You want to make that person feel special; tell him or her something that shows your feelings, but what words should you pick, how do you even say I love you in Spanish if that’s what you mean?
Interestingly, the words you pick for this situation matter a lot in this beautiful language.
This is because if you pick the wrong words, you could send the wrong signals to people.
I mean, you don’t want to tell your grandpa that you love him as a husband, do you? 😅
To avoid that uncomfortable confusion, in this blog post, I will share with you 19 different ways to say I love you in Spanish.
Yes, you read that well, we have that many expressions to say the same thing.
But why?… Let me explain myself.
Don’t say I love you in Spanish if that’s not what you feel!
In English, if you feel like you love someone, you say only one thing:
“I love you” 😍
It doesn’t matter who it is, you say it.
It might be your parents, your grandmother, your pet, your friends; heck! You might even love specific things you own, like your phone!
This would be just Like Phil from the show “Modern Family”. When he got his first iPad, he kept looking at it and told it with a soft voice:
“I love you”
What’s funny is that Claire, his wife, thought he was talking to her, and she replied:
“I love you too honey”.
Of course, you’re not here to learn to show love to your iPad, rather, you want to show your feelings for other humans!
Now, when you talk in Spanish you need to pay attention to your words because it all depends on the intensity of the love you want to express, or what kind of love you feel, you know…
- Is it a friendship?
- Are you saying it to your significant other?
- Or is this something you want to say to colleagues just to show appreciation?
In Gabriel Gracía Marquez’s mother language (Colombian writer), we have expressions for each of the contexts mentioned above.
Let’s go through them from less intense affection to more and more intense and romantic love.
#1 Me caes bien
This phrase means “I like you”, but it has no romantic intentions at all.
This is something you would say to a person who you met not so long ago, and you want to show some appreciation for the kind of person he or she has been this time.
If we were comparing love with money, then this is like giving “1 dollar” to someone for something we find good about them, for example:
Imagine you have a new workmate, he’s been nice to you and you say:
- Me has ayudado mucho en estos tres días, me caes bien.
You’ve helped me very much in these three days, I like you.
- Eres honesto y no tratas de robarle al jefe, me caes bien.
You’re honest, and you don’t try to rob money from our boss, I like you.
#2 Te aprecio
An accurate translation for this expression would be “I appreciate you”, and if you say this, you’re definitely showing affection for someone, but just friendly affection.
You know, this is like if we were sending a message like:
“We’re not exactly friends, but I appreciate you”
Like that colleague with whom you don’t hang out outside of work, and you never call him to say hi, but you like him as a person anyway.
When he gets fired, you could say:
- Estoy muy trieste porque te despidieron, yo te aprecio mucho, ¿hay algo en que te pueda ayudar?
I’m very sad because they fired you, I appreciate you very much, is there something I can help you with?
Or maybe if you want to recognize his hard work in a business meeting, you could say:
- Carlos, te aprecio mucho; desde que llegaste a la empresa, todo ha mejorado.
Carlos, I appreciate you very much; ever since you got to the company, things have improved.
Now, let’s say you’ve been interested in someone romantically, and you guys have even dated a couple of times; you know, you like this person, but then, out of the blue, she tells you one day:
- Yo te aprecio mucho…
If this is the case, my dear friend, let me tell you that you’re about to get dumped.
This is the kind of phrase couples use to end the fantasy and let you know that things are just not working out, however, they feel some “affection” for you.
In other words:
“Hit the road Jack, and don’t you come back, no more, no more, no more!” 😅
This isn’t really a word, it’s actually an acronym that stands for “Te Quiero Mucho”, and it literally means I want you very much.
Now, this “I want you” contracted as “TQM” is really an “I love you” with no intensity and no romance at all. Here’s how we pronounce it:
We can say it’s an expression to show affection to friends that you care for but this is someone who doesn’t mean that much to you.
