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

Be the first to ask a question!

Find your Spanish level for FREE

Test your Spanish to the CEFR standard

find your Spanish level

Share the love!

Getting that for you now.