How we express love differs from one culture to another, and from one language to another. That’s why, while English makes extensive use of the verb “love” to refer to all types of love: love to our couples, to our friends and family, our hobbies, or our pets, Spanish offers a huge array of words and expressions depending on who or what we love, and in what degree. What can I say: the Latin world oozes passion 😉
Today we will explore the many options we have to say I love you in Spanish, we’ll learn what to say to our significant other since the moment we meet them until we’re totally lost in love. Is it the same to say te quiero than to say te amo? What phrases do Spanish speakers use to say I love you in Spanish? Let’s see.
We don’t usually feel the same for a person when we first meet them that after a couple of dates, months, or years; and the richness of the Spanish language reflects that in its vocabulary. Take a look at this chart:
|1st date||2nd date||1 month||2 months||6 months||1 year|
|Me caes bien.|
I like you.
|Me gustas. |
I like you.
I like you a lot.
I love you.
I love you.
I adore you.
When we meet someone and we really enjoy hanging around with them, we can express this by saying “Me caes bien” or “Me agradas”. This means that you enjoy their company without showing any extra commitment.
A step forward from here is “Me gustas”. You’d say this if you’re attracted to the other person physically and maybe emotionally too.
Yet, if after a while you feel more connected to this person, you can say “Me encantas”, meaning “I more than like you, I really really like you”.
When you start having a feeling for them, you can move to “Te quiero”, but be careful because this phrase takes the relationship to another level. You don’t say “te quiero” just because.
Once you know that they are the one, and that you want to be with this person forever, you will finally say “te amo”.
“Te adoro” is a great phrase to emphasize the love you feel; it’s like “I more than love you, I really really love you.”
The degrees of I love you in Spanish
Depending on how intense our love is, we can use intensifiers to emphasize I love you in Spanish:
|Spanish (te quiero)||Spanish (te amo)||English|
|Te quiero||Te amo||I love you|
|Te quiero mucho.||Te amo mucho.||I love you very much.|
|¡Te quiero tanto!||¡Te amo tanto!||I love you so much!|
|Te quiero con todo mi corazón.||Te amo con todo mi corazón.||I love you with all my heart.|
|Te quiero con el alma.||Te amo con el alma.||I love you with all my heart.|
|Te quiero a morir.||Te amo a morir.||I love you to death.|
|Te quiero hasta el cielo ida y vuelta.||I love you to the moon and back.|
|Te quiero hasta la luna.||I love you to the moon.|
|Te quiero más que a mi vida.||Te amo más que a mi vida.||I love you more than my own life.|
What’s the difference between te quiero and te amo?
Both verbs can be used to say I love you in Spanish, yet they are not always interchangeable. We can say te quiero to our boyfriend or girlfriend, meaning that we love them, but te quiero is not restricted to romance. We can also use this phrase to address our family, our friends and even our pets. So, if somebody tells you te quiero, don’t take it for granted that this person is in love with you!
Te amo carries a different connotation, the feeling is deep and intense. This phrase is definitely the one to say to your couple because it does carry a very romantic connotation. Yet, it can also express deep affection when used to address your immediate family and your best friends.
Here's a Spring Spanish video (a language learning platform I co-founded) where teacher Cory explains the difference between te quiero and te amo:
Best romantic nicknames in Spanish
When we’re in love, we tend to call our significant one many different sweet names, like “my love”, “sweetie”, and so forth. Let’s learn a couple of romantic nicknames that you can turn to in case you fall in love with a Spanish speaker 😉
|Mi amor||My love|
|Mi vida||My darling|
|Mi corazón||My heart|
|Mi alma gemela||My soulmate|
|Mi media naranja||My other half|
And while you're at it, here's another Spring Spanish video where teacher Paulisima demonstrates various Spanish nicknames for your significant other:
Best romantic phrases in Spanish
Head over heels in love? The following chunks will come in handy to say I love you in Spanish in a particularly romantic way. Use them wisely…
|Estoy loco/loca por ti.||I’m crazy about you.|
|Me vuelves loco/loca||You drive me crazy.|
|Eres todo lo que siempre soñé.||You’re all I’ve ever dreamed of|
|Eres todo para mí.||You mean everything to me.|
|Quiero pasar el resto de mi vida contigo.||I want to spend the rest of my life with you.|
“All you need is love” prayed The Beatles back in the 60s, and it is the one assertion that still stands today, and will most certainly remain so for at least a long, long time. Now, expressing our love is as important as feeling it. No matter where we come from, we all love to know that we are loved, right?
And with the chunks in this article you can now start expressing your love in Spanish too!
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