otra vez. (I want to see you again.) Quiero volver a verte.  or Quiero volverte a ver.
De nuevo "of new" De nuevo empezaron a subir a la montaña. (They started climbing the mountain again.) Volvieron a empezar a subir a la montaña.
Nuevamente "newly" El estudiante lee nuevamente el texto. (The student re-reads the text.) El estudiante vuelve a leer el texto.

5. Useful Phrases with Volver a

Volver a can be a highly useful phrase in many contexts. Here are a few common usages of it. Add these sayings to your repertoire to sound more like a native speaker instantly.

Vuelvo a decir… (I’ll say it again…)

Use this saying in debates, arguments or any time you need to emphasize a point you’ve previously made. Said with the right tone, it can sound very forceful and can help you reiterate a particularly strong argument.

Vuelvo a decir que su plan no va a funcionar.
(I’ll say again that your plan is not going to work.)

Nunca más vuelvo a… (Never again will I…)

In this article, we’ve mostly discussed the positive usages of the term, but unsurprisingly, it can be used in the negative as well. This saying helps you express things that you’ll never, ever do again.

Nunca más vuelvo a confiar en ella.
(I’m never going to trust her again.)

Volver a nacer (To be reborn) 

This phrase can refer to something literally growing back (such as a plant) but it can also symbolically refer to being revived (such as after an illness).

It can also take a figurative, spiritual or religious meaning, similar to the English-language concept of “rebirth.”

Vender todas mis cosas y mudarme a otro país fue como volver a nacer.
(Selling all of my things and moving to another country was like being reborn.)

Volver a caer en lo mismo (To fall back into same thing) 

This colloquial expression has a meaning that most of us can relate to on some level. It refers to those times that you keep making the same mistake over and over again—a lot like the English expression “tripping over the same stone.”

Shakira takes a different take on this saying in her song Lo hecho está hecho” (What’s done is done):

“Lo hecho está hecho, volví a tropezar con la misma piedra que hubo siempre.
(“What’s done is done, I tripped again on the same stone that was always there.”) 

Caer y volver a levantarse (Fall and get back up again)

This expression is quite a bit more optimistic than the last one. It refers to those moments when you fail but try again.

No siempre vas a tener éxito en el primer intento. Hay que caer y volver a levantarse.
(You’re not always going to be successful on the first try. You have to fall and get back up again.)

Take a Quiz on Volver a

Now that you’ve learned the conjugations, meanings and uses of volver a, it’s time to test your knowledge! 

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What's the correct conjugation for volver a in the present tense first person singular (yo) form?
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What's the correct conjugation for volver a in the preterite (past) tense third person plural (ellos/ellas) form?
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¿Qué significa volver a en español?
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Si dices "Volveré a las 10 de la mañana", ¿qué estás diciendo?
Correct! Wrong!

¿Cuál de las siguientes oraciones utiliza volver a correctamente?
Correct! Wrong!

¿Cuál es la traducción correcta de "She will return to school"?
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¿Por qué Sara no ________ practicar el piano?
Correct! Wrong!

Terminaron de trabajar a las 9 de la noche y _______ empezar a las 7 de la mañana.
Correct! Wrong!

¿Me estás diciendo que _____ fumar?
Correct! Wrong!

Nunca más _____ alquilar un coche de esa empresa después de mi experiencia con ellos.
Correct! Wrong!

Spanish Quiz on "volver a"
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Way to go! You've mastered the Spanish phrase volver a! Now you can start using it in your everyday conversations and writing.

 

Once you’ve learned this super common Spanish phrase, you’ll likely see it all over the place.

Incorporate it into your speech instead of using otra vez and de nuevo all the time. The variety will make you sound more like a native Spanish speaker.

So, does volver a make sense to you? If not, we hope that you will volver a leer este artículo (read this article again) until you feel comfortable using this useful Spanish phrase!

And One More Thing…

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