Skip links
Published on: Vocabulary

‘I Love You’ in Spanish: Te Quiero vs Te Amo

Did you know that there are 2 different ways to say “love you” in Spanish? And yes, each form has a very different usage. Spanish is such a versatile, beautiful, and expressive language.

To understand the use of both ways of saying “love you” in Spanish, we have to differentiate the different types of love that exist along with the different ways we use the word “love” in English. This might give us an idea of how we can express love, and how to differentiate te quiero vs. te amo in Spanish.

In Spanish, the type of love is differentiated. The love you have for your partner is not the same as the love you have for your dog, obviously. But, in English, it’s the same word for everything. In Spanish, if there is a difference, let’s learn it here!

How To Use “Te Quiero” in Spanish

First of all, we must take into account that “querer” is a regular-er verb, and its direct translation is “to want”. This can make it a bit confusing to understand “te quiero” because no, it does not mean “I want you” in this context. First, let’s look at how the verb “querer” is conjugated in the present simple tense.

Spanish Personal Pronouns Conjugation Present Simple Tense
Yo (singular) Quiero
Tú / vos (singular) Quieres
Él / Ella, Usted (singular) Quieren
Nosotros (plural) Queremos
Vosotros (plural – Spain) Queréis
Ellos / Ellas, Ustedes (plural) Quieren

In this context, the verb “querer” is similar to “amar” only it is not said to the same person, or with the same intention. “Querer” is used for those people for whom you are very fond of. If you are having an intimate conversation with your friend, or a family member, you can say “te quiero” to express how important he or she is to you and that you care deeply about him or her and want to show your appreciation.

You can also say “te quiero” to a person you are casually dating, but with whom you have not yet reached the next level of your relationship. It’s somewhere in between I like you and I love you. If we are talking about couples, we can compare “te quiero” and “te amo” with “me gustas” and “estoy enamorado de ti”. “Te quiero” is when you start to feel the chemistry, and “te amo” is when you have already made up your mind. Let’s see some examples:

Te quiero mucho, amiga. Gracias por aconsejarme.

I love you, my friend. Thank you for your advice.

Juan quiere mucho a su perro.

Juan loves his dog very much.

Ellos quieren mucho a sus sobrinos, ¡siempre los llevan al cine!

They love their nephews very much, they always take them to the movies!

Se nota que quieres a Daniel, ¡te gusta!

I can tell you love Daniel, you like him!

Queremos a nuestro gato como si fuera nuestro hijo.

We love our cat as if he were our son.

Eres la mejor persona que he conocido, te quiero mucho.

You are the best person I have ever met, I love you very much.

Image by freepik

How To Use “Te Amo” in Spanish

“Amar” is the literal translation of “love” and is also a regular verb -ar. We use “amar” when it is a much deeper and consolidated love (as in a romantic relationship). It is not used exclusively for couples, but it is the most common. 

You can say “te amo” to your partner when you feel a real infatuation and you feel love for that person. It can also be used for very close relatives to whom you have a big place in your heart, and also to express how much you like to do a certain activity.

It can be said that “te amo” is more exclusive than “te quiero” since it is not said to just any person we hold dear, but to those we truly hold deep in our hearts and who mean something very important to us, beyond just appreciation.

Let’s look at the conjugation of “amar” and some examples.

Spanish Personal Pronouns Conjugation Present Simple Tense
Yo (singular) Amo
Tú / vos (singular) Amas
Él / Ella, Usted (singular) Ama
Nosotros (plural) Amamos
Vosotros (plural – Spain) Amáis
Ellos / Ellas, Ustedes (plural) Aman


Te amo, mi amor. Gracias por ser un buen esposo.

I love you, my love. Thank you for being a good husband.

Feliz día de las madres, mamá. ¡Te amo!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, I love you!

Ellos aman a sus hijos, son excelentes padres.

They love their children, they are excellent parents.

Amo pintar, es una actividad que me desestresa.

I love painting, it’s an activity that de-stresses me.

Amamos a nuestro sobrino. Es como un hijo para nosotros.

We love our nephew. He is like a son to us.

Difference Between “Te Amo” Vs “Te Quiero”. A comparison chart.

Te amo Te quiero

When we want to express deep, consolidate and romantic love.

When we want to express how much we like an activity.

When we want to express true appreciation
To whom? To our romantic partner. (girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife)To a very close family member.

Close friends.Person you are starting to date.

Family members not so close to you.

How much? Deeply rooted in the heart, a pure love without doubts. Friendly and affectionate level of appreciation.
Image by Freepik

Other Verbs To Express Love and Like In Spanish


You can use “gustar”, which is Spanish for “to like”. Use “gustar” when you want to say that you like something or do something.

“Gustar” can also be used to say that you like someone. For example, if a friend says “I like Dani,” it means that is lovingly attracted to you. This is what happens before falling in love


A different option for expressing love is to use the verb “apreciar”, which means to appreciate. It is not commonly used like the other ways to talk about love in Spanish, but it can be a useful way to talk about your positive feelings towards someone.

It is used in a slightly more formal context, to express that a person has some value or importance to you. Such as with coworkers who have been good to you.


