Do you already know how to talk about habits and routine actions in Spanish? If not, take a look at the blog of El Rincón del Tándem Spanish school. You will find useful tips 🙂
There are some specific expressions and ways to talk about habits in Spanish.
Learning them will help you to talk about actions that usually happen and things that you or other people normally do in the present or past.
Furthermore, you will also be able to properly describe customs and routines.
So, let’s go there!
1. ES + HABITUAL/NORMAL/FRECUENTE + infinitive
In this case, we speak generally about habits and customs. Therefore, we use an impersonal sentence where the subject that performs the action is not expressed. The subject can be translated in English as “the people”.
The verb that expresses the routine action or frequent situation is always in the infinitive form.
Let’s see the examples below:
En Inglaterra es habitual tomar té por la tarde = In England people usually have tea in the afternoon
En España es muy frecuente pasar la Navidad en familia = In Spain people normally spend Christmas with the family.
2. LO NORMAL/HABITUAL
To express the same idea, we can also use the Spanish pronoun LO + the adjective “normal” or “habitual” + the verb SER in the third person singular (“es”).
When we refer to situations or routines in the present, we find the verb in the present tense. Instead, if we speak about the past, the verb will be used in the past tense.
The pronoun LO+adjective refers to the action expressed by the infinite verb that follows ES.
En mi casa lo normal es cenar con la tele apagada = In my house we normally switch off the TV during dinner
En verano lo habitual es tomar café frío = In summer people usually drink cold coffee
3. The verb SOLER
Like the previous cases, the meaning of sentences containing this verb can be translated in English with adverbs like “generally”, “usually” or “normally”.
Unlike other cases, sentences with SOLER are not impersonal; therefore we have to conjugate the verb.
The English equivalent of this verb would be “to tend to”.
En Dinamarca la gente suele acostarse pronto = In Denmark people tend to go to bed early
Los fines de semana suelo hacer senderismo = During the weekend I usually go hiking
Mi abuela suele leer el periódico por la mañana = My grandmother normally reads the newspaper in the morning
If we want to describe habitual actions of the past that no longer happen, we use the past perfect form. The English equivalent would be “used to”.
Cuando era niña, solía preparar galletas con mi abuelo = When I was a child, I used to make cookies with my grandfather
Cuando vivía en Madrid solía ir al teatro con mis amigas = When I lived in Madrid, I used to go to the theatre with my friends.
SOLER is a defective verb; that is a verb with an incomplete conjugation that cannot be used in in certain moods, aspects and tens.
Therefore, we will only find this verb in the present and past imperfect (indicative) tense as they are the ones we use to describe habitual actions in Spanish.
We hope you enjoyed this blog on how to talk about habits in Spanish.
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