Conquering the Spanish Verb 'Querer': A Detailed Study for Aspiring Polyglots

May 12th, 2023 - Vera

Learning Spanish opens doors to a world rich in culture, history, and diversity. One of the key verbs to master in this language is ‘Querer’, a versatile and frequently used verb that translates to ‘to want’ or ‘to love’. The purpose of this guide is to help you conquer ‘Querer’ and enhance your proficiency in Spanish.

The Basics of ‘Querer’

The verb ‘Querer’ is an irregular verb, meaning it doesn’t follow the regular conjugation patterns. In the present tense, ‘Querer’ conjugates as follows:

The irregularity is visible in the change from ‘e’ in the root to ‘ie’ in all forms except for ‘nosotros’ and ‘vosotros’.

Uses of ‘Querer’

‘Querer’ is primarily used to express desire or want. For instance:

Additionally, ‘Querer’ can express love or affection when used with a person:

Note that when ‘Querer’ is used with a person in this way, it requires the use of the personal ‘a’.

Expressing Refusal with ‘Querer’

When used in the negative form in the present tense, ‘Querer’ can express refusal:

‘Querer’ in the Past Tense

Understanding ‘Querer’ in the past tense is critical for communicating past desires or actions. In the preterite (simple past), ‘Querer’ has an irregular form:

For example:

Interestingly, ‘Querer’ in the negative form in the preterite can mean ‘to refuse’:

In the imperfect tense, ‘Querer’ is also irregular:

For instance:

‘Querer’ in the Future Tense

In the future tense, ‘Querer’ is irregular:

An example of this might be:

Common Expressions with ‘Querer’

There are many common expressions in Spanish that use ‘Querer’. Some of these include:

For instance:

Using ‘Querer’ with Direct and Indirect Objects

‘Querer’ can be used with direct and indirect objects. A direct object receives the action of the verb directly, while an indirect object is indirectly affected by the action.

For example:

Subjunctive Mood and ‘Querer’

The subjunctive mood in Spanish is used to express various states of unreality such as doubt, possibility, necessity, or action that has not yet occurred. The present subjunctive conjugation of ‘Querer’ is:

For instance:

Imperative Mood and ‘Querer’

The imperative mood is used to give commands or orders. The imperative form of ‘Querer’ is:

For example:

-¡Quiere más! (Want more!)

‘Querer’ in the Conditional Mood

The conditional mood is used to express actions that are not guaranteed to occur, often because they are dependent on certain conditions. The conjugation for ‘Querer’ in the conditional is:

An example of this could be:

The Gerund Form of ‘Querer’

The gerund form, or -ing form, of ‘Querer’ is ‘queriendo’. This form is used to indicate an ongoing action in the present. It can be used with the verb ‘estar’ to form the present progressive tense:

The Past Participle of ‘Querer’

The past participle of ‘Querer’ is ‘querido’. This form is often used with the verb ‘haber’ to form the present perfect tense:


Mastering ‘Querer’ is a significant step towards fluency in Spanish. It’s a versatile verb that allows you to express a wide range of desires, feelings, and intentions. As you have seen, ‘Querer’ is irregular in some tenses, but don’t let that deter you. With consistent practice, you will internalize these patterns and use them naturally in conversation.

Remember, becoming a polyglot isn’t just about learning vocabulary and grammar. It’s about immersing yourself in the language and culture. So, use ‘Querer’ as much as you can in your Spanish conversations, and before long, you’ll find yourself not just ‘queriendo hablar español’ (wanting to speak Spanish), but actually doing it with confidence and flair. ¡Buena suerte! (Good luck!)

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