Spanish verb soler

The Spanish Verb Soler - Describing habits and frequent actions

The Spanish verb soler is both a common and unusual verb, like the verb haber. Its uniqueness is due to characteristics such as; it is not used in all the conjugated forms and does not have an equivalent verb in English. Instead, it works as an auxiliary verb and  is mainly used in Spain.

Spanish Verb Soler: General Concepts

DEFINITION BY RAE
  • 1. intr. Dicho de un ser vivo: Tener costumbre.
  • 2. intr. Dicho de un hecho o de una cosa: Ser frecuente.
TRANSLATION

You can find different translations for soler, being the following the most common ones:

  • Usually or normally.
  • Be accustomed to.
  • Tend to.
  • Used to (in the past).
  • To be in the habit of.
STRUCTURE

In order to form a sentence including soler, you just need to conjugate the verb and use the infinitive form of the following verb: SOLER + INFINITIVE VERB

Examples:
  • Suelo cantar. → I usually sing. 
  • Suele nadar. → He normally swims. 
  • Solía correr. → I used to run. 

Spanish Verb Soler: Uses

EXPRESSING HABITS (CUSTOMS)
Examples:
  • Suelo ir al gimnasio por las mañanas. → I usually go to the gym in the mornings. 
  • Ellos suelen comer a las 2 de la tarde. → They usually eat at 2pm. 
  • Yo solía cantar cuando era pequeña. → I used to sing when I was a child. 
EXPRESSING SOMETHING THAT OCCURS FREQUENTLY
Examples:
  • En primavera suele llover → It usually rains in Spring. 
  • Suelen cobrar por aparcar → They usually charge for parking. 

Spanish Verb Soler: Conjugations

The verb soler is an irregular verb and it follow the same conjugation as the verb mover. In addition, it is a defective verb because, it isn’t used in all forms. The most common tenses are:

  • Indicative (I): present, imperfect and preterite (pret.) perfect.
  • Subjunctive (S): present.

SUBJECTPRESENT (I)IMPERFECT (I)PRET. PERFECT (I)PRESENT (S)
yo

suelo
solía
he solido
suela
sueles
solías
has solido
suelas
él/ella o Ud.
suele
solía
ha solido
suela
nosotros/as
solemos
solíamos
hemos solido
solamos
vosotros/as
soléis
solíais
habéis solido
soláis
ellos/as o Uds.
suelen
solían
han solido
suelan

Spanish Verb Soler: Synonyms

What happens if you do not feel like using the verb soler?  You have other options. In reality, you can use other expressions to describe the same meaning as when you use the Spanish verb soler. Here are some expressions:

ACOSTUMBRAR A + INFINITIVE
Examples
  • ¿Qué acostumbras a comer en un restaurante mejicano? o ¿Qué sueles comer en un restaurante mejicano? → What do you usually eat at a Mexican restaurant?. 
ESTAR ACOSTUMBRADO
Examples
  • Estoy acostumbrado a levantarme pronto o suelo levantarme pronto → I am used to (accustomed to) getting up early. 
HACER ALGO CON FRECUENCIA
Examples
  • Corría con frecuencia o solía correr → I used to run often. 
SER FRECUENTE
Examples
  • Es frecuente que nieve en invierno o suele nevar en invierno → It normally snows in winter. 
TENER COSTUMBRE
Examples
  • Espero que tenga la costumbre de comer comida picante o espero que suela comer comida picante → I hope he has the habit of eating spicy food. 

 

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