Dejar in Spanish: Conjugations, Meanings & Uses


In this short guide, we will cover the following topics for ‘dejar’ in Spanish:

  1. What does ‘Dejar’ mean?
  2. Dejar Conjugations
  3. How to Use ‘Dejar’ in Spanish
  4. Expressions & Idioms with ‘Dejar’
  5. Synonyms of ‘Dejar’ in Spanish

What does ‘Dejar’ mean?

Definition – ‘Dejar’ is the direct translation of ‘to leave’. As a result, it describes that a person abandoned a place or left an object in a certain place. Dejar is also used to explain that an activity stopped, that someone has permission to do something or to describe that something caused a reaction. 

‘Dejar’ has multiple meanings in Spanish, so the context and grammatical elements used with it can change the meaning of the word. Here are some definitions and translations that will allow you to understand when and how to use this verb:

  1. When placing something in a spot, leaving a place or another person, ‘dejar’ is  translated as ‘to put’ or ‘to leave’.
  2. If stopping an activity, ‘dejar ’ means ‘to stop’ doing something.
  3. When referring to giving permission, it is translated as ‘to allow’ or ‘to let’.
  4. If  expressing feelings, reactions or the results of a situation, it means ‘to be’ or ‘to leave’

‘Dejar’ Conjugations 

When it comes to conjugating it, ‘dejar’ is a regular verb. This means that the stem will not change. So, to conjugate ‘dejar’ in Spanish, you’ll eliminate the ending -AR and you’ll add the corresponding endings to the stem ‘dej’. 

Below are some conjugation charts that will help you learn how to conjugate ‘dejar’ in Spanish. 

Indicative

Present tense conjugation

To conjugate dejar in the present tense, we use the stem ‘dej’ and use the endings underlined in the table below. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YodejoI leave
dejasYou leave
Él / Ella / UsteddejaHe/She leaves
NosotrosdejamosWe leave
VosotrosdejáisYou leave
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasdejanThey/You leave

Preterite tense conjugation

PersonConjugationTranslation
YodejéI left
dejasteYou left
Él / Ella / UsteddejóHe/She left
NosotrosdejamosWe left
VosotrosdejasteisYou left
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasdejaronThey/You left

Imperfect tense conjugation

PersonConjugationTranslation
YodejabaI left
dejabasYou left
Él / Ella / UsteddejabaHe/She left
NosotrosdejábamosWe left
VosotrosdejabaisYou left
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasdejabanThey/You left

Future tense conjugation

To conjugate ‘dejar’ in future tense, you’ll use the verb in its infinitive form and will add the endings underlined on the table below.  

PersonConjugationTranslation
YodejaréI will leave
dejarásYou will leave
Él / Ella / UsteddejaráHe/She will leave
NosotrosdejaremosWe will leave
VosotrosdejaréisYou will leave
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasdejaránThey/You will leave

Conditional tense conjugation

Just like in the future tense conjugation, we create the Spanish conditional tense by using dejar in its infinitive form and adding the corresponding endings for each subject. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YodejaríaI would leave
dejaríasYou would leave
Él / Ella / UsteddejaríaHe/She would leave
NosotrosdejaríamosWe would leave
VosotrosdejaríaisYou would leave
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasdejaríanThey/You would leave

Progressive Tenses

Espérame, estoy dejando a María en la escuela
Give me a sec, I’m leaving Mary at school

Te estuvimos dejando mensajes, ¿no los recibiste?
We were leaving you messages, you didn’t receive them?

