How to say "to be looking forward" with tener ganas and estar deseando

To express "to be looking forward" to doing something we can use different constructions in Spanish, but the most common ones are:

Tener [muchas] ganas de + infinitive

This is used to express either what you "feel like doing" or that you "are looking forward to something". Remember not to omit the "de".

Let's see some examples:

Tengo ganas de comer calamares.
I feel like eating squid.

Tengo ganas de ver a Luisa. La última vez fue hace dos años.
I look forward to/I feel like seeing Luisa. The last time was two years ago.

Tengo muchas ganas de empezar el nuevo curso.
I am really looking forward to starting the new course.

Ahora mismo tengo muchas ganas de comerme un helado de chocolate.
Right now I really feel like having a chocolate ice cream.

The context will make it clear which meaning applies.

The same can be expressed with another construction:

 Estar deseando + infinitive

Estar deseando conveys a higher level of "wish"; therefore, it is normally translated as "to be looking forward to doing something" or "to not able to wait to do something", more than simply "to feel like doing something."

Here are some examples:

Estamos deseando llegar al hotel y meternos en la piscina.
We are looking forward to arriving at the hotel and getting in the pool.

Estaba deseando conocer a ese chico.
I was looking forward to meeting that guy.

Estabas deseando tomarte una cerveza fría, ¿verdad?
You were looking forward to having a cold beer, weren't you?

To convey this meaning you really need to use the verb desear as it doesn't work the same way with a synonym like querer. For example:

"Estoy queriendo ver a mi marido." (incorrect)

"Estoy deseando ver a mi marido." (correct)

(I am looking forward to seeing my husband.)

Remember:

Tener ganas de + infinitive

Estar deseando + infinitive 

To feel like [doing something] / To be looking forward to [doing something]

Literal translations from English to Spanish don't work. In this context, do not use this type of construction in the English way:

"Estoy mirando a..." (I am looking forward to...)

"No puedo esperar a..." (I can't wait to...)

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Tengo ganas de comer calamares.
I feel like eating squid.


Estaba deseando conocer a ese chico.
I was looking forward to meeting that guy.


Ahora mismo tengo muchas ganas de comerme un helado de chocolate.
Right now I really feel like having a chocolate ice cream.


Tengo muchas ganas de empezar el nuevo curso.
I am really looking forward to starting the new course.


Tengo ganas de ver a Luisa. La última vez fue hace dos años.
I look forward to/I feel like seeing Luisa. The last time was two years ago.


Estamos deseando llegar al hotel y meternos en la piscina.
We are looking forward to arriving at the hotel and getting in the pool.


Estabas deseando tomarte una cerveza fría, ¿verdad?
You were looking forward to having a cold beer, weren't you?


Q&A Forum 4 questions, 6 answers

StuartB1Kwiziq community member

Significance of the object pronoun

Hola,

Ahora mismo tengo muchas ganas de comerme un helado de chocolate.

Is there something to be inferred about the addition of me to the end of comer? As in some extra desire, or is this just another way of saying the same thing with no subtlety of difference?

Gracias,

Asked 3 days ago
InmaKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hola Stuart,

This use of "se" is called "se dativo" in Spanish grammar. It is more colloquial and it intensifies/emphasises the action, as John said. With verbs like comer and beber, it also adds the sense of "completion of the action": "eat up/drink up".

For example:

"Leí un libro muy interesante." or "Me leí un libro muy interesante." 

"El bebé ha comido una manzana." or "El bebé se ha comido una manzana."

Un saludo

Inma

VladA2Kwiziq community member

To me me it sounds like "I want to feed me". 

JohnB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hola Stuart,

I have heard that it means something like "eat up" or colloquially we would say "gobble up" - as if you were really hot and you needed something cold or chocolaty, and would just like to eat the whole thing up in one go.

Saludos

John

Significance of the object pronoun

Hola,

Ahora mismo tengo muchas ganas de comerme un helado de chocolate.

Is there something to be inferred about the addition of me to the end of comer? As in some extra desire, or is this just another way of saying the same thing with no subtlety of difference?

Gracias,

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DanielC1Kwiziq community member

Ella estaba deseando empezar su viaje a Honduras

"Ella estaba deseando empezar su viaje a Honduras."


The quiz translated this as "She is looking forward to starting her trip to Honduras." Wouldn't that be "Ella está deseando empezar su viaje a Honduras."?

Asked 2 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Daniel,

Gracias. Ahora está corregido. 

Un saludo

Inma

Ella estaba deseando empezar su viaje a Honduras

"Ella estaba deseando empezar su viaje a Honduras."


The quiz translated this as "She is looking forward to starting her trip to Honduras." Wouldn't that be "Ella está deseando empezar su viaje a Honduras."?

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EmanuelB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Tenía/tuve/tendré ganas

Can I use tener ganas with past and future tenses?

Asked 2 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Emanuel

Yes you can. For example:

Después del primer mes en ese curso, tendrás ganas de tener un descanso, porque es un curso muy intenso.

After the first month in that course, you will be looking forward to having a rest, because it is a very intense course.

Or,

Mientras viajaba por Europa, siempre tenía muchas ganas de ver nuevos monumentos antiguos.

While I was travelling through Europe, I always felt like seeing new old monuments.

It is less commonly used in the preterite, though, "tuve ganas de.." because when you feel like doing something or are looking forward to something I guess it is something more of an ongoing action and the preterite would restrict that. 

Saludos,

Inma

Tenía/tuve/tendré ganas

Can I use tener ganas with past and future tenses?

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EmanuelB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

La ultima vez

Could I say La ultima vez que la vi fue hace...


Asked 2 months ago
InmaKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hola Emanuel

Here:

Tengo ganas de ver a Luisa. La última vez fue hace dos años.

I look forward to/I feel like seeing Luisa. The last time was two years ago.

You could also say: 

Tengo ganas de ver a Luisa. La última vez que la vi fue hace dos años.

I look forward to/I feel like seeing Luisa. The last time I saw her was two years ago.

Un saludo

Inma

La ultima vez

Could I say La ultima vez que la vi fue hace...


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