You know, like classmates you hang out with at school, but when summer’s up, they’re totally gone.
Now, something interesting about this expression is that:
- It’s mostly used by young people.
- It’s a way to end letters.
- And people may say it out loud as a word too
Here’s an example in a short letter:
Me divertí mucho jugando basketball contigo, te traeré un recuerdo de mis vacaciones en la playa.
This would be the translation:
I had a lot of fun playing basketball with you, I’ll bring you a souvenir from my vacation at the beach.
And this is how would use it in out loud sentences:
- Bueno, TQM, me tengo que ir ya.
Well, I love you, I have to go now.
- Gracias por préstarme dinero para el almuerzo, TQM.
Thanks for lending me money for lunch, love you!
- Muchachos, gracias por ayudarme con esa tarea, TQM.
Guys, thanks for helping me with that homework, love you!
#4 Te quiero
Just as the previous phrase, this one translates “I want you” and it means I love you in Spanish.
However, if “me caes bien” was like giving “1 buck of love” to someone, “te quiero” is like giving 50$. In other words, you’re feeling something real now.
Native speakers use this phrase to show affection for special people like family, friends, pets, significant others (this isn’t deep love though!), or even sports teams!
- Gracias por venir a visitarme desde tan léjos, ¡te quiero mamá!
Thanks for coming to visit from such a far place mom, I love you!
- Muchachos nunca voy a olvidar esta fecha tan especial, los quiero a todos.
Guys, I’m never going to forget such a special date, I love you all.
- Qué día tan importante para nuestra selección nacional de fútbol, ¡te quiero selección!
This is such an important day for our national soccer team, I love you, team!
Actually, you may want to increase the intensity of your love by using adverbs like “mucho” or demasiado:
- Mi hermana sabe que yo la quiero mucho, no tengo necesidad de decirselo.
My sister knows that I love her very much, I don’t need to tell her.
- ¡Hola perrito! ¿Quién te quiere mucho? ¿Quién te quiere mucho? ¡Yo! Yo te quiero mucho mi perrito.
Hi, doggy! Who loves you so much? Who loves you so much?… that’s me! I love you very much, boy.
#5 Te quiero con…
Is what you feel so strong that using only “te quiero” feels like it’s not enough?
No worries, native speakers express deep love for the people they care for with this phrase, which consists of mixing “Te quiero con” and then something important and poetic” like:
- El corazón (I love you with the heart)
- El alma (I love you with the soul)
- Todas mis fuerzas (All my strengths)
- Todas las fuerzas de mi corazón (All the strength of my heart)
Yes, saying this to someone, means that this person is important to you; and even though you may hear it among family members, it’s more common to hear in romantic relationships, when they want to express that things are getting serious, maybe deep and that true love is flourishing.
Here are some examples using this phrase:
- Hijo, lo único que quiero para ti es que seas feliz, yo te quiero con todo mi corazón.
Son, I only want you to be happy, I love you with all my heart
- Amor, te quiero con todas las fuerzas de mi corazón;solo veo mi futuro contigo.
Honey, I love you with all my heart’s strength; I only see my future alongside you.
Actually, expressions like this one are widely used in songs, like “Amarte más no pude” by one of the most famous Colombian singers of all time, Diomedez Días.
If you hear the song, you’ll see this phrase using the preterit of “querer”: “quice”. He uses it to describe an intense love from the past.
Just go to minute 1:48 and you’ll see this sentence:
- Te quice con el alma, bien sabes, que amarte más no pude…
I loved with the soul (basically from the bottom of his heart), you know that pretty well, that I couldn’t love you more…
How to reveal your feelings for your crush in Spanish
Now that we’re finally talking about romantic love, I think it’s perfectly valid to include certain phrases that people use in Spanish to reveal what they feel for the people that take their breath away.
These expressions don’t mean “I love you” in Spanish, but they’re kind of the beginning of it.
