Let’s conjugate Querer in the past! We’ll learn how to say “wanted”, “loved”, and a version of the word “meant” in Spanish. We’ll also work on Querer’s many subjunctive forms, which are more common than you might expect.
Today, unas cosas que hemos querido por mucho tiempo.
Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.
Yesterday we began learning the verb Querer, the Spanish verb that means “to want” or “to love”. Today we’re going to learn all the rest of the essential conjugations of this verb, including the imperfect past, the preterite, and the subjunctive.
The imperfect is quite simple, because it matches the pattern that we’ve learned for some other verbs. For Tener, we had tenía, for Hacer we had hacía, and for Querer we have quería. So these imperfect past-tense forms are quería, querías, querían, and queríamos. For example:
I wanted that.
Yo quería eso.
We didn’t want to do it.
No lo queríamos hacer.
Let’s practice these forms with a mini-quiz.
It’s clear that you wanted it.
Está claro que lo querías.
We loved our friends.
Queríamos a nuestros amigos.
You (formal) wanted to be here this week.
Usted quería estar aquí esta semana.
They loved their friend(f).
Querían a su amiga.
She wanted what I wanted.
Ella quería lo que yo quería.
You’ll use any of these forms to talk about the general past, which is normally how “wanting” something or “loving” someone works. But there are cases where you’ll need the preterite of Querer. Here’s an example. Imagine that you just made a mistake; you meant to do one thing, but you instead did another thing. You might say “oops, I didn’t want to do that.” To say:
I didn’t want to do that.
No quise hacer eso.
So we use the preterite here because we’re referring to a one-time event, not a general period of time in which you wanted or didn’t want to do something.
What’s interesting is that in English, we actually usually use a different verb for this: The verb for “meaning” to do something. Here’s another example:
She meant to do it that day.
Ella quiso hacerlo ese día.
So in our quizzing, for the most part, I’m going to use “wanted” when you’re expected to use the imperfect, but I’ll use “meant” when you’re expected to use the preterite.
All the preterite forms of Querer rhyme with the preterite forms of Hacer. So remember that in Hacer:
“I did” is hice
“he/she did” is hizo
“You did” is hiciste
“They did” is hicieron
And “We did” is hicimos.
In Querer, we do something similar, although the letter in the middle is an S rather than a C or a Z. So:
“I meant” is quise
“he/she meant” is quiso
“you meant” is quisiste
“they meant” is quisieron
And “we meant” is quisimos
Let’s practice these.
We didn’t mean to do it.
No quisimos hacerlo.
They meant to do the same thing.
Quisieron hacer lo mismo.
He meant to do that 3 minutes earlier.
Quiso hacer eso 3 minutos más early.
Quiso hacer eso 3 minutos más temprano.
You meant to be alone(f).
Quisiste estar sola.
I meant to help them(m).
Los quise to help.
Los quise ayudar.
Now let’s learn the subjunctive forms of Querer. These are all based on quiera, which ends with the letter A, unlike the present-tense form quiere that we learned yesterday.
Incidentally, this is an interesting pattern that you may have noticed with other verbs. If a verb ends with Er, the subjunctive form often has an A in it. For example, in Poder, most of the present-tense forms have an E near the end, for example puede and pueden, but the subjunctive forms change this vowel to an A, for example pueda and puedan. And then it’s the opposite for Estar: The normal present-tense forms have an A in them, such as está and estás, but the subjunctive forms have an E in them, for example esté and estés. This is a pattern common to most verbs: If the verb ends with Er, the subjunctive forms will have an A, and if it ends with Ar, the subjunctive forms will have an E.
So the subjunctive forms of Querer are quiera, quieras, quieran, and queramos.
Let’s practice these with a mini-quiz. In this first one, we’re going to use no estoy seguro to indicate not being sure about something, and after it we use a subjunctive. As a rule, this happens when you’re not sure about something, even though you use a normal conjugation when you are sure about something. So try this out:
I’m not sure she loves him.
No estoy seguro de que ella lo quiera.
I hope you (formal) want to be here.
I hope que usted quiera estar aquí.
Espero que usted quiera estar aquí.
They hope you want to be at the party.
They hope que quieras estar en la fiesta.
Esperan que quieras estar en la fiesta.
She wants me to want it.
Ella quiere que yo lo quiera.
I did it in order that they want it.
Lo hice para que lo quieran.
Here’s a tricky one:
She isn’t sure that we want to be here in the morning.
Ella no está segura de que queramos estar aquí en la mañana.
We’re also going to learn the past tense subjunctive forms of Querer, which are a lot more common than you might expect. In fact, the most common form, quisiera, is one of the top ten most-used forms of this verb. We’ll talk about why in a minute, but first let’s learn all the forms and practice using them.
Again, the most-used form is quisiera, which starts like the preterite forms but rhymes with some of our other past-tense subjunctives, such as fuera, estuviera, and hiciera. So we have quisiera for “I wanted” and for “he/she wanted”, we have quisieras for “you wanted”, we have quisieran for “they wanted”, and we have quisiéramos for “we wanted”.
