5 Ways to Use ‘Parecer’ in Spanish (Conjugations Included)


When learning Spanish, many people assume that parecer is the direct translation of ‘to seem’ or ‘to appear’. And this is true. But besides this, this verb has other meanings and applications. As a result, when people see this verb applied in different contexts, they wonder how to use ‘parecer’ in Spanish.

In Spanish, we use ‘parecer’ to ask and give opinions, talk about people’s resemblances, express assumptions, show agreement, or talk about looks and appearances. Depending on the context, ‘parecer’ means:

  • Sounds good
  • To think / to find
  • It seems / it appears / it looks like
  • Apparently 
  • To look like / To look alike

‘Parecer’ and its different meanings are very useful in Spanish conversations. As a result, in this article, we’ll explore the most common ways you can use and conjugate this verb. In fact, this is what we’ll cover:

  1. How to Conjugate ‘Parecer’ in Spanish
  2. Uses of ‘Parecer’
  3. Key Point

By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of how to use ‘parecer’ in Spanish. 

Before jumping into uses and meanings, let’s see some basic conjugation rules that you need to know.  

How to Conjugate ‘Parecer’ in Spanish

Parecer is a verb with irregularities in some of its conjugations. Most of the time, you’ll use the regular stem ‘parec’ to conjugate. However, sometimes, you’ll need to use ‘parezc’ to keep a consistent pronunciation. 

Many of parecer’s meanings work with impersonal conjugations. For that reason, in the tables below, I’ve bolded the third singular and plural forms since those are the only conjugations you’ll use in those cases. 

Is ‘parece’ a verb in Spanish?

In Spanish, ‘parece’ is the conjugation for the third person singular (él, ella, usted). However, it is also the impersonal form of ‘parecer’ which is used to express opinions, assumptions and to show agreement. In its impersonal form, parece works with indirect object pronouns. 

The impersonal form parece can be conjugated to any tense that you need. Here are some examples: 

(Indirect object pronoun) + [‘parecer’ conjugated] + [complement]

Parece que va a llover.
It looks like it’s going to rain.

A Luisa le pareció que fuiste muy grosero. 
It seemed to Luisa that you were very rude. 

Nos parece un poco injusta la decisión del jurado.
We find the jury’s decision unfair.

Parecía que íbamos a ganar, pero no funcionó la estrategia.
It looked like we were going to win, but the strategy didn’t work.

Indicative

Present tense conjugation

To conjugate ‘parecer’ to the present tense, you’ll use the stem parec. However, notice that ‘yo’ uses the irregular stem parezc  in order to preserve the pronunciation of the verb.

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoParezcoI look like
ParecesYou look like
Él / Ella / UstedPareceHe/She/It looks like
NosotrosParecemosWe look like
VosotrosParecéisYou look like
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasParecenThey/You look like

Preterite tense conjugation

The preterite tense uses the regular stem parec’.

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoParecíI looked like
ParecisteYou looked like
Él / Ella / UstedParecHe/She looked like
NosotrosParecimosWe looked like
VosotrosParecisteisYou looked like
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasParecieronThey/You looked like

Imperfect tense conjugation

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoParecíaI looked like
ParecíasYou looked like
Él / Ella / UstedParecíaHe/She looked like
NosotrosParecíamosWe looked like
VosotrosParecíaisYou looked like
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasParecíanThey/You looked like

Future tense conjugation

To conjugate this verb to both the future and conditional tense, you’ll need to add the corresponding endings to the infinitive verb.

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoPareceréI will look like
ParecerásYou will look like
Él / Ella / UstedPareceráHe/She will look like
NosotrosPareceremosWe will look like
VosotrosPareceréisYou will look like
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasPareceránThey/You will look like

Conditional tense conjugation

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoPareceríaI would look like
PareceríasYou would look like
Él / Ella / UstedPareceríaHe/She would look like
NosotrosPareceríamosWe would look like
VosotrosPareceríaisYou would look like
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasPareceríanThey/You would look like

Progressive Tenses

graphic showing how to conjugate parecer in progressive tenses

¿Cómo te está pareciendo la ciudad?
How are you finding the city?

Perfect Tenses

graphic showing how to conjugate parecer to spanish perfect tenses

Me había parecido buena opción al principio, pero ya no.
It had seemed like a good option at first, but not anymore.

¿Siempre te has parecido tanto a tu abuela?
Have you always looked so much like your grandmother?

‘Parecer’ Subjunctive Conjugations

Present subjunctive conjugation

To keep the pronunciation consistent in the present subjunctive, you’ll need to add the proper endings to the irregular stem parezc.

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoParezcaTo look like
ParezcasTo look like
Él / Ella / UstedParezcaTo look like
NosotrosParezcamosTo look like
VosotrosParezcáisTo look like
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasParezcanTo look like

Imperfect subjunctive conjugations

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoPareciera / ParecieseI looked like
Parecieras / PareciesesYou looked like
Él / Ella / UstedPareciera / ParecieseHe/She looked like
NosotrosPareciéramos / PareciésemosWe looked like
VosotrosParecierais / Parecieseis You looked like
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasParecieran / PareciesenThey/You looked like

Perfect subjunctive

graphic showing how to conjugate parecer in the perfect subjunctive tenses

Qué bueno que te haya parecido rica la comida.
It’s good that you found the food delicious.

¿Crees que le haya parecido buena idea salir de viaje?
Do you think she thought it was a good idea to go on a trip?

Imperative

Imperative conjugation

Since it’s a verb that helps you express your opinion about something, parecer doesn’t have an imperative form. After all, we cannot command people to change the way things seem to them. 

How to Use ‘Parecer’ in Spanish

The verb ‘parecer’ in Spanish is linked to perception. This means that we use it to talk about resemblances, describe the way things and people look, show agreement about something and express opinions.

In the sections below, I’ll show you the phrase structures you need to use in each one of these contexts. 

1. Asking and expressing opinions

One of the most common uses of ‘parecer’ is to ask and give opinions about a certain topic or activity. So, in this situation, ‘parecer’ means ‘to think’ or ‘to find’. With this meaning, there are certain rules that you need to follow:

  • Parecer follows the ‘gustar’ conjugation rules. So, depending on the topic or activity you’re talking about, you can only conjugate this verb in the third person singular or plural (parece or parecen). 
  • Parecer can be conjugated to any tense (past, present, future, etc) you need. 
  • An indirect pronoun precedes the verb. This pronoun needs to match the person who is giving the opinion

Okay, let’s put these rules to work with some examples. Notice that you can use this structure to either ask or give your opinion:

[Indirect pronoun] + [‘parecer’ conjugated] + (determiner) + (noun)

Chris, ¿qué te parece el libro que te presté?
Chris, what do you think about the book that I lent you?

¿Qué le parecieron a tu mamá las blusas que le regalaste?
What did your mom think about the blouses you gave her?

La maestra nueva me parece muy buena para enseñar.
I think the new teacher is very good at her work.

La verdad, me pareció una película muy mala. 
To be honest, I think it was a really bad movie. 

A ellos les parece fatal que el jefe te haya despedido.
They think it’s terrible that the boss fired you.

El subjuntivo y el imperfecto nos parecen muy difíciles de comprender.
We find the subjunctive and the imperfect tense very difficult to understand.

Notice that you can give your opinion about an object, but also about an action (like we did in example #5). 

2. To Talk About Resemblances

Another common way to apply ‘parecer’ in Spanish is to talk about physical similarities and resemblances between two or more people. In this case, we need to use the reflexive form parecerse which means ‘to look like’ or ‘to look alike’. 

Here are some examples, as well as the phrase structure you will need to use:

[Subject] + [reflexive pronoun] + [‘parecer’ conjugated] + (adv) + a + [person]

Michelle se parece mucho a su mamá.
Michelle looks like her mom a lot. 

¡Qué onda! Te pareces un montón a tu hermana.
What the heck! You look a lot like your sister.

No me parezco a mis papás, me parezco más a mis tías.
I don’t I look-alike to my parents; I look more like my aunts.

Here is another formula you can follow. Aside from the different elements they use, both options mean the same thing: 

[Subject] + [reflexive pronoun] + [‘parecer’ conjugated] + [adverb]

Tú y tus hermanos se parecen mucho. 
You and your siblings look much alike.

Linda y su hermano no se parecen
Linda and her brother don’t look alike

Sebastián y Alicia se parecían mucho cuando eran niños. 
Sebastian and Alicia looked much alike when they were little. 

