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Let’s explore a new regular Spanish verb, Cambiar, which means “to change”. We’ll get lots of practice using Cambiar and Cambiarse in a variety of real sentence contexts.

Full Podcast Episode


No quiero que cambies.

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today’s verb is Cambiar, which means “to change”. This is clearly related to the word cambio, which we learned as the noun for “change”, as in no me gustó el cambio. Here’s an example of Cambiar as a verb:

They might change it later.

Lo pueden cambiar más tarde.

So here, someone is doing the action upon something, or changing it. The verb Cambiar can be used this way; we call this a transitive use, where there’s a direct object being changed. Here’s another example:

I want to change it.

Lo quiero cambiar.

But just like the English verb “to change”, this verb can also be used intransitively to simply mean that something changes, without talking about who is changing it. For example:

This might change later.

Esto puede cambiar más tarde.

Let’s go ahead and start conjugating this verb. It’s conjugated exactly like the verb Hablar. Here are a couple of examples:

It changes every day.

Cambia todos los días.

You changed a lot of things here!

¡Cambiaste muchas cosas aquí!

Let’s get some practice with this verb.

They changed even though he hadn’t changed at all.

Ellos cambiaron aunque él no había cambiado para nada.

I want to stay home with the sixty-one things.

Quiero quedarme en casa con las sesenta y una cosas.

He always changes those things, but I never change them.

Él siempre cambia esas cosas, pero yo nunca las cambio.

I already changed, now you have to do it. Why don’t you change?

Yo ya cambié, ahora tú lo tienes que hacer. ¿Por qué no cambias?

He’s changing them now because he doesn't want her to change them.

Las está cambiando ahora porque él no quiere que ella las cambie.

Now for a couple of idiomatic uses of this verb. Check out what’s happening in this sentence:

I changed my clothes before the party.

Me cambié de ropa antes de la fiesta.

This is literally “I changed myself of clothing before the party”, but this is the normal way to use this verb; the person changing clothes acts upon themself, with a reflexive object, and then you use de ropa. Try it yourself in this next example:

Something seems different. Did you change your clothes?

Algo parece diferente. ¿Te cambiaste de ropa?

Here’s another case where Cambiar is often used with de. Check out this sentence:

I was going to go, but I changed my mind.

Iba a ir, pero cambié de idea.

This is literally “I changed of idea”, but it’s a common way to talk about changing your mind. Try it yourself in this next one:

Yes, I could change my mind later.

Sí, podría cambiar de idea más tarde.

So in these examples, Cambiar is used with de. It’s also sometimes used with por, specifically when you’re talking about trading or exchanging something for something else. For example:

I exchanged this thing for another one.

Cambié esta cosa por otra.

Try it yourself in this next one, where we’re translating Cambiar as “trade out”:

Can you trade this box out for another one?

¿Puedes cambiar esta caja por otra?

Let’s practice these idiomatic uses of Cambiar.

He wants me to exchange this for seventy dollars.

Quiere que cambie esto por setenta dólares.

He changed his mind because he realized he was in danger.

Cambió de idea porque se dio cuenta de que estaba en peligro.

Do you want to stay? They’re changing their clothes and they’re leaving.

¿Quieres quedarte? Ellos se cambian de ropa y se van.

Why did you change your mind? You know she’ll never change.

¿Por qué cambiaste de idea? Sabes que ella nunca cambiará.

Trade out this for those other things and we’ll have sixty.

Cambia esto por esas otras cosas y tendremos sesenta.

I don’t want you to change your mind because they are not going to change.

No quiero que cambies de idea porque ellos no van a cambiar.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/197. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

I don’t want him to exchange this, it’s worth like sixty-six dollars.

No quiero que cambie esto, vale como sesenta y seis dólares.

We stayed there because I change my mind all the time.

Nos quedamos ahí porque cambio de idea todo el tiempo.

They already changed their clothes. Why don’t you change too?

Ellos ya se cambiaron de ropa. ¿Por qué no te cambias también?

Her brother is changing. Do you think she’ll change?

Su hermano está cambiando. ¿Crees que ella cambiará?

I’m seventy-nine years old and he’s sixty-seven.

Tengo setenta y nueve años y él tiene sesenta y siete.

I’m staying home, I don't want to change it today.

Me quedo en casa, no quiero cambiarlo hoy.

She stayed in the place where we always stay.

Ella se quedó en el lugar donde nosotros siempre nos quedamos.

He’s sixty-one years old and has changed a lot.

Tiene sesenta y un años y ha cambiado mucho.

You’re seventy-five years old, you know that’s against the law.

Tienes setenta y cinco años, sabes que eso es contra la ley.

They have a system and that’s why they always stay there.

Tienen un sistema y por eso siempre se quedan ahí.

You said you weren’t going to change it. Why did you change it?

Dijiste que no lo ibas a cambiar. ¿Por qué lo cambiaste?

They want me to stay with them so that I don’t lose my freedom.

Quieren que me quede con ellos para que no pierda mi libertad.

They change their minds all the time, but it’ll be fine if you stay with them.

Cambian de idea todo el tiempo, pero estará bien si te quedas con ellos.

We said it to her like sixty-eight times, but she doesn’t want to stay.

Se lo dijimos como sesenta y ocho veces, pero no quiere quedarse.

We never exchange what they give us, but he always exchanges everything.

Nunca cambiamos lo que nos dan, pero él siempre cambia todo.

I’ll stay here. I’m sixty-one, I have the right to do it.

Me quedaré aquí. Tengo sesenta y uno, tengo derecho a hacerlo.

May you have a good time at that program!

¡Que lo pases bien en ese programa!

Don’t change your clothes because no food has remained.

No te cambies de ropa porque no ha quedado comida.

He will stay here, that’s why they want me to change my mode of talking.

Él se quedará aquí, por eso quieren que cambie mi modo de hablar.

In the nineties we didn’t have services like this.

En los años noventa no teníamos servicios así.

He wants to stay here and wants her also to stay.

Él quiere quedarse aquí y quiere que ella también se quede.

We want you to change it because you have more strength.

Queremos que tú lo cambies porque tienes más fuerza.

Exchange that for this because there is nothing left at home.

Cambia eso por esto porque no queda nada en casa.

I’m seventy-two years old and she’s seventy-seven.

Tengo setenta y dos años y ella tiene setenta y siete.

Stay here, he already changed his mind like seventy-four times.

Quédate aquí, él ya cambió de idea como setenta y cuatro veces.

There were seventy-six people there and I had to change clothes.

Había setenta y seis personas y me tuve que cambiar de ropa.

There were sixty-three people, but we were all in silence.

Había sesenta y tres personas, pero todos estábamos en silencio.

I can’t change my mind now, I need to have calm.

No puedo cambiar de idea ahora, necesito tener calma.

A lot of things are going to remain after the party.

Van a quedar muchas cosas después de la fiesta.

We changed our minds once we talked to her.

Cambiamos de idea una vez que hablamos con ella.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/197.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’re going to work on some tricky uses of pronouns.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Michael Agudelo. Our music was performed by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

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