Remember that we have two main sentence templates that we use for the past tense subjunctive. First of all, we use this for intentions in the past. For example:
I wanted them to love her.
Quería que ellos la quisieran.
And then we also have hypothetical statements about something we know isn’t true. For example:
If I wanted to be there, I would be there.
Si quisiera estar ahí, estaría ahí.
Let’s practice these.
If I wanted to go there, I would do it.
Si quisiera ir ahí, lo haría.
We would go if we wanted to.
Iríamos si quisiéramos.
I wanted you to want to go this month.
Quería que quisieras ir este mes.
If they wanted to be here, they would be here.
Si quisieran estar aquí, estarían aquí.
They wanted him to want that once and for all.
Querían que quisiera eso de una vez por todas.
She wanted you (formal) to want it.
Ella quería que usted lo quisiera.
All right, so, sure, you might find yourself occasionally needing words like quisiera in abstract sentences like these. But this doesn’t explain why the word quisiera is so very common, in the top 700 words in the Spanish language — used more frequently than such common words as “movie” or “clothes”.
The thing is, the verb Querer is unusual because the conditional form, which should be something like “querería”, is almost never used. Instead, the subjunctive actually does double-duty and is used in place of the conditional most of the time. So quisiera can mean “I wanted” (or “he wanted” or “she wanted”), in the past tense subjunctive, but it can also mean “I would want” (or “he would want” or “she would want”).
Here’s an example:
I would want something else.
Quisiera algo más.
And in fact, in some Spanish-speaking cultures, saying that you “would want” something is a common way to request something. In a setting such as a restaurant where you’re ordering food, it’s considered polite to request something by using the past tense subjunctive of Querer, even though this is totally different from the conventional ways of using the past tense subjunctive.
Let’s practice this a little bit.
I would want to be there at that time.
Quisiera estar ahí a esa hora.
You (formal) would want to go to Colombia.
Usted quisiera ir a Colombia.
You would want to go with them.
Quisieras ir con ellos.
You can dig into this further at LCSPodcast.com/72, and if you’re a member you can always ask your coach for extra materials to practice this in a way that’s matched to your current skills and needs. This is an important verb to master for deep, personal expression in Spanish, and it’s tricky, but once you break through to using this verb fluently, anything is possible in Spanish!
All right, now if you’re ready, here’s today’s final quiz.
I would want to do it myself(f).
Quisiera hacerlo yo misma.
It’s time for you to have what you want.
Es tiempo de tener lo que quieres.
(All of you) How is it going? I haven't seen you since back then.
¿Cómo les va? No los he seen since ese entonces.
¿Cómo les va? No los he visto desde ese entonces.
He didn’t mean to hurt you, so give it time.
No te quiso to hurt, así que tiempo al tiempo.
No te quiso lastimar, así que tiempo al tiempo.
I’m sure they’d do it if they wanted.
Estoy seguro de que lo harían si quisieran.
You meant for him to be happy.
Quisiste que él estuviera feliz.
She hopes I want what she has wanted.
Ella hopes que yo quiera lo que ella ha querido.
Ella espera que yo quiera lo que ella ha querido.
This month it might be that we want to be sure.
Este mes puede que queramos estar seguros.
How is it going? We meant to have you here that day.
¿Cómo te va? Quisimos tenerte aquí ese día.
She wanted me to want it.
Ella quería que yo lo quisiera.
I hope she wants to go once we are better.
I hope que ella quiera ir una vez que estemos mejor.
Espero que ella quiera ir una vez que estemos mejor.
They meant to throw a party, but she didn’t want to.
Quisieron hacer una fiesta, pero ella no quería.
I want to have a place to be alone(m) once in a while.
Quiero tener dónde estar solo de vez en cuando.
I have a moment this instant.
Tengo un momento ya mismo.
I’m not sure(m) they want to go at once.
No estoy seguro de que quieran ir a la vez.
(Formal) How is it going? I meant to talk with you this morning.
¿Cómo le va? Quise to talk con usted esta mañana.
¿Cómo le va? Quise hablar con usted esta mañana.
I hope you don’t want to leave.
I hope que no quieras irte.
Espero que no quieras irte.
If we wanted to go, we would go, but we don’t want to.
Si quisiéramos ir, iríamos, pero no queremos.
It was the moment to give them what they wanted.
Era momento de give them lo que querían.
Era momento de darles lo que querían.
He wants the same thing that I wanted.
Quiere lo mismo que yo quería.
You wouldn’t want to be there.
No quisieras estar ahí.
If you wanted to go and I wanted to go, we both(f) would go.
Si tú quisieras ir y yo quisiera ir, las dos iríamos.
Sometimes they want to do that at the same time.
A veces quieren hacer eso al mismo tiempo.
We didn’t want that house, but you wanted it.
No queríamos esa casa, pero tú la querías.
We’re going to want this.
Vamos a querer esto.
For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/72
In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll learn some new adjectives, including the words for “big”, “fast”, “serious”, and “new”.
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.