Spanish words: Propio, propia

propio propia spanish words

Day by day, the words propio and propia are gaining a lot of fame in Spanish due to the famous phrase amor propio. We can translate this phrase into English as “self-love”. However, propio and propia are adjectives that we use to refer to something that belongs to us. These can be things, people, or situations, among others.


Learning how to use propia and propio will indeed help you build more native phrases like amor propio and will even help you talk about “what belongs” to you. As a result, if you want to get to know how to use propia and propio, just stay tuned.



How to use propio


The word propio is an adjective. This means when something is relative or belongs to someone or something. Therefore, you can have possession, power, right or exclusive freedom to dispose of or use something or someone. In other words, the thing, person, or animal mentioned in the sentence belongs to the person, animal, or thing in question.


Here are some examples below,


Tuve que prestarle un celular a un amigo ya que no tenía para comprarse uno propio.

I had to lend a cell phone to a friend since he didn’t have enough money to buy his own.


Actualmente la Unión Europea está desarrollando su propio sistema de posicionamiento por satélite.

The European Union is currently developing its own satellite positioning system.


Una de las cosas más importantes en una relación sana es el amor propio, ya que si no puedes amarte a ti mismo, menos a otros.

One of the most important things in a healthy relationship is self-love because if you can’t love yourself, fewer others.


As you can see, the word propio can be similar to “own” in English. It is one of the few adjectives that can change its meaning depending on its position in the head of a sentence.


Another way of using the adjective propio is when we want to say that an activity, fact, person, thing, or circumstance is appropriate or correct. For example,


Los profesores de este colegio se esfuerzan en sus explicaciones, los alumnos deben hacer lo propio.

The teachers at this school make an effort in their explanations, the students must do the same.


Darle su espacio y estar solo cuando ella te lo pida o sientas que lo necesite es lo propio en estas situaciones.

Giving her her space and being alone when she asks for it or you feel she needs it is the way to go in these situations.


Yo he hecho lo propio y dije la verdad, aunque eso haya traído otras consecuencias.

I have done the right thing and told the truth, although that has brought other consequences.


How to use propia


The word propia is also an adjective that is characteristic or peculiar to each person or thing. Propia is the feminine adjective for propio, which is masculine. The word propia can also mean belonging to or relating to someone who has the exclusive right to dispose of it.


Let’s see a few examples below,


Es mejor que dejes de meterte en mi vida y consigas una propia, tienes que dejar de estar pendiente de lo que hago.

It is better that you stop interfering in my life and get your own, you have to stop being aware of what I do.


Mientras más horas trabajes, más desgaste mental tendrás y eso afectará tu salud, te lo digo por mi propia experiencia.

The more hours you work, the more mental wear and tear you will have and that will affect your health, I tell you from my own experience.


Si tu tienes tu propia casa, no tienes que molestar a los demás en las suyas.

If you have your own house, you don’t have to bother others in theirs.


As you can see, the adjectives propia and propio are the same adjectives and we can translate both as “own” in English. With them, you can build phrases like “experiencia propia” or “amor propio” as said. They will help you talk about specific things that might change someone else’s thoughts. One way to know which one you should use is by paying attention to the noun. It is because the adjective, whether propio or propia, must agree in gender and number with the noun they modify.


Let’s see some examples with propia and propio in the plural form.


Cada quien tiene sus propios problemas y vive como puede, por eso no debemos juzgar a nadie.

Everyone has their problems and lives as best they can. That ‘s why we shouldn’t judge anyone.


Lo hizo ante mis propios ojos, ¡yo lo vi!

He did it before my very eyes, I saw it!


Después de lo que acabas de ver, es mejor que saques tus propias conclusiones.

After what you just saw, you better draw your own conclusions.


Juan arregló el carro con sus propias manos.

Juan fixed the car with his own hands.


Common phrases with propio and propia


There are many colloquial ways in which we can use the adjectives propio and propia. Below, along with the examples, we will explain some of them.


We can use propio or propia when we want to say that someone got what they deserved. Or also, when a person, after having done something bad, is returned to her or himself. For example,


No puedo creer que hayas caído en tu propia trampa.

I can’t believe you fell into your own trap.


Tomaste de tu propia medicina, te hicieron lo mismo que le hiciste a ella.

You took your own medicine, they did to you the same thing you did to her.


Another phrase that we can use with propio and propia is when a person is fooled by another or falls under the charms of another. For example,


No me digas que ya caíste en sus propios brazos, no te veía tan tonta.

Don’t tell me you already fell into his own arms, I didn’t see you as such a fool.


Given these points, propio and propia are adjectives that mean the same thing. The difference between them is the gender in the sentence. Thus, if you are aware of the noun that comes after, you will not have confusion when using them. Keep in mind that you can’t use the expressions mentioned above in formal conversations. If you do it, then you’re ready to start talking!





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