Perfect Tenses

Nosotros no hemos dejado de estudiar español
We haven’t stopped studying Spanish

Creí que les había dejado más comida
I thought that I had left you more food

Dejar Subjunctive Conjugations

Present subjunctive conjugation

PersonConjugationTranslation
YodejeTo leave
dejesTo leave
Él / Ella / UsteddejeTo leave
NosotrosdejemosTo leave
VosotrosdejéisTo leave
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasdejenTo leave

Imperfect subjunctive conjugations

PersonConjugationTranslation
Yodejara / dejaseI left
dejaras / dejasesYou left
Él / Ella / Usteddejara / dejaseHe/She left
Nosotrosdejáramos / dejásemosWe left
Vosotrosdejárais / dejaseisYou left
Ustedes / Ellos / Ellasdejaran / dejasenThey/You left

Perfect subjunctive

Ojalá hayas dejado tu celular en la mesa
I hope you left your phone on the table

Si me hubieras dejado más temprano, habría llegado a tiempo
If you had left me earlier, I would have arrived on time 

Imperative

Imperative conjugation

When forming the Spanish imperative mood with dejar, notice that most of the subjects (nosotros, vosotros, ustedes) follow the present subjunctive conjugation. However, this is not the case with ‘tú’ whose ending is ‘a’.

PersonConjugationTranslation
dejaYou leave
NosotrosdejemosWe leave
VosotrosdejéisYou leave
UstedesdejenThey/You leave

Take Note: To form the negative imperative with ‘dejar’, all subjects follow the present subjunctive conjugation. See the examples below. 

Chavas, no dejen de estudiar.
Girls, do not stop studying.

No dejen sus pertenencias afuera porque se pueden mojar.
Do not leave your belongings outside because they may get wet.

How to Use ‘Dejar’ in Spanish with Examples

‘Dejar’ has multiple meanings in Spanish. However, the main uses that you should keep in mind are: 

  1. To say ‘to leave’
  2. When explaining that an action finished or stopped
  3. To describe that someone gave his or her permission
  4. Talk about the reactions or feelings that something caused you

To say ‘to leave’

As the direct translation of ‘to leave’, in Spanish, the verb ‘dejar’ is used when talking about putting or leaving a person or thing in the place or in the manner that is desired. As mentioned before, in this context, ‘dejar’ is translated as ‘to leave’ or ‘to put’.

[Dejar conjugated] + [article] + [noun] + [complement]

Dile que deje el cuchillo en el lavabo.
Tell him to put the knife in the sink.

Deja los libros en la mesa, yo los guardo más tarde
Leave the books on the table, I’ll put them away later.

(Ellos) Dejaron al niño con mi hermana, ella lo cuidará.
They left the child with my sister, she will take care of him.

Take Note: Just like in English, in certain situations, ‘dejar’ expresses or implies that a person forgot something in a certain place.

Dejaste tu sombrero en casa de mi abuelo
You left your hat at my grandfather’s house

Creo que dejamos nuestras maletas en tu casa, no las encuentro
I think we left our bags at your house, I can’t find them

‘Dejar’ can also be used to express that a person left or abandoned either a place or another person. In this context, it can be translated as ‘to depart’ or ‘to leave’. Below there are the phrase structures that you need for each case. 

[Dejar conjugated] + [determiner] + [place]

Dejaré la Ciudad de México en dos semanas, regresaré a casa.
I will leave Mexico City in two weeks, then I will go back home.

Dejaremos este departamento para mudarnos a otro.
We will leave this apartment to move to another one.

Notice that when talking about people, you need to use the preposition a to introduce the person that you’re referring to. 

[Dejar conjugated] + [preposition ‘a’] + [person]

Dejó a su esposo porque la engañó.
She left her husband because he cheated on her.

Expressing that an activity stopped

One of the most common uses of ‘dejar’ in Spanish is to describe that a person stopped doing an action. As a result, in this situation, ‘dejar’ means ‘to stop’. In order to apply this meaning, ‘dejar’ works with the preposition ‘de’. 

Below there is the phrase structure that you need to use when talking about someone or something ceasing activity. Notice that the activity or action that you’re referring to will be described with a verb in infinitive form. 

[Dejar conjugated] + de + [verb in infinitive form]

Deja de correr, puedes resbalarte.
Stop running, you might slip.

No dejó de llover desde las 11 am.
It hasn’t stopped raining since 11 a.m.

No hemos dejado de practicar español.
We haven’t stop practicing Spanish.

Dejen de hacer eso, pueden lastimarse.
Stop doing that, you can hurt yourself.

Samantha y Laura no dejaron de llorar en toda la película.
Samantha and Laura didn’t stop crying throughout the movie.

