Modal verbs in Spanish
Modal verbs in Spanish are used together with the infinitive of a full verb. They "modify" the statement of the full verb in the sentences to express a possibility, necessity, ability, obligation or permission. The following verbs are the most important modal verbs in Spanish:
- poder (can)
- saber (to know)
- querer (to want to)
- deber (must)
- soler (to do sth. usually)
- tener que (to have to)
The spanish verb "poder" expresses a possibility:
- ¿Puedes ayudarme? - Can you help me?
- ¿Puedes venir a la reunión? - Can you come to the meeting?
- Hoy no puedo ir al trabajo. - Today I can not come to work.
Saber (to know)
As a modal verb "saber" describes an ability:
- Mi hija todavía no sabe nadar. - My daughter still does not know how to swim.
- Sé tocar el piano. - I know how to play the piano.
- Los estudiantes no saben hablar francés. - The studens know how to speak French.
Querer (to want)
With "querer" you can express a possibility:
- Quiero hacer una fiesta. - I want to have a party.
- Queremos viajar a Tenerifa. - We want to travel to Tenerifa.
- El perro no quiere comer. - The dog doesn't want to eat.
The modal verb "deber" is used to describe obligations:
- Debes ponerte botas. - You must wear boots.
- Los niños deben dormir temprano. - The children musst sleep early.
- Debes trabajar más. - You must work more.
Soler (to do sth. usually)
"Soler" is used to express regularities:
- Suelo estudiar por la tarde. - I usually study in the afternoon.
- Jorge y Laura no suelen ir a ese restaurante. - Jorge and Laura usually do not go to that restaurant.
- Toda la familia suele comer junta los domingos. - The whole family usually eat together on Sundays.
Tener que (to have to)
With "tener que" you can describe obligations:
- Tengo que estudiar mucho para el examen. - I have to study very much for the exam.
- Tienes que decir algo. - You have to say something.
- No tienen que caminar a la casa. - The don't have to walk to the house.
In this lesson you got to know the most important modal verbs in Spanish. Test your knowledge now in our free exercises. Good luck!
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