In other words, if you’ve been dating that gorgeous Colombian who leaves your eyes like the WhatsApp little emoji that has hearts instead of eyes 😍…
Or if your relationship with that Mexican guy seems to be evolving into something else than a friendship, then you’re probably looking for these words in Spanish:
- #6 Me gustas: I like you.
- #7 Me encantas: Translated as ‘you enchant me’, but it communicates I like you very much.
- #8 Me fascinas: You fascinate me, and the idea is that you’re extremely attracted to his person romantically.
These expressions are perfect for that moment of truth, just “shoot” them at that person and see what happens!
I don’t only like you… I’m in love with you!
Perhaps you want to go deeper than telling the other person that you like her/ him. Maybe what you need is to show the real Romeo that lives inside of you.
If that’s the case, my dear friend, I’ve got the following options for you:
- # 9 Estoy enamorado(a) de ti: I’m in love with you.
- #10 Estoy loco(a) por ti: I’m crazy about you.
- #11 Me muero por ti: I die for you.
I arranged these phrases in order of intensity, being #11 the one that I consider sounds way stronger to reveal your feelings to your crush.
It says I die for you, which means that you’re willing to die just to be with that special person; of course, this isn’t literal, but the message is this:
“I’m head over heels in love…”
In fact, in Colombia, we have an idiom for when you’re in love with someone who doesn’t know about it just yet:
It doesn’t make any sense if we try to translate it because it would be something like “to be swallowed up”, but don’t worry about that, just know that it means to be secretly in love.
Now if you’re about to reveal your feelings to a Colombian, you can say:
- #12 Estoy tragado de vos: I’m in love with you.
If you say that, the other person will understand that you just can’t hold it anymore, you need to say what you’ve been carrying in your heart all this time:
Oh, love… when will you stop being a problem? 😫 ❣️ 😁
#13 Te amo
We have finally made it to the phrase that says everything there is to say about loving someone.
Literally, “Te amo” means “I love you”.
Now, this is the one that you’ll use with your immediate family such as:
- And perhaps siblings
This “I love you” is exclusive for the people that you care about the most.
It also works especially, and I want to highlight this word: ESPECIALLY with your significant other like your wife, husband, or just the boyfriend or girlfriend that you consider to be “the one”.
In other words, you might use #4, “te quiero” with many people in your life, but “te amo” is only for the “VIP members” of your life.
Here are some examples using this phrase:
- Amor, hoy, en nuestro aniversario quiero decirte que te amo.
Honey, today, on our anniversary I want to tell you that I love you.
- Hijo, pase lo que pase hoy en la escuela, recuerda que te amo y siempre serás un campeón para mí.
Son, whatever happens, today at school, remember that I love you and that you’ll always be a champion for me.
- Te amo papá, siempre has sido un super héroe para mí.
I love you, dad, you’ve always been a superhero for me.
Now, is this the “most intense” of all the phrases to express love to the most important people in your life?
Well, yeah, but we can give it a little more power with…
#14 Te amo con…
We’re mixing “Te amo” with another phrase that acts as an “extension” so that the phrase gets stronger and shows the people you love, that your feelings are for real.
Some of the most common phrases to make this mix and intensify the I love you in Spanish would be saying “Te amo” and then…
- Con todo mi corazón: I love you with all my heart.
- Desde el fondo de mi corazón: I love you from the bottom of my heart.
- Con toda mi alma: I love you with all my soul.
- Con todas mis fuerzas: I love you with all my strength.
- Más que a nada el mundo: I love you more than anything in the world.
For example, let’s get dramatic and imagine one of those Hollywood (toxic 😅) love scenes, in which the stars declare their unconditional love to each other:
- Nunca voy a separarme de ti, yo te amo con todo mi corazón.
I’m never getting away from you, I love you with all my heart.
- No puedo dejarte ir, yo te amo más que a nada en el mundo.
I can’t let you go, I love you more than anything in the world.