3. To Talk about Someone’s Appearance or Look 

‘Parecer’ can also be used to talk about people’s appearance and looks. In this context, we can use this word to describe physical appearance, but also emotional states and personality. Given this meaning, in this situation, ‘parecer’ is the direct translation of ‘to seem’ or ‘to look’. 

Notice that, in this case, the conjugation of ‘parecer’ is based on the person whose appearance we’re describing. 

[‘Parecer’ conjugated] + (adv) + [adjective]

¿Estás bien? Pareces un poco triste.
Are you okay? You seem a bit sad.

Chicos, parecen ocupados, mejor les llamo mañana.
Guys, you seem busy. I’ll better call them tomorrow. 

¿Sabes si Priscila está bien? Parecía preocupada ayer.
Do you know if Priscilla is fine? She looked worried yesterday.

La chica nueva parece agradable, pero todavía no he hablado con ella.
The new girl seems nice, but I haven’t talked to her yet.

4. To Express Assumptions 

We Spanish speakers also use ‘parecer’ as a way to share some information that we assume based on what we see or know. As a result, in this context, this verb could be translated as:

  • It seems
  • Apparently
  • It looks like

Unlike other meanings of ‘parecer’, for this situation, you’ll need to use this verb in its impersonal form (without indicating who the subject is). Here are some examples of impersonal forms of ‘parecer’:

  • Parece que
  • Al parecer

[Impersonal expression] + [action]

Llévate un paraguas, parece que va a llover. 
Take an umbrella, it seems that it’s going to rain. 

Parece que Maggie y Lucas por fin se van a mudar.
It looks like Maggie and Lucas are finally moving out. 

¿Ya supiste? Parece que despidieron a Eva. 
Did you hear? It seems that Eva was fired. 

Al parecer nuestro pedido fue cancelado. 
Apparently, our order was canceled. 

Take Note: Both ‘parece que’ and ‘al parecer’ are used to introduce the assumption people are making. 

5. To Show Agreement 

In Spanish, we can also use ‘parecer’ to show our agreement with people’s suggestions or proposals. This use of ‘parecer’ is quite common in conversations where people are discussing the details of some activity they plan to do together.

In this context, ‘parecer’ means ‘sounds good’ and it’s usually applied as a response to someone’s proposal or statement. To create this meaning, you need to use indirect object pronouns. Here are some examples:

SpanishEnglish
Tu amigo: Oye, nuestro avión sale a las seis de la mañana, quedamos de vernos a las cuatro en el aeropuerto. Your friend: Hey, our plane leaves at six in the morning, we agreed on meeting at the airport at four. 
Tú: Me parece bien, ahí los veo. You: Sounds good to me. I’ll see you there. 
SpanishEnglish
Tu amigo: ¿Le dijiste a Clara sobre el viaje a la playa y los precios?Your friend: Did you tell Clara about the trip to the beach and the prices?
Tú: ¡Ah, sí! Dijo que le parece bien. ¿Cuándo nos vamos?You: Oh, that’s right! She said it sounds good to her. When are we leaving?

Key Points

‘Parecer’ is a Spanish verb with multiple meanings that can be applied to different situations. For that reason, in this article,we discussed the most common ways to use this verb in Spanish. Here are some key points that you may want to keep in mind:

  • ‘Parecer’ can be used to express agreement, opinions and to talk about a person’s looks or resemblance
  • The impersonal form parece can be used to ask and give opinions, and show agreement. This form follows the same conjugation pattern as ‘gustar’. 
  • The reflexive form parecerse is used to talk about people’s resemblance. 
  • ‘Parece que’ and ‘al parecer’ are forms of the verb ‘parecer’ that we use to express assumptions. 

Now that you have a better understanding of the contexts where you can use ‘parecer’, you should try to apply it into your conversation, ¿qué te parece? 😉 

Related Resources

How does ‘Gustar’ Works in Spanish: In some of its meanings, the verb ‘parecer’ follows the same conjugation patterns that ‘gustar’. In this article, you can learn more about the rules that you need to keep in mind. 

100 Spanish Adjectives to Describe Someone: This article, we’ll help you learn common adjectives so you can describe people’s appearance or emotional states more accurately. 

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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