How to say 'I love you' in Spanish

Love is complicated. Some say that it is a cultural phenomenon while others say it is based on individual chemical makeup while yet others say it is God-sent, divine. Confusion adds to complication when love ventures into other languages – especially Spanish. Love in Spanish need not be so complicated, amigo! Master the different ways to say ‘I love you’ and you will be well equipped to say it to anyone, anywhere…in Spanish.

The Battle Between “Te Quiero” and “Te Amo”

  • Te quiero - Te quiero is simple. It literally translates to ‘I want you’ but is translated to ‘I love you.’ It can be used towards your family, friends, and spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend. This is the safest way to say ‘I love you’ to anyone you want to express your love towards.
  • Te amo - Te amo means ‘I love you’ as well but it cannot be used when in reference to your family and friends. This term is rarely used in general but when it is, it is reserved for your lover/true love. You might see ‘Te amo’ in classic Spanish literature and poems too.

Other Love-ly Phrases

  • Te extraño - I miss you
  • Me gustas - A romantic kind of like that implies desires, wants, sexuality and lust
  • Te quiero para mi or Quiero que seas mío-a - I want you
  • Un par de tortolitos - A pair of lovebirds
  • Enamorarse de alguien - To fall in love with someone
  • Estar enamorado(a) de alguien - To be in love with someone
  • El amor de mi vida - The love of my life
  • Fue un flechazo - It was love at first sight
  • Amante - A lover
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