- Rosa, te amo con todas mis fuerzas, si saltas yo salto, ¿recuerdas?
Rose, I love you with all my strength, if you jump, I jump, remember? (I promise this isn’t Rose and Jack from Titanic! 😆)
Anyway, the previous 14 expressions are all basic ways to say I love you in Spanish; remember that it depends on who you talk to, and that romantic relationships use some very specific phrases like:
- Te quiero
- Te amo
Now, lovers might also want to consider the expressions from #15 to #19.
Because these are phrases that only crazy head-over-heels-in-love people would say:
#15 Te necesito
It means “I need you”, and yes, you might use this phrase for a non-romantic contexts like when you need an employee doing a certain task, for example:
- Robert, ¿dónde estás?… te necesito aquí atendiendo a mis clientes.
Robert, where are you?… I need you here serving customers.
Now, if the love you feel for a significant other makes you feel like you definitely need that special person to be okay, then “te necesito” comes in perfectly for you, for instance:
- No puedo estar bien si tú no estás, ¡te necesito! ¡vuelve conmigo carmenza!
I can’t be okay if you’re not here, I need you! Come back with me Carmenza!
- Eres lo más importante de mi vida, te necesito de verdad, no te vayas…
You’re the most important thing in my life, I need you for real, don’t go…
#16 Te adoro
This phrase means “I worship you” or “I adore you”, and even though it might sound pretty weird to say that to another human being in English, in Spanish, it’s a very poetic way to express your deep love for another person.
A variation of this expression is:
#17 Te venero.
And it makes sense to find them there because these kinds of songs are basically poems and music that go together.
Here are some examples of using these expressions:
- Te adoro todos los días de mi vida y para siempre.
I adore you every day of my life and forever.
- Te quiero, te amo y te venero; eres lo mejor que me ha pasado en mi vida.
I want you, I love you and I adore you; you’re the best thing that’s happened in my life.
#18 Eres mi…
Another way to say “I love you” in Spanish to that important person is by comparing them with something as important as your life or an indispensable thing like your own heart.
But how do you do that? Just begin with the phrase “eres mi” which means “you are my”, and then say something like:
- Todo: everything.
- Corazón: heart.
- Vida: Life.
- Estoy completamente perdido si tú no estás; eres mi todo.
I’m completly lost if you’re not here; you are my everything.
- ¿Cómo puedes decir que no te quiero? Tú eres mi corazón.
How can you say that I don’t love you? You are my heart.
- ¿Cuántas veces tengo que decir que te amo? ¡Tú eres mi vida!
How many times do I have to say that I love you? You are my life!
#19 Yo también…
Finally, I think it’s worth mentioning that if someone expresses love for you and this feeling is reciprocal, you should reply with “yo también” and then repeat what they said.
—Te quiero mucho papá
—Yo también te quiero mucho hijo.
Or may be
— Te amo mi amor
— Yo también te amo.
Just don’t say anything you don’t really feel, Latinos are very warm, romantic, and emotional, and I’m sure you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings for any kind of reason.
We have covered a lot today!
I’m sure that after going through this post, you already have an idea of the words you can use to say I love you in Spanish, and the expressions native speakers may use to show love.
We also talked about what expressions work for romantic and non-romantic relationships, and as a summary here’s a list of everything we covered today:
- Me caes bien
- Te aprecio
- Te quiero
- Te quiero con… el alma, el corazón, etc.
- Me gustas
- Me encantas
- Me fascinas
- Estoy enamorado(a) de ti
- Estoy tragado(a) de vos
- Estoy loco(a) por ti
- Me muero por ti
- Te amo
- Te amo con…
- Te necesito
- Te venero
- Te adoro
- Eres mi… todo, vida, corazón.
- Yo también…
Just remember, be honest, genuine, and love your people… oh and if you know any other way to say demonstrate love with words in Spanish, let me know in the comments below: