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“Querer” Conjugation in Spanish: All You Need to Know

Querer is an essential verb in Spanish to express desire. Querer can mean “to want”, but it can also mean “to love” (you may have heard that the phrase te quiero means “I love you”). As with pretty much any absolutely necessary and frequently-used Spanish verb, the verb querer is irregular, which means that it does not follow the usual conjugation patterns.

What kind of verb is querer?

Querer is a transitive verb, which means that it usually takes on one object. This can also be dropped in Spanish, which I will explain further below. It is either followed by a noun, a verb in the infinitive form (ending in er, ar, or ir), or que + subjunctive. In terms of what matters for conjugation, querer is an irregular, stem-changing, er verb.

Verbals of querer

To use querer in a sentence, you will either conjugate it, or use a verbal. Before we get into the querer conjugation, let’s start by seeing how the three verbals work with this verb.

Infinitive: querer (to want/to love)

Example:
Te voy a querer por toda la vida.
I am going to love you for life.

Gerund: queriendo (wanting/loving)

Example:
Mi hijo está queriendo salir.
My son is wanting to leave.

See more on how to use the gerund in our estar conjugation guide.

Participle: querido (wanted/loved)

Example:

Deberías disfrutar de tu vida, es lo que Marta habría querido.
You should enjoy your life, it’s what Marta would have wanted.

For an explanation on this structure, see our article on how to use haber.

Note: querido/querida is also a noun meaning something like “darling”.

Querer conjugation: basic forms

The most common querer conjugation forms are as follows:

Subject Present Preterite Future Imperfect
yo quiero quise querré quería
quieres quisiste querrás querías
él, ella, Usted quiere quiso querrá quería
nosotros queremos quisimos querremos queríamos
vosotros queréis quisisteis querréis querías
ellos, ellas, ustedes quieren quisieron querrán querían

If you are confused about any of the verb forms mentioned in this article, make sure you check out our ultimate guide to all the Spanish tenses.

Examples of querer conjugation in present tense

  • ¿Quieres que me quede más tiempo?
    Do you want me to stay longer?
  • Juanito no lo admite, pero yo sé que quiere mucho ir de paseo.
    Juanito doesn’t admit it, but I know he really wants to go out.
  • Los amigos de María la quieren mucho, es súper bonito.
    Maria’s friends love her so much, it’s really nice.

Even though querer in the present tense is technically an irregular verb, all of the conjugations follow the same pattern. So once you know one conjugation, you know them all. For me, hearing kids screaming “yo quiero…” over and over again was enough to remember this for life!

If you’re confused, see our guide to present tense in Spanish here.

Examples of querer conjugation in past preterite tense

  • Alejandra me pidió una bebida pero yo no quise invitar.
    Alejandra asked me for a drink but I didn’t want to shout.
  • Si realmente quisisteis vivir allá, entonces, ¿por qué no os trasladasteis?
    If you (pl.) really wanted to live there, then why didn’t you move?
  • Los alumnos quisieron burlarse de mí, por eso dijeron aquello.
    The students really wanted to make fun of me, that’s why they said that.

The past preterite form of querer is actually not used very often. This is because talking about wanting something in the past generally makes more sense using the imperfect form. For the preterite form of querer to be used, there is usually an implied decision being made or action being taken.

Examples of querer conjugation in future tense

  • Ahora Paulo dice que no le interesa el amor, pero seguro que algún día querrá.
    Today he says he’s not interested in love, but surely one day he will want (it).

For the future tense, the stem is shortened to only consist of querr. From there, the future is conjugated as normal. Again, this is not a very commonly heard form of the verb querer. When talking about wanting something in the future, it is more common to use the “going to” equivalent, which is ir a + infinitive verb. Learn more about the future tense here.

Examples of querer conjugation in past imperfect tense

  • Yo siempre quería entender por qué la gente discrimina a otros sólo por raza.
    I always wanted to understand why people discriminate against others just because of race.
  • Helena quería mucho escribirle a su ex-novio, pero nunca lo hizo. Helena really wanted to text her ex-boyfriend, but she never did.
  • Si ustedes querían tanto verme bailando, ¿por qué no me dijeron?
    If you (pl.) wanted so much to see me dancing, why didn’t you say so?

The best way to express past desires is using this past imperfect form of the verb querer. This expresses longing that was ongoing up until a certain point.

What is the difference between quise/quiso and quería?

Generally speaking, quise and quiso refer to a specific event, where someone wanted or didn’t want something at a specific time, and there was an outcome for that. On the other hand quería is more likely to be used in all other circumstances, so most general situations.

In many contexts, the past preterite form of querer can be used inerchangably with the past imperfect tense. So, while there is a distinction between these two, it is so minor that it’s not something you should worry about too much.

Querer conjugation: Advanced forms

The more advanced querer conjugation forms are as follows:

If you are confused about any of the verb forms mentioned in this article, make sure you check out our ultimate guide to all the Spanish tenses.

Subject Present Subjunctive (that you) want Imperfect Subjunctive
(if I) wanted…
Conditional
(I) would want
yo quiera quisiera querría
quieras quisieras querrías
él, ella, Usted quiera quisiera querría
nosotros queramos quisieramos querríamos
vosotros queráis quisierais querríais
ellos, ellas, ustedes quieran quisieran querrían

Examples of querer conjugation in present subjunctive

  • Cuando quieras salir, mándame un mensaje.
    When you want to go out, send me a message.
  • Haz lo que quiera, no me importa.
    Do whatever you (formal) want, I don’t care.
  • Me gustaría que mis colegas me quieran.
    I would like my workmates to love me.

As is usually the case even for irregular verbs, the subjunctive form of the Spanish verb querer takes the stem of the first-person present tense. It then adds the ending of a plus the regular pattern consonant.

Examples of querer conjugation in imperfect subjunctive

  • Si yo quisiera ser madre, ya habría tenido hijos.
    If I wanted to be a mother, I would have already had children.
  • Si quisieramos quedarnos en silenco, no estaríamos aquí.
    If we wanted to stay silent, we wouldn’t be here.
  • Me habría gustado que quisieran comer mi pastel.
    I would have liked it if you had wanted to eat my cake.

Querer is one of the most common verbs to use in the imperfect subjunctive form. This is because unlike other verbs in this form, quisiera can be used on its own and has a meaning of its own. Quisiera means something like “I would like” and is often used when ordering food in restaurants and cafes.

Examples of querer conjugation in conditional mood

  • Quien querría comer aquella cosa asquerosa?
    Who would want to eat that disgusting thing?

Like the past preterite form, the conditional form of querer is not a very commonly used one. This is because it is more common to use imperfect subjunctive (quisiera) instead to express conditional desire.

When you can drop the object with the Spanish verb querer 

In Spanish, it is common to use the Spanish verb querer in a sentence without any overt subject. This is because the object is implied. So, instead of saying “I want it” or “I want to”, they just say quiero.

For example:

  • Yo le pedí a Daniel que me acompañara pero no quiere.
    I asked Daniel to come with me, but he doesn’t want to.
  • Te ofrecí una galleta y me dijiste que no quieres.
    I offered you a biscuit and you told me you don’t want it.

So, that concludes our virtual lesson on the verb querer conjugation. Hopefully this article has cleared up some of your confusion around how querer is conjugated in Spanish. Remember, querer is irregular so what is true for this verb is not necessarily true for other verbs.

If you want to see how regular verbs are conjugated, or just want to brush up on your knowledge of the different tenses, make sure you check out our overview of tenses in Spanish, which has all the info you need.

Don’t forget to use Clozemaster to practise your Spanish sentences and test your knowledge of Spanish grammar.

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