Spanish verbs: “Extrañar…”, “echar de menos…”

extranar spanish expressions 1

If you’re an English speaker, you probably have told someone that you miss them. In fact, we can use the verb to miss in several ways to express that we think about someone and we want them with us.

Nonetheless, in Spanish, there are several phrases we can use to express the same thing.

First, we have the verb “extrañar” which, in fact, is the direct translation of “to miss”. On the other side, we have the Spanish phrase “echar de menos” which has no direct translation but has the same meaning.

Learning how to use “extrañar” and “echar de menos” is important because it will improve your vocabulary and will help you communicate your feelings with ease. After all, saying that we miss someone is a natural thing in life.

In this article, we will teach you how to use “extrañar” and “echar de menos” properly. So, don’t miss the chance to take your Spanish skills to a whole new level

How to use “extrañar”

The main use of “extrañar” is to express that we miss something or someone. Still, it has other uses like, for example, when we use it to say that we are surprised.

“Extrañar” is regular and intrasitive verb. As a result, when we conjugate it, the root “extrañ-“ will not change. We can conjugate “extrañar” using any Spanish tense, but here we will just teach you how to conjugate it using the present tense.

Please, look at “extrañar” conjugations below:

Verb conjugation
Extrañar To miss
Yo extraño I miss
Tú extrañas You miss
Él/Ella/Usted extraña He/She/You (plural) misses/miss
Nosotros extrañamos We miss
Vosotros extrañais You (plural) miss
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes extrañan They/You (plural) miss

When we use “extrañar” to express that we “miss someone” we often do it together with the Spanish preposition “a”. So, the structure we use would be “extrañar + a”.

If we use another verb before “extrañar” like “poder” or “deber”.“Extrañar” will be conjugated using the infinitive form.

Let’s see the following examples:

Yo extraño a mis papás porque estoy de viaje.

I miss my parents because I’m on a trip.

Si tú extrañas a tus hermanos, llamalos por teléfono.

If you miss your brothers, call them on the phone.

Raúl extraña a su novia Laura porque tienen meses sin verse.

Raúl misses his girlfriend Laura because they haven’t seen each other for months.

María extraña a su tío Carlos. Él era una gran persona.

María misses her uncle Carlos. He was a great person.

Of course, we can also use “extrañar” with verbs to express that we miss “doing an activity”. These activities, generally, were part of our routines.

If we use the structure “extrañar” + verb, the verb that follows “extrañar” will be in the infinitive form as it works as a noun.

Here are some examples:

Extraño comer en casa.

I miss eating at home.

¿Extrañas jugar tenis? Porque yo sí.

Do you miss playing tennis? Because I do.

Ellos extrañan ir al cine juntos.

They miss going to the movies together

How to use “extrañar” to express surprise

Expressing surprise using “extrañar” is quite simple. However, there are several ways to do it and you must keep attention to the details.

First, we can express surprise by just adding an DO pronoun before “extrañar”. In this case, the formula we use to build sentences is the following:

DO pronoun + “extraña” + complement.

The complement often contains a verb like “ver”. Also, we can use the Spanish preposition “que” together with the structure (DO pronoun + “extraña” to express surprise.

Let’s see some examples:

Me extraña verte por aquí.

It’s strange to me seeing you here.

No le extrañó ver a María en la biblioteca estudiando.

It wasn’t strange to him to see María studying at the library.

¿No te extraña esta situación? Es bastante inusual.

Doesn’t this situation surprise you? It is quite unusual.

Me extraña que Samuel haya llegado tarde a clases.

I’m surprised that Samuel was late for class.

Another way to express surprise is by using the verb “deber”. Nonetheless, in this case, is more like a suggestion. The structure may also have the Spanish preposition “que” as it helps us connect two different sentences.

Here are some examples:

No te debería extrañar ver que nada ha cambiado.

It shouldn’t surprise you to see that nothing has changed

Te debe extrañar ver a Pedro jugando Rugby. Él no es una persona deportiva.

You must be surprised to see Pedro playing Rugby. He is not a sporty person.

No debería extrañarnos que, después de tanto esperar, nos hayan dado un regalo.

It should not surprise us that, after waiting so long, they have given us a gift.

Please note that in the examples above, we always use “extrañar” in the infinitive form. Although you may think that, in the third sentence, “extrañar” isn’t in the infinitive form, it is.

What we did there is add the DO pronoun “nos” after “extrañar” to build the word “extrañarnos”. The last sentence can also look just like the following example:

No nos debería extrañar que, después de tanto esperar, nos hayan dado un regalo.

We should not be surprised that, after waiting so long, we have been given a gift.

See? That’s why we said you needed to pay attention to details. Don’t be afraid If you don’t know how to use DO pronouns. Yet, learning how to use them will make your learning process much more comfortable.

How to use “echar de menos”

“Echar de menos” is a common Spanish expression. This phrase has the same meaning as “extrañar” and we use it similarly. The only thing that can be a bit “boring” is that we can’t use “echar de menos” to express surprise.

So, “echar de menos” is a common expression with limited use.

In the Spanish phrase, “echar de menos”, you must conjugate the verb “echar”. Of course, you can do it in any Spanish tense but it will depend on what you want to say.

Here, we will show you how to do it using the present tense. Before we show you how to conjugate “echar”, you should keep in mind that this expression has no direct translation.

Now, look at the conjugations of “echar” below:

Verb conjugation
Echar To pour
Yo echo I pour
Tú echas You pour
Él/Ella/Usted echa He/She/You (formal) pours/pour
Nosotros echamos We pour
Vosotros echais You (plural) pour
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes echan They/You (plural) pour

The direct translation of “echar” is “to pour” and the whole phrase’s literal translation would be “to pour of less”. As you may see, it has no sense at all.

Keep in mind that we use this Spanish phrase to express that we “miss someone”.

Let’s see a few examples below using “echar de menos”:

Te echo de menos.

I miss you.

¿Me echarás de menos cuando me vaya de la ciudad?

Will you miss me when I leave the city?

Mi mamá nos echo de menos en Navidad porque no estuvimos en casa.

My mom missed us at Christmas because we weren’t home.

Echamos de menos escalar los domingos. Era un pasatiempo que solíamos hacer con papá.

We miss climbing on Sundays. It was a hobby we used to do with Dad.

As you may realize, “echar de menos” follows the same rules “extrañar” does when we use it to express that we miss someone or do something.

Spanish important verbs

In conclusion, we can use “extrañar” to express that we miss someone or something.

Also, we can use it to express surprise and that we find something “strange”. On the contrary, we can only use “echar de menos” to express that we miss someone or something.

If we want to express that we miss doing an activity, the verb that follows “echar de menos” or “extrañar” should be in the infinitive form. On the other side, we use the preposition “a” right after “extrañar” or “echar de menos” on several occasions.

Then, never forget that “a” may help you to get the job done.

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