Today, we talk about the difference between the Spanish verbs: Comer vs Comerse. If you get confused any time you see the pronominal form of the verb comer, take a look at this post. El Rincón del Tándem will briefly explain how to properly use it in Spanish ?

In spoken Spanish, the verb comer is commonly used as pronominal verb. Therefore, we can find both Spanish verbs: Comer and comerse.

When used as pronominal verb, comer must be always preceded by reflexive pronouns (me/te/se/nos/os/se). Despite the fact to be used with pronouns, the Spanish verbs comerse functions as a transitive verb and always has a direct object.

So, what is the difference between comer vs comerse?

Firstly, all the ingestion verbs are frequently used in its impersonal forms. That is, comer, beber, fumar and tomar.

Let’s see some examples below:

  • Me comí una ensalada al mediodía = I have had a salad at 12 pm
  • Lucía se bebió cuatro cafés ayer por la noche = Lucia drank 4 cups of coffee yesterday evening
  • Normalmente me fumo un paquete de cigarros al día = I usually smoke one pack of cigarettes a day

Secondly, the pronominal use of comer is optional and not mandatory. Therefore, in the majority of cases, we can hear it in spoken language and informal speech.

Thirdly, comerse cannot be always used interchangeably with comer. Although both verbs express exactly the same action, the pronominal verb can only be used to refer to a specific quantity. That is, we can use comerse when we eat a specific or certain quantity of food (direct object).

For instance, we can say “me comí un helado”, but it is incorrect to say “Me comí helado”.

The same rule is valid for all the ingestion verbs:

Me bebí dos cervezas (RIGHT)  –  Me bebí cerveza (WRONG)

Me comí una tarta entera (RIGHT)  –  Me comì tarta (WRONG)

Therefore, when it comes to the use of comerse, we must remember to use a determiner. It can be an article (definite or indefinite), a numeral adjective (dos, tres, cuatro, etc.) or a phrase (toda la, un trozo de, una taza de, etc.)


  • Lucía se comió toda la tarta = Lucia ate all the cake
  • Lucía se comió un trozo de tarta = Lucia ate a piece of cake
  • Ana se comió tres pinchos de tortilla = Ana ate three small portions of tortilla
  • Pablo se comió el postre = Pablo ate the dessert

In this last case, the speaker might tell us that Pablo ate all the dessert. Also, the use of the definite article el might tell us that Pablo ate that specific dessert (the one that was in the fridge, the one the speaker bought yesterday, etc.).

In any case, the action refers to a specific object and not a general one.

Therefore, the usage of comerse (beberse, tomarse, fumarse must be avoided when we speak generally. That is, when we do not specify the quantity of the food we have consumed or when we speak about a habit.

In this case, the only right option is comer:

Nunca como espinacas = I never eat spinach
Tomé vino en la cena de anoche = I had wine yesterday at dinner
Siempre tomo manzanilla antes de ir a la cama = I always drink camomile tea before going to bed.


As we mentioned above, the use of comerse is optional. That means, that, in Spanish, we can use comer in all the cases where the usage of comerse is also allowed.
Therefore, the usage of comer is always correct (when speaking generally, when referring to specific quantity, etc.)

We really hope that this blog on the difference between the Spanish verbs: Comer vs Comerse helped you master the pronominal  form and make you sound like a native when speaking Spanish.

As always, we encourage you to make the most of your Spanish lessons and keep practicing the language inside and outside the classroom.

Finally, our Spanish school, El Rincón del Tándem in Valencia wishes you a nice day!
¡Hasta luego!