Take Note: By using the negative form ‘no dejar de; you can express that an action or activity has not or did not stop. 

Describing that someone is allowed to do something

‘Dejar’ can also be used when talking about giving permission to perform an activity or allow someone to do something. Therefore, in this situation, ‘dejar’ means ‘to let’, ‘to permit’ or ‘to allow’. 

Below there is a phrase structure that you can use. Notice that the verb in infinitive form expresses the thing that you might or might not be allowed to do. 

[Direct object pronoun] + [dejar conjugated] + [verb in infinitive]

¿Me dejarías salir
Would you let me out?

Déjame ver si tengo algún compromiso mañana.
Let me see if I have any commitments tomorrow.

Mamá, ¿nos dejas ir a la fiesta con Nancy?
Mom, would you let us go to the party with Nancy?

No te dejó entrar porque estaba limpiando la casa.
He wouldn’t let you go in because he was cleaning the house.

Take Note: Note that, depending on the type of conjugations that you’re using, you can place the direct object pronoun either before or after the verb conjugated. Here you can learn more about where to place object pronouns in Spanish

Describing reactions or feelings caused by something

Another use of this verb in Spanish is to express feelings, reactions or the consequences that resulted from a given situation. In this case, the verb ‘dejar’ is used with the participle of a verb and is translated as ‘to be’.

[Direct object pronoun] + [Dejar conjugated] + [verb in past participle]

Su comentario me dejó asombrado.
I was astonished by his comment.

La conducta de mis primos nos dejó confundidos.
The behavior of my cousins left us confused.

Me dejó muy contento la visita de Sergio.
I was very happy with Sergio’s visit.

Take Note: Past participles are not only used to form compound tenses such as he tenido un mal día (I had a pretty bad day), but they can also be used as adjectives to describe someone’s feelings and emotions (just like the previous examples). 

Dejar Expressions & Idioms

Dejar plantado: This informal expression is used when someone does not show up at all for an appointment. ‘Dejar plantado’ is translated as ‘to stand up’ or ‘to ditch’.

Dejar con la palabra en la boca: In Spanish, this expression is used when someone stops listening to another person when he/she is about to say something. It can be translated as ‘to cut someone off’ or ‘to leave someone in mid-sentence’.

Dejar con el ojo cuadrado: This expression means that a person or situation astonished or surprised someone. It can be translated as ‘to left wide-eyed’ or ‘to be in awe’.

Dejar en paz: In Spanish, we use dejar en paz to ask  someone to stop bothering or annoying us. It can be translated as ‘to leave alone’ or ‘to leave in peace’

Dejarse de tonterías: This expression is used to ask someone to stop wasting time on issues that lead to nothing. It can be translated as ‘ to stop saying nonsense’ or ‘ to stop fooling around’.

Synonyms of ‘Dejar’ in Spanish

Poner: When talking about placing an object in a spot, this verb can be used instead of ‘dejar’. It is translated as ‘to put’.

Permitir: If we are talking about giving permission or allowing someone to do something, this verb can be used instead of ‘dejar’ in a slightly more formal way. It is translated as ‘to permit’, ‘to allow’ or ‘to enable’.

Parar de: In Spanish, ‘parar de’ is also used when someone stops doing something or an event has stopped happening. It is translated as ‘to stop’.

Abandonar: If we are talking about leaving a place or establishment, this verb is used instead of ‘dejar’ in a formal or poetic way. It is translated as to abandon’.

Irse: In Spanish, irse conveys the meaning of leaving a certain place or location. It can be translated as ‘to go away’, ‘to leave’ or ‘to depart. 

Related Resources
‘To leave’ in Spanish: Difference Between ‘Dejar’, ‘Salir’ & ‘Irse’

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I’ve taught Spanish in Mexico to a wide array of foreigners. From students and tourists to doctors and soldiers who’ve moved and visited here over the years. During the day I’m a freelancer and marketer, while at night I’m here writing for students of the world wide web looking to learn Spanish. I hope you find what you’re looking here during your journey into Español 🙂 Read More About Me

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