Spanish verbs: (Dejar de) + (infinitive)

dejar de spanish verbs

In Spanish, the structure Dejar de + infinitivo is a perifrasis verbal. We can say that we compose this type of periphrasis with an auxiliary verb and an infinitive. In most cases, there is usually a nexus between the auxiliary and the infinitive, which in this case would be de preposition “de”.


Some Spanish students aren’t sure how to properly use a perífrasis like Dejar de + Infinitivo because of the preposition. Using different prepositions may change the meaning of the sentence or how you build it. Then learning and understanding all of this is important if you want to add this tool to your vocabulary. Spanish speakers frequently use Dejar de + infinitivo when they want to stop doing an action. Its use is simple but quite helpful. So, if you want to move forward on achieving proficiency in speaking Spanish, read on.


What do we mean by dejar de + infinitivo?


Verb periphrases are constructions that consist of two or more verbs that work as a single predicate. In most cases, we join these verbs with a preposition that governs the first verb. This is an auxiliary verb in a personal form that then has the main verb in the form of an infinitive, participle, or gerund.


Dejar de + infinitive is one of the most common verb periphrases in Spanish. This Spanish expression refers to a process and not to the mode. It is also “perfectivo” which means the interruption of a process, specifically of the verb in the infinitive. Let’s see some examples.


Yo quiero dejar de beber Coca Cola, pero es muy difícil.

I want to stop drinking Coca-Cola, but it is very difficult.


Cuando el bebé deje de llorar yo te llamo para que hablemos mejor.

When the baby stops crying I will call you so we can talk better.


Quisiera dejar de vivir en este país, me parece que vamos en retroceso con respecto a los otros países.

I would like to stop living in this country. It seems to me that we are going backward compared to other countries.


As you can see, we can use Dejar de + infinitivo when we want to stop doing an action. This action can be in the present, past, or future tense. Also, when we refer to that at the end of said action, we will perform another.


How to use dejar de + infinitivo


This structure uses two verbs in the infinitive form. First, dejar and then, the complement verb following “dejar de”. In Spanish, you’ll find many different phrases using the following formula:

Verb (Infinitive) + preposition + Verb (Infinitive)

In this particular case, we are using the preposition “de”. Of course, no matter what preposition or verbs you use, the first verb will always be the auxiliary verb. The second will be the main verb. Let’s look at the examples below.


Pedro quiere dejar de sentir amor por Ana, dice que lo ha lastimado mucho.

Pedro wants to stop feeling love for Ana, he says that she has hurt him a lot.


Tuve que dejar de trabajar con ese cliente, creo que me estaba tendiendo una trampa.

I have stopped working with that client, I think he was setting me up.


¡Deja de hacer tanto ruido! No ves que estoy tratando de estudiar y así no puedo.

Stop making so much noise! Can’t you see I’m trying to study but I can’t?


When building negative sentences, we do not use dejar in the infinitive form. In this context, Spanish speakers conjugate dejar in another tense depending on what they want to express. It could be present, past, or future tense. The verb following “dejar de” will still be in the infinitive form. Here are some examples.


No dejes de estudiar, de eso dependerá tu futuro.

Do not stop studying, your future will depend on it.


No dejemos de creer en nosotros mismos.

Let’s not stop believing in ourselves.


No he dejado de pensar en las últimas vacaciones que tuvimos, ¡fueron increíbles!

I haven’t stopped thinking about the last vacations we had, they were amazing!


You can also use the structure “No dejar de” with verbs in the reflexive form. For example,


Si te vas del país, no dejes de llamarme. / If you leave the country, don’t stop calling me


Dejar de + infinitivo vs dejar + participio


Some Spanish students get confused with the phrases dejar de + infinitive and dejar + participio. Then, if you have been there, let us clear your mind. On simple difference dejar + participio with dejar de + infinitivo is how we conjugate the verb following dejar. Yet, more importantly, you can use dejar de + infinitivo when you want to stop an action or when you finish an activity. On the other hand, we use Dejar + participio to express the beginning of the state resulting from a previous action. In this particular case, the grammatical subject is the actor of this action.


You can also use dejar + participio to express a command. Native speakers frequently use it with certain types of participles. Among those verbs are the ones that denote completion, deficiency states, moods, or communication of assignments/ orders. Let’s see the following examples.


Los niños dejaron abierta la nevera y ahora se descongeló toda la carne.

The kids left the fridge open and now all the meat has thawed.


Le dejé dicho que no saliera sola, que era peligroso salir de noche.

I told her not to go out alone, that it was dangerous to go out at night.


Mi padre me ha dejado dicho que estudie más.

My father has told me to study more.


Generally speaking, Dejar de + infinitivo is a perifrasis verbal quite useful when we need to indicate when an activity has ceased. Using it in the affirmative and negative form is different and you must pay attention to the way you conjugate the auxiliary verb. Additionally, now you know the differences between “Dejar de + infinitivo” and “Dejar + participio” you should practice. It will help you avoid making mistakes. Spanish speakers use them differently and you only need to pay attention if there’s a preposition or not as well as the conjugation of the verb following dejar.

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