Querer in Spanish: Conjugations, Meanings & Uses


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

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

What does ‘Querer’ mean?

Definition – In Spanish, ‘querer’ is used to talk about wishes as well as to show affection to other people. As a result, it can be translated as ‘to want’, ‘to love’ or ‘to appreciate’ depending on the situation.

graphic showing querer changes in spanish
  1. When talking about wishes, ‘querer’ means ‘to want’.
  2. If showing affection to others, ‘querer’ can be translated as ‘to love’ or ‘to appreciate’.

‘Querer’ Conjugations 

In Spanish, ‘querer’ is an irregular verb, which means that its stem and endings will vary depending on the tense and the subject. These irregularities are spelling changes that are meant to keep the pronunciation consistent. 

Indicative

Present tense conjugation

To conjugate ‘querer’ to the present tense with singular pronouns, you’ll need to change the ‘e’ for an ‘ie’. As a result, the stem for yo, tú and él is quier, while for the plural subjects you’ll keep it as quer.

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoQuieroI want
QuieresYou want
Él / Ella / UstedQuiereHe/She wants
NosotrosQueremosWe want
VosotrosQueréisYou want
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasQueremosThey/You want

Preterite tense conjugation

As you can see, the conjugation for the preterite tense is also very different from the original word. In this case, the stem for preterite is quis for all the subjects. Notice that also the endings will experience some irregularities. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoQuiseI wanted
QuisisteYou wanted
Él / Ella / UstedQuisoHe/She wanted
NosotrosQuisimosWe wanted
VosotrosQuisisteisYou wanted
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasQuisieronThey/You wanted

Imperfect tense conjugation

In the imperfect tense, ‘querer’ is regular. So, in this case, you only need to remove the -ER ending from the verb and add the proper endings to quer’. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoQueríaI wanted
QueríasYou wanted
Él / Ella / UstedQueríaHe/She wanted
NosotrosQueríamosWe wanted
VosotrosQueríaisYou wanted
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasQueríanThey/You wanted

Future tense conjugation

The stem to conjugate to the future tense as well as the conditional tense is querr. In the conjugation charts below, I’ve underlined the future endings that you need to add to this stem. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoQuerréI will want
QuerrásYou will want
Él / Ella / UstedQuerráHe/She will want
NosotrosQuerremosWe will want
VosotrosQuerréisYou will want
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasQuerránThey/You will want

Conditional tense conjugation

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoQuerríaI would want
QuerríasYou would want
Él / Ella / UstedQuerríaHe/She would want
NosotrosQuerríamosWe would want
VosotrosQuerríaisYou would want
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasQuerríanThey/You would want

Progressive Tenses

graphic showing how to conjugate querer to the present progressive tenses in spanish

La niña estuvo todo el día queriendo jugar a las muñecas.
The girl spent the whole day wanting to play with dolls.

Perfect Tenses

graphic showing how to conjugate querer to the indicative perfect tenses

Ella ha querido ese puesto desde que llegó a la empresa.
She has wanted that position since she came into the company.

He querido comprar este libro desde hace mucho tiempo. 
I have wanted to buy this book for a long time.

Querer Subjunctive Conjugations

Present subjunctive conjugation

Depending on the subject that you’re conjugating, the stem for the present subjunctive also changes from quier to quer.

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoQuieraTo want
QuierasTo want
Él / Ella / UstedQuieraTo want
NosotrosQueramosTo want
VosotrosQueráisTo want
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasQuieranTo want

Imperfect subjunctive conjugations

The imperfect subjunctive uses the same stem that you’d use to conjugate to the preterite tense. So, to conjugate querer in this tense, you’ll use the irregular stem quisfor all the subjects. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoQuisiera / QuisieseI wanted
Quisieras / QuisiesesYou wanted
Él / Ella / UstedQuisiera / QuisieseHe/She wanted
NosotrosQuisieramos / QuisiésemosWe wanted
VosotrosQuisierais / QuisieseisYou wanted
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasQuisieran / QuisiesenThey/You wanted

Perfect subjunctive

graphic showing how to conjugate querer to the perfect subjunctive

Me hubiera gustado que las cosas hubieran sido diferentes. 
I would have liked it if things happened differently.

