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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



Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

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.


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.


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