Using deber, poder, querer + infinitive to express must, can, to want to

These specific auxiliary verbs are used to express:

  • Obligation: Deber (must) + infinitive
  • Possibility: Poder (can) + infinitive
  • Intention: Querer (want to) + infinitive

Take a look at these examples: 

Debo estudiar para el examen.
I must study for the exam.

Podemos jugar al fútbol hoy.
We can play football today.

Quieren ir al cine el próximo sábado.
They want to go to the cinema next Saturday.

Note that to say must / can / want to in Spanish, you use:

Auxiliary verb (deber, poder, querer) + other verb in the infinitive



Examples and resources

Debemos ir al supermercado.
We must go to the supermarket.


Quieren ir al cine el próximo sábado.
They want to go to the cinema next Saturday.


Podemos jugar al fútbol hoy.
We can play football today.


Mi madre debe pagar las facturas de la casa.
My mother must pay the household bills.


Debo estudiar para el examen.
I must study for the exam.


Quiero aprender a cocinar.
I want to learn how to cook.


Q&A

Alexander

Kwiziq community member

27 September 2018

1 reply

May/might

Hola!

Which modal verb is used to express "may/might"?

Regards, 

Alexander

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

28 September 2018

28/09/18

Hi Alexander,

may/might can be expressed in different ways in Spanish. Most of the time we don't actually use modals. Here are some examples:

"He may come tonight":

1. A lo mejor viene esta noche. 2. Quizás venga esta noche. 3. Puede que venga esta noche.

"I might marry him."

1. A lo mejor me caso con él. 2. Quizás me case con él. 3. Puede que me case con él. 

We don't usually make a distinction between may and might.

Inma :))

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