Spanish expressions: “Parecerse a…”, “ser como…”, “ser similar a…”, “parecido a…”

spanish expressions parecerse a 1

There are several ways to express that two things or people are “the same” when making comparisons.

In Spanish, expressing similarity is quite simple when using the right expression. Yet, many Spanish students get confused since using different verbs may lead to building sentences differently.

“Parecerse”, “ser como”, “ser similar”, and “parecido” are some words we can use to achieve this goal.

In this short explanation, you’ll learn how to use all of these words, and what’s necessary to build sentences properly. Also, you will add some useful tools that will help you stand out when making comparisons during any conversation.

How to use “parecerse”

“Parecerse” is the reflexive form of “parecer”. Therefore, we usually use it as “se parece” or “se parecen”. We only will use “parecen” if we have a plural noun.

Since “parecer” will not change depending on the noun’s gender, no matter if we use a feminine or masculine noun, we will always use “parece” or “parecen”.

“Parecerse” means that two things or people are very similar, but not identical. Building sentences with “parecerse” isn’t difficult.

To do it, we can just follow the formulas shown below:

“Parecerse” + “a” + name or pronoun.

“Parecerse” + “a” + noun preceded by a definite article

Please note that after “parecerse” we will always use the preposition “a” as it will help us set the reference.

Now, let’s see some examples:

Marta se parece a Jennifer Aniston.

Martha looks like Jennifer Aniston.

Samuel se parece a Brad Pitt. Mirale el cabello.

Samuel looks like Brad Pitt. Look at the hair.

Tus pantalones “animal print” se parecen al leopardo que vi en el zoologico.

Your animal print pants look like the leopard I saw at the zoo.

Tú hermano se parece a tí.

Your brother looks like you.

Ellos son gemelos y se parecen a su papá.

They are twins and they look like their dad.

Pedro se parece al papá de Martina. Tienen el mismo bigote.

Pedro looks like Martina’s dad. They have the same mustache.

We will only use a definite article when we are talking about one specific thing or person. Also, when there’s only “one” of them.

Take, for example, the last of the sentences where we compare Pedro with “el papá de Martina”. Since Martina has only one dad, we should use a definite article. Otherwise, we should use an indefinite article.

How to use “ser como”

“Ser como” is another common Spanish phrase to make comparisons and express similarity. Yet, we also use it to talk about two things that aren’t identical.

Generally, we use it to talk about “manner” and not “appearance” or physical features.

For example, if we say “no puedes ser como tu mamá” = (You can’t be like your mom) we will do it in the sense that you can’t have the same attitude, personality, or behavior that your mom has.

We can conjugate “ser” in any Spanish tense. Even, we can do it either in the indicative form or in the subjunctive form. However, if we use “poder” and “deber” together with “ser como” we will always leave “ser” in the infinitive form.

Let’s have a look at the examples below:

Eres como tu hermano, demasiado terco.

You are like your brother, too stubborn.

Puedes ser como Sofía pero jamás como tu tía Carla.

You can be like Sofía but never like your aunt Carla.

No seamos como la mayoría. Hagamos la diferencia.

Let’s not be like the majority. Let’s make a difference.

Camila no será como su mamá. Su personalidad es diferente.

Camila won’t be like her mom. His personality is different.

Keep in mind that in any situation, we will always use “ser como” to talk about “manner”. As a result, we will refer to features like behavior, personality, attitude, or habits.

Using the present indicative will help you express a fact. On the other hand, using the subjunctive helps you express in a way to give a “suggestion”.

For example, saying “no somos como la mayoria” is a fact. Nonetheless, saying “no seamos como la mayoría” is a suggestion to not be like the majority.

How to use “ser similar”

“Ser similar” is a quite flexible Spanish phrase.

We can use it either to talk about physical things or behavior/ personality. Just like the previous expressions, we use “ser similar” to talk about things that aren’t identical but are very alike.

Just like with “ser como”, we can conjugate “ser similar” in any Spanish tense. Also, if we use this phrase with “poder” or “deber”, we will conjugate “ser” in the infinitive form.

Using “ser similar” together with “poder” and “deber” is way more common than using “ser como”.

Here are some examples:

Tu casa puede ser similar a mi casa pero la mía tiene un patio más grande.

Your house may be similar to my house but mine has a bigger patio

Ellos son similares porque son gemelos.

They are similar because they are twins.

Tu examen y mi examen deberían ser similares pero no lo son.

Your exam and my exam should be similar but they are not.

Creo que ser similar a alguien más es algo que no me gustaría ser.

I think being similar to someone else is something I wouldn’t want to be.

In many situations, we will use the preposition “a” right after “ser similar” to set the reference. Likewise, using an indefinite article or definite article may be necessary if we use a noun, pronoun, or proper name after ser similar”.

How to use “parecido”

Different from the rest of the alternatives, “parecido” is a word that will vary depending on the noun’s gender and if it’s singular or plural.

For masculine singular nouns, we will use “parecido”, but for feminine singular nouns, we will use “parecida”. On the other side, for masculine plural nouns, we would use “parecidos”, and for feminine plural nouns, we would use “parecidas”.

Often, we use “parecido” together with the verb “ser” and we place it before “parecido”. The structure we generally use with this Spanish word is shown below:

“Ser” + “parecido” + “a”

The preposition “a” will help us, one more time, to set the reference. And, in most cases, we place the structure (“ser” + “parecido” + “a”) right after the subjects of the sentences.

Here are a few examples:

Andrés y Cristobal son parecidos a su papás. Tienen la misma personalidad.

Andrés and Cristobal are similar to their parents. They have the same personality.

María y Carlota son parecidas a unas actrices de Hollywood.

María and Carlota are similar to some Hollywood actresses.

Mi apartamento es parecido al tuyo. Ambos son del mismo tamaño.

My apartment is similar to yours. They are both the same size.

La gorra de Jennifer es parecida a la gorra de Paula porque ambas practican tenis.

Jennifer’s hat is similar to Paula’s hat because they both play tennis.

We can also use words like “muy” and “bastante” to make an emphasis. We will place these intensifiers between “ser” and “parecido”.

Here are some other examples:

Andrés y Cristobal son muy parecidos en personalidad.

Andrés and Cristobal are very similar in personality.

Mi apartamento es bastante parecido en tamaño al tuyo.

My apartment is quite similar in size to yours.

As you may see, the structure (“ser” + “parecido” + “en”) will help us to compare two things but provide more detailed information.

Spanish important expressions

In summary, all of these Spanish phrases help us make comparisons. However, depending on the one you use, you’ll be able to provide detailed information or not.

One of the most flexible alternatives is “parecido” and “parecerse”. So, they’ll probably become your favorites.

Making comparisons will help you provide your personal opinion in several situations. Consequently, don’t think twice to use one of these phrases and stand out during conversations.

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