Another way to express love is with the word “adorar”, which means “to adore”. This word can be placed between “querer” and “amar”.

We can use it when we have been dating for a few weeks or a few months, when already “I love you” sounds too little, but “I love you” sounds too much. .

You can also use “adorar” with family and friends who are close to you. Just like “Amar” and “gustar”, you can also use it to say that you adore something or do something. Remember to conjugate the verb. To tell someone you adore them, you say “te adoro”.


Adding ” mucho” will emphasize the phrase. Remember that “mucho” means “a lot”. For example: me gustas mucho (I like you a lot).

Romantic phrases to say “I love you” in Spanish

Loving is not just about saying it, but also about showing it and using different words to express your love. Saying nice words beyond just “I love you” is a different way to show your love.

Here is a list of different ways to say “I love you” in Spanish without saying it, through beautiful words: 

Me haces bien, me haces completamente feliz; y sé que soy mejor persona porque estoy contigo. Y por ello te doy las gracias, mi amor. 

You do me good, you make me completely happy, and I know that I am a better person because I am with you. And for that, I thank you, my love. 

Cada día que pasa mi amor por ti se hace más grande; un poquito más profundo, un poquito más fuerte.

Every day that passes my love for you grows bigger; a little bit deeper, a little bit stronger.

Mi corazón se hace grande de sólo estar cerca de ti. Gracias por todo lo que me das. 

My heart grows bigger just being near you. Thank you for everything you give me. 

Te amo y no me cansaré de hacerlo; porque nadie se cansa de lo que le apasiona. Mi pasión eres tú.

I love you and I won’t get tired of doing it; because no one gets tired of what they are passionate about. My passion is you.

Siempre seremos tú y yo, ¡Te amo!

It will always be you and me, I love you!

Siempre valdrá la pena luchar por ti, ¡Te amo!

You will always be worth fighting for, I love you!

Mi corazón es tuyo, te amo muchísimo.

My heart is yours, I love you very much.

Image by Freepik

No me imagino un mejor presente que pasar cada instante a tu lado.

 I can’t imagine a better present than spending every moment by your side.

Te escogería mil veces, ¡Te amo!

I would choose you a thousand times, I love you!

Estaré contigo en las buenas y en las malas

I’ll be with you through thick and thin

Mi vida se divide en antes y después de ti. Tú eres yo y yo soy tú. 

My life is divided into before and after you. You are me and I am you. 

Eres mi más grande inspiración, y me has mostrado lo que es el amor incondicional. 

You are my greatest inspiration, and you have shown me what unconditional love is. 

Eres lo mejor que me ha pasado 

You are the best thing that ever happened to me

Puedo vivir sin ti, pero elijo vivir contigo

I can live without you, but I choose to live with you.


In Spanish, there is an expression that says “Eres mi media naranja”. This translates as “You are my half orange” but what it means is that the other person completes you, like “you’re my other half” so don’t panic if someone says “Eres mi media naranja”, they are not necessarily referring to the fruit.

Jamás me imaginé que existiera alguien como tú y mucho menos, que sería yo quien esté a tu lado. 

I never imagined that someone like you would exist, let alone that I would be the one by your side. 

Verte sonreír es lo mejor, ¡Te amo!

Seeing you smile is the best thing, I love you!

Te admiro tanto, que no puedo creer que tengo la oportunidad de amarte. 

I admire you so much, I can’t believe I have the chance to love you. 

Me haces increíblemente feliz, ¡Te amo!

You make me incredibly happy, I love you!

Me amas incluso cuando soy difícil de amar. Y yo te amo porque es lo mejor que puedo hacer por ti.

You love me even when I’m hard to love. And I love you because it’s the best thing I can do for you.

Quiero tomar tu mano y no soltarla jamás. Tienes todo mi corazón.

I want to hold your hand and never let it go. You have my whole heart.

Me gustaría estar contigo por el resto de mi vida.

I’d like to be with you for the rest of my life

Le diste un nuevo significado al amor. Ahora es más puro y genuino de lo que jamás imaginé.

You gave love a new meaning. Now it’s more pure and genuine than I ever imagined.

Si éste fuera mi último día de vida, no elegiría otra forma de vivirlo más que contigo.

If this were my last day of life, I would choose no other way to live it but with you.

Express Your Love In Spanish Like A Native

Learning to differentiate te quiero vs. te amo in Spanish is one of the first things we must learn. Falling in love with a Spanish speaker is the best decision you can make: they are very funny, expressive, passionate, have fun traditions, cook very well, and above all, you will learn a new language.

So, if you want to start dating a Spanish speaker or you are already dating one, surprise him/her by learning how to say love you in Spanish. And if you want to keep surprising that special someone, make Spanish your second language, with native teachers who will teach you how to fall in love in Spanish!

Start today by signing up for a free 1:1 class today or for a 7-day trial of group lessons and discover why SpanishVIP’s teaching methods will help you get up to date in record time.

Want to learn Spanish, fast?

Download our e-book, Easy Spanish Shortcuts, and learn your first 1,000 Spanish words in under a day!

Download Guide Now