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The Spanish verb Jugar is one way to translate the English verb “play”. Let’s practice using this slightly irregular verb in a variety of contexts, including all its common conjugations.

Full Podcast Episode


¡Juega con nosotros!

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

The Spanish verb Jugar means “to play”. Like the English verb, it can be used by itself or it can refer to a game that you’re playing. Here’s an example where it’s used by itself:

Your dog tries to play in the street.

Tu perro trata de jugar en la calle.

Here’s an example where it refers to what you’re playing:

She wants to play this, but we played it yesterday.

Ella quiere jugar a esto, pero lo jugamos ayer.

This is a bit weird. So in the second half of the sentence, we have lo jugamos ayer, which is a direct object. But in the first half of the sentence, we have jugar a esto, literally “to play to this”. The thing is, when you’re naming what game you’re playing, you often put an extra preposition a before it. Try it yourself in this next example:

We want to play this game.

Queremos jugar a este juego.

Now let’s talk about conjugating Jugar. This verb has a stem change; any time you would stress “jug”, it becomes “jueg”. So it ends up sounding a lot like Poder in the present tense: We have juego, juega, juegas, juegan, and then jugamos, which is regular.

Let’s get some practice with this verb.

If she plays, we play.

Si ella juega, nosotros jugamos.

Sorry, we didn’t play.

Disculpa, no jugamos.

That has meant that she didn’t play.

Eso ha significado que ella no jugó.

You never play with me, so I played alone.

Nunca juegas conmigo, entonces jugué solo.

Do you think it will hurt them if they play?

¿Crees que les hará daño si juegan?

(Formal) Excuse me, we’re playing here.

Disculpe, estamos jugando aquí.

We haven’t played in a while.

No hemos jugado en un tiempo.

The subjunctive forms of Jugar have the same stem change as the present-tense forms. So most of them are based on juegue.

Now, this word is spelled in a pretty weird way. So the normal present-tense form for “he/she plays” is juega, spelled j-u-e-g-a. And since this is a verb that ends in AR, we have to turn the A at the end into a letter E. But there’s a spelling issue here, because in Spanish, a G before an E always makes a “h” sound, as in gente and general. So what we do is we add a silent U right after the G. So the subjunctive juegue is spelled j-u-e-g-u-e, but that second U is silent. Juegue.

The other subjunctive forms also have that extra U. We have juegues, jueguen, and juguemos. Here’s an example:

My mom doesn’t want us to play this.

Mi mamá no quiere que juguemos a esto.

And then the imperatives are all based on words you already know. To tell one person to play, you’ll use juega, which is the same as the normal third-person form. And then the others are based on subjunctives. For example:

Let’s play another thing.

Juguemos a otra cosa.

Let’s practice the subjunctive and imperative forms of Jugar.

Don’t play like that!

¡No juegues así!

Let’s play together! It’ll be a pleasure.

¡Juguemos juntos! Será un placer.

She wants me to play with them.

Ella quiere que yo juegue con ellos.

I hope you play with us, it means a lot.

Espero que juegues con nosotros, significa mucho.

I don’t want her to play on top of the car.

No quiero que juegue encima del auto.

Please, play with us! So that we play as well.

Por favor, ¡juega con nosotros! Para que juguemos también.

One more thing about this verb: Note that in Spanish, the verb Jugar only refers to playing games or playing around for fun. It doesn’t refer to playing an instrument, or to playing a role in a movie or a production, or to playing a movie (as in pushing “play” on a device). There are different verbs for all of these other meanings.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/182. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

In this first one, the phrase además de in Spanish translates into English as “as well as”. Try to predict the Spanish.

She probably plays with her friends as well as with my friends.

Probablemente juega con sus amigos además de con mis amigos.

We’re playing together and it’s an honor.

Estamos jugando juntos y es un honor.

It’s a shame that we don’t play because of the heat.

Es una pena que no juguemos por el calor.

I’m cold, can we go behind the house and play there?

Tengo frío, ¿podemos ir detrás de la casa y jugar ahí?

No, I didn’t play yesterday. I haven’t played for a while.

No, no jugué ayer. No he jugado por un tiempo.

Do you forgive me? I want you to play with us.

¿Me disculpas? Quiero que juegues con nosotros.

Help me! I’m inside the house and I can’t go out to play.

¡Ayúdame! Estoy adentro de la casa y no puedo salir a jugar.

I don’t want to go; besides, they play without me.

No quiero ir, además, ellos juegan sin mí.

Help! I’m hungry.

¡Ayuda! Tengo hambre.

I always play everything, including the games I don’t like.

Siempre juego a todo, incluso a los juegos que no me gustan.

She always helps me and that’s why we play together.

Siempre me ayuda y por eso siempre jugamos juntos.

My friend wants me to forgive him because he doesn’t like this hatred.

Mi amigo quiere que yo lo disculpe porque no le gusta este odio.

Those things mean that we simply have to help him.

Esas cosas significan que simplemente tenemos que ayudarlo.

Excuse me, does he want me to help?

Disculpa, ¿él quiere que yo ayude?

(Formal) Forgive me, we didn’t play yesterday.

Discúlpeme, no jugamos ayer.

I hope she plays, she can help us.

Espero que ella juegue, nos puede ayudar.

That might mean that you play very well.

Eso puede significar que juegas muy bien.

Let’s play around the house!

¡Juguemos alrededor de la casa!

Don’t play with them! You have to help me.

¡No juegues con ellos! Tienes que ayudarme.

(Formal) Excuse me, do you know if she played last night?

Disculpe, ¿usted sabe si ella jugó anoche?

I don’t want them to forgive me, I only wanted to help you.

No quiero que me disculpen, yo solo quería ayudarte.

Play with me or you will give me pain!

¡Juega conmigo o me darás dolor!

She doesn’t think I play well.

Ella no cree que yo juegue bien.

That meant that she was playing with you.

Eso significaba que ella jugaba contigo.

Please, tell her to help me, I’m on top of the house.

Por favor, dile que me ayude, estoy encima de la casa.

I always played with my friends when I was a kid.

Siempre jugaba con mis amigos cuando era niño.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/182.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll learn some more numbers, all the way from forty to fifty-nine.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Ximena Lama-Rondón. 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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