Spanish verbs: “Parecer…”, “parecerse…”

parecer spanish verbs 1

“Parecer” is one of those Spanish words many people struggle to understand how to use.

It’s because it has several uses and most people think they can use it in some way, but suddenly, they hear it in another context. As a result, they get confused.

In Spanish, we generally use “Parecer” as an equivalent of the English verbs “to seem” and “to appear”. However, that’s not its only use and today we will show some others.

Keep reading this article if you want to add “parecer” to your toolbox. It will help you express your ideas differently, and might even become an ace under your sleeve.

How to use “parecer”

If you want to use “parecer” as an equivalent to “to seem”, you should use the structure (“parecer” + adjective).

Since we use adjectives to describe features of people or things, using this structure will have a similar purpose. The big difference is that when we use “parecer”, we give our personal opinion, not affirmation.

Additionally, when we want to build a sentence using (“parecer” + adjective), we often follow the formula shown below:

Subject + “parecer” (indicative) + adjective + complement.

We can conjugate “parecer” in any Spanish tense. Yet, today we will show you how to do it in the present tense. Since it’s a regular verb, its conjugations are quite easy to learn.

Please find below the conjugations of “parecer” using the present tense:

Verb conjugation
Parecer To seem
Yo parezco I seem
Tú pareces You seem
Él/Ella/Usted parece He/She/It/You (formal) seems/seem
Nosotros parecemos We seem
Vosotros parecéis You (plural) seem
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes parecen They/You (plural) seem

Now we know how to conjugate “parecer”, let’s see some examples to understand how we should use it:

Juan parece alto en fotografías.

Juan seems tall in photos.

Los libros de ese estante parecen viejos.

The books on that shelf look old.

Tu abuela parece muy sana.

Your grandmother seems very healthy.

As you can realize, in every example we use “parecer” to describe a feature each subject seems to have.

How to use “parecerle” + adjective

The Spanish structure (“parecerle” + adjective) has a similar purpose to the one we showed previously. The only difference is that we use (“parecerle” + adjective) together with DO pronouns instead of a proper name or a noun.

Even though we can use this structure to express our personal opinion, we frequently it to describe someone else’s opinion.

Let’s see a few examples below:

A mis padres, mi hermano les parece inteligente.

My parents think my brother is smart.

Me pareces una persona muy amable.

You seem like a very nice person.

Aprender español me parece útil.

Learning Spanish seems useful to me.

Juan parecía una persona muy puntual, pero hoy llegó tarde a la reunión.

Juan seemed like a very punctual person, but today he’s late for the meeting.

Please note that we conjugate “parecer” using the DO complement instead of the IO complement. Therefore, identifying the DO complement is key to building sentences properly.

Let’s take for example sentence #3. “Aprender español” plays the role of a noun as we talk about the activity itself, but it isn’t the subject of the sentence.

In this example, we use the DO pronoun “me” and the subject would be “yo” even though it’s implicit. So, the right way to conjugate “parecer” is using “yo”.

Of course, we can use other DO pronouns like “te”, “le”, or “nos”, but the meaning of the sentence will change.

How to use “parecer” + que

This is one of the most common uses of “parecer”. When we use the structure (“parecer” + que), we give an opinion in a non-personal way. Consequently, we could say this is the Spanish equivalent of the English phrase “it seems like”.

Generally, we use non-personal phrases with verbs conjugated in the subjunctive form unless they express certainty. If we build a positive sentence using this structure, we could use the indicative as we can express confidence.

On the flip side, building negative sentences using this structure will trigger the subjunctive conjugations since they express doubt rather than certainty.

Let’s look at the following examples to get a clear picture:

Parece que las naranjas ya están vencidas.

It seems that the oranges are already expired.

No parece que vaya a llover hoy.

It doesn’t look like it’s going to rain today.

Ese edificio es gigante, parece el más alto de la ciudad.

That building is enormous, it seems like the tallest in the city.

Just like how we did before, we can combine the structure (“parecer” + que) with DO pronouns. In this scenario, it helps us express what others think about something.

Here are some more examples:

A mi hermano le parece que mi trabajo es demandante.

My brother finds my job demanding.

¿Te parece que estudiar 3 horas es suficiente?

Do you think that studying for 3 hours is enough?

A mis amigas y a mi no nos parece justo no poder entrar a clases antes de 9 A.M.

My friends and I don’t think it’s fair not to be able to go to class before 9 A.M.

How to use “parecerse”

Now, let’s talk about “parecer” as a reflexive verb. “Parecerse” has a meaning a bit different from “parecerle”. We use “parecerle” to describe someone else’s opinion.

On the contrary, we use “parecerse” to describe features regardless of who’s making the opinion.

Let’s see the examples below:

Mi hermano y yo nos parecemos mucho físicamente.

My brother and I look a lot alike physically.

Cuando era pequeño me parecía a mi mamá. Hoy en día, me parezco a mi papá.

When I was little I looked like my mom. Today, I look like my dad.

How to use “parecer” as a noun

Using “parecer” as a noun isn’t that common but still possible. In this case, “parecer” has the meaning of “opinion”, “judgment”, or “decision”.

You may hear it in phrases such as “a mi parecer” which is the Spanish equivalent of “in my opinion”. Of course, we can use other pronouns like “tú” and “su”.

A mi parecer, no deberíamos usar los celulares mientras comemos.

In my opinion, we should not use cell phones while eating.

Llamé a mi hermano para saber su parecer sobre mi nuevo carro.

I called my brother to get his opinion on my new car.

¿Qué le pareció la pelicula?

What did you think of the movie?

Please note that the expression “¿qué le pareció?” is frequently used in a formal context and it’s equivalent to “what was your opinion” or “what did you think”.

Also, if you go to a formal dinner, for example, don’t be surprised if the waiters ask you “¿qué le parece la comida?” to see if you like the food.

Spanish important verbs

In summary, we can use “parecer” to express our opinions, describe features, or talk about similarities. There are many combinations we can use with this wonderful verb but, sometimes, it might be hard to identify how to conjugate it properly.

So getting familiar with DO pronouns is essential if you want to make your learning process much more comfortable. Also, keep in mind that Spanish prepositions are important and we often use “a” and “que” together with “parecer”.

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