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The Spanish verb Volver means “to go back”, “to come back”, or to do something again. Let’s explore this complex verb and get lots of verbal practice!

Full Podcast Episode


Volvamos a hacer esto.

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

Today we’re learning the very important but complicated Spanish verb Volver. At a very basic level, volver means “to go back” somewhere or to “come back” somewhere. For example:

He was far away for a month before coming back.

Estuvo lejos por un mes antes de volver.

The participle of this verb is irregular; it’s vuelto, spelled v-u-e-l-t-o. So for example:

I went there once but I haven’t gone back.

Fui allí una vez pero no he vuelto.

But the reason that this verb is so common is because it’s used in a way that’s very surprising to English speakers. See if you can tell what’s happening in this Spanish sentence:

No quiero volver a hacer eso.

So literally this means something like “I don’t want to go back to doing that”. But in Spanish, the sense here is “I don’t want to do that again”. When you use Volver, and then the preposition a, and then an infinitive, you are indicating doing something again. Here’s another example:

She has done it again!

¡Ella ha vuelto a hacerlo!

Now, this can be frustrating for learning Spanish, because we now have four different ways to translate the word “again”! We have otra vez, we have de nuevo, we have de vuelta, and now we have the verb Volver. The fact is, there’s actually no simple way to know which way to translate a sentence that uses “again” in English; in Spanish, it could use any of these four different ways of saying “again”. But believe it or not, Volver is perhaps the most common way to do it.

Let’s go ahead and get some practice with the infinitive, volver, and the participle, vuelto, before learning more conjugations of this verb.

She wants to work again.

Quiere volver a trabajar.

She hasn’t come back because she feels sad.

No ha vuelto porque se siente triste.

He has gone straight home again.

Ha vuelto a ir derecho a casa.

I don’t want to do that again.

No quiero volver a hacer eso.

You don’t have to go back if you don’t want to.

No tienes que volver si no quieres.

You feel like you can’t go back.

Sientes que no puedes volver.

She hasn’t done it again since last week.

No lo ha vuelto a hacer desde la semana pasada.

All right, now let’s learn to conjugate Volver. This is important, because in order to use Volver to say “again”, you don’t conjugate the verb that is happening again; you instead conjugate Volver. So for example, check out this sentence in English:

She called me again.

In English, we conjugate the verb “called”. But in Spanish, we actually conjugate the verb Volver and then simply use a llamar. So here’s the Spanish:

Ella me volvió a llamar.

Literally this seems to say something like “she went back to calling me”, but that’s not how it would be translated; it would be translated as “she called me again”. Ella me volvió a llamar.

Note that this preterite conjugation, volvió, is one of the most common forms of the verb because you can use it to say that any singular third person did an action again. Try it yourself in this next example. The friend is feminine.

My friend(f) went out partying again.

Mi amiga volvió a salir de fiesta.

All of the preterite forms of Volver are conjugated exactly like the preterite forms of Deber. So “I went back” is volví, the informal “you went back” is volviste, “they went back” is volvieron, and “we went back” is volvimos. Let’s practice all of these, both to mean “go back” and to mean “again”.

He didn’t go back until later.

No volvió hasta más tarde.

I went back to the left house.

Volví a la casa izquierda.

You went straight back home after the party.

Volviste derecho a casa después de la fiesta.

I didn’t do it again.

No lo volví a hacer.

We went to that place again another day.

Volvimos a ir a ese lugar otro día.

They didn’t speak about the general idea again.

No volvieron a hablar de la idea general.

You worked until late again.

Volviste a trabajar hasta tarde.

Now let’s go on to the present-tense forms. Most of them have a stem change, so instead of “volvo” we have vuelvo, as well as vuelve, vuelves, and vuelven. This is very much like the change that Poder goes through, since we have puedo instead of “podo”; the stressed O in the stem turns into a “ue” sound. So for example:

He does it again.

Lo vuelve a hacer.

See if you can predict this next one:

I’m not doing that again.

No vuelvo a hacer eso.

The form for “we go back” is volvemos, which is regular. This is because it doesn’t stress the O in the stem, which is related to what we discussed about stem changes back in Episode 117.

Let’s practice all the present-tense forms of Volver.

We are going to his house again.

Volvemos a ir a su casa.

(Formal) You are working again and you shouldn’t.

Usted vuelve a trabajar y no debería.

I’m going on the right path again.

Vuelvo a ir por el camino correcto.

You aren’t doing that again.

No vuelves a hacer eso.

The teenage boy comes back, but they don’t talk to him again.

El muchacho vuelve, pero ellos no vuelven a hablar con él.

The subjunctive forms all have an A near the end, so we have vuelva, vuelvas, vuelvan, and volvamos. For example:

They don’t want you to do it again.

No quieren que vuelvas a hacerlo.

Let’s practice these.

Maybe we’ll come back another day.

Quizás volvamos otro día.

She doesn’t want me to go back.

Ella no quiere que yo vuelva.

I hope they don’t do it again.

Espero que no lo vuelvan a hacer.

I want you(formal) to come back to our house.

Quiero que usted vuelva a nuestra casa.

God doesn’t want you to do that again.

Dios no quiere que vuelvas a hacer eso.

He is a gentleman, so I hope he comes back.

Él es un caballero, así que espero que vuelva.

An interesting thing about the verb Volver is that the future tense is particularly common. So for example:

I won’t do that again!

¡No volveré a hacer eso!

Now, normally in Spanish, it’s common to phrase this with Ir and an infinitive, for example no voy a volver a hacer eso (literally “I’m not going to do that again”). But Volver has a particular tendency to avoid that and simply use its own future-tense conjugations. Here’s another example.

We’ll call her again.

La volveremos a llamar. 

Let’s practice all the future-tense forms of Volver.

I feel like they won’t come back.

Siento que no volverán.

He will do it again if you let him.

Lo volverá a hacer si lo dejas.

You will come back home soon.

Volverás a casa pronto.

We won’t talk to the teenage girl again.

No volveremos a hablar con la muchacha.

I will work again soon.

Volveré a trabajar pronto.

To wrap up, let’s learn some imperatives. The simple informal imperative is vuelve, which, as usual, is the same as the present-tense third-person singular form. So for example:

Call him again!

¡Vuelve a llamarlo!

And then the formal version is vuelva, which is the same as the corresponding subjunctive form. So for example:

Go out again.

Vuelva a salir.

If you’re talking to a group of people, you’ll use vuelvan. For example:

(ustedes) Work on those things again.

Vuelvan a trabajar en esas cosas.

To refer to a group of people that includes yourself, you’ll use volvamos. So for example:

Let’s do this again.

Volvamos a hacer esto.

And then remember that to give a negative imperative, you’ll use no and then the corresponding subjunctive. For example:

Don’t do this again.

No vuelvas a hacer esto.

Let’s practice all of these imperatives.

Come back here now!

¡Vuelve aquí ahora!

(Formal) Do that again, please!

¡Vuelva a hacer eso, por favor!

Don’t go to the last place again.

¡No vuelvas a ir al último lugar!

(Plural) Go back home because I don’t feel well.

Vuelvan a casa porque no me siento bien.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/151. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

They won’t talk to him about the demons again.

No volverán a hablar con él sobre los demonios.

You have to go back; if you go back, everything will be fine.

Tienes que volver; si vuelves, todo estará bien.

I don’t want her to come back, but I want you to come back.

No quiero que ella vuelva, pero quiero que tú vuelvas.

Don’t do that again or she will be sad again.

No vuelvas a hacer eso o ella volverá a estar triste.

He isn’t talking to her again.

No vuelve a hablar con ella.

You came back because I came back.

Volviste porque yo volví.

I don’t want us to go back to the secret place.

No quiero que volvamos al lugar secreto.

I will think about my future wife again.

Volveré a pensar en mi futura esposa.

We always come back home early.

Siempre volvemos a casa temprano.

(Formal) Don’t come back unless you say you’re sorry.

No vuelva a menos que diga que lo siente.

We felt the same thing again; do you feel it?

Volvimos a sentir lo mismo; ¿lo sientes?

He always comes back at four, but yesterday he came back at three.

Siempre vuelve a las cuatro, pero ayer volvió a las tres.

We’ll see each other again when they come back.

Nos volveremos a ver cuando ellos vuelvan.

I want her to come back to her house.

Quiero que vuelva a su casa.

(Plural) Don’t do that again! This isn’t real.

¡No lo vuelvan a hacer! Esto no es real.

I haven’t seen the lady again in a while.

No he vuelto a ver a la dama en un tiempo.

I’m going back to the hospital.

Vuelvo al hospital.

Come back to school! We haven’t seen you again.

¡Vuelve a la escuela! No te hemos vuelto a ver.

They spoke with her again, and she wants us to come back.

Volvieron a hablar con ella y ella quiere que volvamos.

They talk about the devil again.

Vuelven a hablar del diablo.

You’ll see the house on the right, but not the one on the left.

Volverás a ver la casa a la derecha, pero no la de la izquierda.

I have felt like a saint, but now I have to go back.

Me he sentido como un santo, pero ahora tengo que volver.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/151.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll learn the Spanish verbs for “arrive” and “search”.

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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