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Temer, Pelear

What’s the difference between Temer and Tener miedo? Let’s learn how to talk about “fearing” and “being afraid” in Spanish. We’ll also practice the verb Pelear, which means “to fight”.

Full Podcast Episode


¡No peleen!

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

Today we’re going to learn two new verbs that are pretty easy to use. We’ll start with Pelear, which means “to fight”. So for example:

I don’t want to fight.

No quiero pelear.

This verb is clearly related to the word pelea, which is the noun for “fight”. And Pelear is conjugated exactly like Hablar. Note that most of the present-tense forms will stress the syllable “le”. So for example:

My friends fight a lot.

Mis amigos pelean mucho.

The exception is peleamos, which stresses “am”. So for example:

We fight about this sometimes.

Peleamos por esto a veces.

Notice the use of por here; in Spanish, you typically fight por something, or literally “because of” something.

Another note about conjugating this verb: The subjunctive forms are all based on pelee, spelled p-e-l-e-e. For example:

I don’t want you to fight with her.

No quiero que pelees con ella.

And of course the negative imperatives all use subjunctives, so for example, if you’re talking to more than one person:

(plural) Don’t fight!

¡No peleen!

Let’s practice Pelear.

One person was missing and that’s why we fought.

Faltaba una persona y por eso peleamos.

I don’t want you to fight, I already fight enough.

No quiero que pelees, yo ya peleo suficiente.

She wants me to fight like you fight.

Ella quiere que yo pelee como tú peleas.

Don’t fight! You had never fought before.

¡No pelees! Nunca habías peleado antes.

If she shuts up, it might be that they don’t fight.

Si ella se calla, puede que no peleen.

(Plural) Don’t fight! Her leg is not well.

¡No peleen! Su pierna no está bien.

She fights because she isn’t happy.

Pelea porque no es feliz.

Shut up! We only fight sometimes.

¡Cállate! Solo peleamos a veces.

If they fight, tell her to be careful with her forehead.

Si pelean, dile que tenga cuidado con la frente.

They are missing food and they could fight because of it.

Les falta comida y podrían pelear por ello.

She hasn’t been fighting; when she fights, I’ll tell you.

No ha estado peleando; cuando pelee, te lo diré.

Our next verb is Temer, which means “to fear”. For example:

I fear what could happen.

Temo lo que podría pasar.

Now, in modern English, we don’t really use the verb “to fear” very much; instead we talk about “being afraid of” something. In Spanish, there are two ways to talk about fearing something: You can use the verb Temer, or, perhaps more commonly, you can use Tener along with the word miedo, literally “to have fear” for something.

So for example, consider this sentence: I’m afraid of those things. We could translate this in one of two ways: Either temo esas cosas or tengo miedo de esas cosas. So how will we know which way to translate it?

In general, “to be afraid of” something is going to be tener miedo. But “to fear” sounds a little bit more formal in English, and it lines up well with Temer in Spanish, which also has a slightly more formal sound to it. So in our quizzing, the verb “fear” will translate to Temer, but “to be afraid of” something will translate to tener miedo. Try it yourself with the next two examples:

Do you fear death?

¿Temes la muerte?

Are you afraid of the future?

¿Tienes miedo del futuro?

Let’s get some practice with this.

He didn’t fear anything.

No temía nada.

He fears losing his hair.

Teme perder el pelo.

Her brain tells her she must fear you.

Su cerebro le dice que te debe temer.

I feared that before, but he doesn’t want me to fear.

Temía eso antes, pero él no quiere que tema.

Maybe he fears what will happen if two people are missing.

Quizás tema lo que pasará si faltan dos personas.

Now, there’s one more way that Temer is used. Check out this sentence in English:

I’m afraid I can’t let you come in.

So in this English idiom, we’re not actually afraid of anything; we’re just expressing regret over what we’re telling the other person. In Spanish, this translates to Temer, but actually it’s usually used pronominally for this. So here’s the Spanish:

Me temo que no puedo dejarte entrar.

Try it yourself in this next one:

We’re afraid we can’t do that.

Nos tememos que no podemos hacer eso.

So this is the one case where in our quizzing we’ll translate “to be afraid” as Temer.

Let’s get some more practice with both Temer and Temerse.

I’m afraid I can’t help you.

Me temo que no puedo ayudarte.

You don’t have to fear this.

No tienes que temer esto.

I don’t want him to fear what you fear.

No quiero que él tema lo que temes.

We’re afraid that she hasn’t shut up yet.

Nos tememos que ella no se ha callado aún.

She doesn’t want me to fear.

Ella no quiere que yo tema.

They are afraid that this medicine won’t be good for your nose.

Se temen que esta medicina no será buena para tu nariz.

One more note about Temer: Sometimes you’ll use Temer, in a non-pronominal way to refer to something that you’re afraid might be true. For example:

I fear that the food won’t be good.

Temo que la comida no esté buena.

So if we were sure one way or another, we’d lay Me temo que la comida no está buena. But for situations where you’re not sure, but you’re afraid it might be the case, you’ll use Temer and then a subjunctive. Try it yourself in these next two examples:

I fear that she will fight.

Temo que ella pelee.

He fears that he’ll have a heart attack.

Teme que tenga un ataque al corazón.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/212. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to the final quiz.

You have to shut up or you two will end up fighting.

Tienes que callarte o los dos terminarán peleando.

Don’t fight! It might be bad for your hair!

¡No pelees! ¡Puede ser malo para tu cabello!

They fear they want to fight.

Temen que quieran pelear.

The medic told me I have good health.

El médico me dijo que tengo buena salud.

That’s what she feared, because if we fight it might be bad for her ears.

Eso es lo que ella temía, porque si peleamos puede ser malo para sus oídos.

He fears that I’m not happy, but I am.

Él teme que yo no sea feliz, pero lo soy.

(Formal) Shut up and listen to the nurse(m)!

¡Cállese y escuche al enfermero!

This disease did something to her voice.

Esta enfermedad le hizo algo a su voz.

It is feared that people fight.

Es temido que la gente pelee.

They have shut up and nobody knows that he was sick.

Se han callado y nadie sabe que él estaba enfermo.

She doesn’t want me to fight because I’ve fought a lot.

Ella no quiere que yo pelee porque he peleado mucho.

She feared the party wasn’t here.

Ella temía que la fiesta no fuera aquí.

When you fight, she will have to shut up.

Cuando pelees, ella se tendrá que callar.

I don’t think she fears it, because you don’t fight much.

No creo que ella lo tema, porque no peleas mucho.

I’m afraid the wedding isn’t here.

Me temo que la boda no es aquí.

He doesn’t want me to fear for my arm.

No quiere que tema por mi brazo.

I don’t fight, but I will fight if they fight.

Yo no peleo, pero pelearé si ellos pelean.

The food was good, but other things were missing.

La comida estaba buena, pero faltaban otras cosas.

We’re afraid she doesn’t fight.

Nos tememos que ella no pelea.

I want them to fight and they want me to shut up.

Quiero que ellos peleen y ellos quieren que yo me calle.

We never fight, so shut up(plural)!

Nunca peleamos, ¡así que callénse!

You fear for your soul.

Temes por tu alma.

I want you to shut up, there isn’t anything to fear.

Quiero que te calles, no hay nada que temer.

(Plural) Fight so that I shut up!

¡Peleen para que yo me calle!

Be careful with your ear!

¡Ten cuidado con la oreja!

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/212.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll talk about the words for “one hundred”, “two hundred”, and so on so that we can count all the way to 999 in Spanish.

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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