How To Say 'I Love You' In Spanish (Essential Guide)

  • Jada Lòpez
    Written byJada Lòpez
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How To Say 'I Love You' In Spanish (Essential Guide)

If you’ve been searching for the perfect way to express your love for a loved one in Spanish, or to let your family know how much you love them, you’ll find it in this post.

In your Spanish course, you’ll have learned that the standard te quiero is most common way to tell someone you love them in Spanish, but we’ve gone into more detail below.

We know that getting the meaning right is important – you’ll want to show how you feel with the right words.

So, whether you’re about to propose to your fiancé or want to show your affection after your partner has cooked a delicious meal for you, here are the perfect ways to say ‘I love you’ in Spanish.

What are the most common ways to say ‘I love you’ in Spanish?

Some of the most common ways to say ‘I love you’ and express your love with Spanish words are:

EspañolEnglish
Te quieroI love you
Te amoI love you
Te adoroI adore you
Estoy enamorado de tiI’m in love with you
Me caes bienI like you
Eres el amor de mi vidaYou’re the love of my life
Me has robado el corazónYou’ve stolen my heart
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When to use te quiero and when to use te amo

So, there are two main phrases in Spanish used to say ‘I love you’ – one is te quiero and the other is te amo – how do you know which one to use?

Well, we typically use the phrase te quiero when we’re addressing close members of the family or our really close friends and reserve the weightier te amo for serious relationships with our partners.

Te quiero actually literally translates as ‘I want you’, but it’s used to express affection and means ‘I love you’.

You’ll typically hear the phrase te amo in love scenes between husbands and wives in Spanish movies. To clear up the confusion, you shouldn’t use the phrase te amo when speaking to your friends.

Here are some examples of te quiero and te amo being used in different contexts:

En serio, te quiero amigo. Eres la leche.

Seriously, I love you mate. You’re so cool.

Cariño, gracias por todo. Te amo.

Darling, thanks for everything. I love you.

Using me caes bien in casual contexts

Say you want to casually imply that you like someone with the intention of finding out if they like you too. To find out how the person you’ve been dating feels about you in the early days, you can use the phrase me caes bien to say ‘I like you’.

Once you’ve got their response, you’ll be able to find out their feelings towards you.

You can use the Spanish phrase me caes bien with friends too, of course. Or, if you’re gossiping about a potential partner you might say to your friends me cae bien. Note that in this case, the conjugation is different.

As opposed to the second person singular form (tu) the word cae takes the third person singular form and the -s is dropped. Here’s an example:

Sabes que? Me cae bien el hijo de Marisol. ¿Esta soltero?

Do you know what? I like Marisol’s son. Is he single?

Top Spanish verbs related to love

To enhance your understanding, here’s a list of verbs used by native Spanish speakers, all of which are related to love:

EspañolEnglish
AcurrarseTo cuddle
BesarTo kiss
Estar colado porTo be smitten for (him/her)
Sentar cabezaTo settle down
Traer de un alaTo be deeply in love
Echar de menosTo miss
ProponerTo propose
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How Spanish expressions of love change depending the gender of the speaker

What you should keep in mind when expressing your love in Spanish is that certain phrases can differ depending on if a man is speaking or a woman is speaking. Take the phrase estoy enamorado de ti, which translates as ‘I’m in love with you’.

Did you notice that the adjective enamorado is masculine as it ends in an -o? What you might be able to tell from this is that the phrase is spoken by a man.

How would a woman say this phrase? Check out the example below:

Jorge, estoy enamorada de ti. Te amo mucho.

George, I’m in love with you. I love you a lot.

Notice that the adjective enamorada in this sentence ends in an -a? Well, this tells us that a woman is speaking.

Common Spanish idioms and expressions to bear in mind related to love

We’ve put this list of common Spanish idioms together that are frequently used by native speakers.

As idioms can’t be taken literally, be wary of translating them directly into English. They often use imagery to convey a particular meaning. We have included the literal translation and the actual meaning to help you:

Spanish IdiomLiteral TranslationActual Meaning
Eres mi media naranjaYou’re my half orangeYou’re my other half
Eres mi alma gemelaYou’re my soulmateYou’re my soulmate
El amor es ciegoLove is blindLove is blind
Amor con amor se pagaLove is repaid with loveLove is repaid with love
El amor entra por la cocinaLove enters through a kitchenThe way to (his) heart is through the kitchen

Two ways to practice using Spanish phrases for ‘I love you’

Now you’re more familiar with the key ways to express affection in Spanish, here are two final tips that will help you keep the essential phrases in mind.

  1. Reading romantic novels might not be your thing, but you’ll find it easier to spot these common ways to say ‘I love you’ in Spanish novels. You’ll be able to get used to pinpointing which contexts to use these phrases in, and for some people reading is simpler than listening. But if you prefer watching television, there are some telenovelas that normally focus on relationships between people. This will help you recognise these phrases in context.
  2. Otherwise, listening to music can also help you to pick up on these phrases. Choose catchy songs that are likely to stay in your head! It will make it simpler to remember these Spanish phrases.

When the time’s right, you’ll easily be able to tell your partner you love them in Spanish. Just keep practicing.


Got any other Spanish phrases for ‘I love you’ that we’ve forgotten?

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Donovan Nagel
Donovan Nagel - B. Th, MA AppLing
I'm an Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator with a passion for language learning (especially Arabic).
Currently learning: Greek
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