Que yo haya querido ser abogado hace años, no significa que todavía quiera.
Just because I wanted to be a lawyer years ago doesn’t mean I still want to.

Imperative

Imperative conjugation

Notice that the stem for the imperative form also changes depending on the subject. Remember that to conjugate this verb in its negative imperative form, and vosotros follow the present subjunctive conjugation.

PersonConjugationTranslation
QuiereWant
NosotrosQueramosLet’s want
VosotrosQueredWant
UstedesQuieranWant

[‘Querer’ imperative] + [complement]

Quieran mucho a sus padres, no estarán aquí por siempre.
Love your parents very much, they won’t be here forever.

How to Use ‘Querer’ in Spanish with Examples

‘Querer’ does not have a lot of different meanings, however, it’s one of the most frequently used words in Spanish, so knowing the ways in which you can use it will help you considerably.

  1. Talking about wishes
  2. To express affection

Talking about wishes

When talking about a person’s desires, ‘querer’ can be translated as ‘to want’ and sometimes as ‘to like’. It can be used to talk about wanting to have something, do something or to refer to situations that someone wishes would’ve happened.

[‘Querer’ conjugated] + [complement]

Quiero un carro nuevo.
I want a new car.

¿Quiere más hielos en su bebida?
Would you like more ice in your drink?

If you want to explain the activities or actions that you wish to do, you can use the following structure. Notice that ‘querer’ can be used to talk about current wishes or things that we wanted to happen, but they didn’t. 

[‘Querer’ conjugated] + [verb in infinitive form]

Quiero comprar otros zapatos. 
I want to buy other shoes. 

Queríamos ir a dar un paseo pero está lloviendo.
We wanted to go for a walk but it’s raining.

La verdad, Sara y yo hubiéramos querido ver otra película. 
To be honest, Sara and I would’ve wanted to see another movie. 

Adding ‘que’ after ‘querer’ is normally used to refer to things that someone wants another person to do.

(Noun) + [‘querer’ conjugated] + que + [complement]

Los niños quieren que los lleve al parque.
The kids want me to take them to the park.

Mi mamá quería que fuera doctor.
My mom wanted me to be a doctor.

Expressing affection

‘Querer’ is used when expressing affection or love to another person or animal. Keep in mind that, even though it’s translated as ‘to love’,  in Spanish there are different words for each ‘level’ of affection. ‘Querer’ is a somewhat lighter and more casual version of the verb ‘amar’ and it’s common to use it with friends and family.

[Indirect pronoun] + [‘querer’ conjugated]

Feliz cumpleaños, Samantha, te quiero.
Happy birthday, Samantha, I love you.

Olivia ha tenido a su gato desde los diez años, lo quiere mucho.
Olivia has had her cat since she was ten, she loves him very much.

You can use the following formula to talk about the people to whom you love. 

(Noun) + [‘querer’ conjugated] + a + [complement]

Quiero a mi tía como si fuera mi madre.
I love my aunt as if she were my mother.

Victor quiere mucho a sus abuelos.
Victor loves his grandparents very much.

Querer Expressions & Idioms

Querer es poder: It means that if you have the will to do something, you can do it. A similar expression in English is ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’.

Querer decir: It can be translated as ‘to mean’, ‘to try to say’ or ‘to want to say’. It is frequently used to clarify a misunderstanding or to give a definition.

Sin querer: It is used to describe something that was done by accident or without intention.

Synonyms of ‘Querer’ in Spanish

Desear: It means ‘to desire’ or ‘to wish’. In Spanish, ‘querer’ is used much more frequently to talk about desires.

Amar: In Spanish, ‘amar’ means ‘to love’. This is widely used, however, it usually holds a romantic connotation or is only used with close friends and family.

Anhelar: Translated as ‘to long’, it is also a word to express wishes and desires. This verb is used in more formal conversations.

Related Resources:
To Love in Spanish – Te amo vs Te quiero
11 Ways to Say ‘I love You’ in Spanish

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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