The verb “soler” in Spanish

Welcome to our grammar lesson about the verb soler in Spanish.

soler is a verb that introduces habitual or frequent actions.

Two Spanish sentences with "soler"
Two sentences with “soler”

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to use the verb “soler” properly.

At the end you’ll find a Quiz and Exercises for practice. Let’s do it!

Meaning of “soler”

We translate soler as “to usually, habitually or frequently do something”.

Conjugations of “soler”

Before we begin to use soler, let’s review the conjugation of this verb in a couple of tenses: the Present and the Imperfect.

These are the two tenses in which “soler” is typically conjugated:

 Present TenseImperfect tense
yosuelosolía
suelessolías
élsuelesolía
nosotrossolemossolíamos
vosotrossoléissolíais
ellossuelensolían

Use of “soler”

We usually conjugate soler either in Present Tense (for habitual actions in the present) or in Imperfect Tense (for habitual actions in the past).

Then, right after soler, we place the Infinitive of the verb that expresses the action.

Here are some examples in Present Tense:

Yo suelo jugar al tenis con mi tío.
I usually play tennis with my uncle.

¿Tú sueles venir a este bar?
Do you often come to this bar?

Nosotros no solemos hablar en francés.
We don’t usually speak in French.


And these are some examples in Imperfect Tense:

De pequeño, yo solía venir a este parque.
As a child, I used to come to this park.

Cuando teníamos 20 años, solíamos beber mucho.
When we were 20, we used to drink a lot.

Tú no solías hablar así.
You didn’t use to talk like this.


When we use “soler”, we don’t need words like “normalmente”

soler provides a way to talk about habitual actions without using adverbs such as “normalmente” (= usually), “frecuentemente” (= frequently) or “a menudo” (= often).

By using “soler”, we can build shorter, more elegant sentences.

For example, the following pairs of sentences have the same meaning:

  • Yo ceno aquí normalmente.
  • Yo suelo cenar aquí.
    Both mean “I usually dine here”

  • A menudo estudiamos juntos.
  • Solemos estudiar juntos.
    Both mean “We often study together”

Practice

Quiz

Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about “soler”:


Exercise 1

In this exercise, we are going to practice “soler” for habitual actions in the present.

Fill the gaps with “soler” in Present Tense. Click on the gray spaces to see the solutions:

1)sueles venir aquí.
You come here often.

2) Yo suelo comer en esta pizzería.
I usually eat at this pizzeria.

3) Pablo y yo solemos quedar los fines de semana.
Pablo and I usually meet on weekends.

4) Mis amigos suelen jugar al fútbol en este campo.
My friends usually play soccer on this field.

5) Vosotras soléis ir al gimnasio.
You girls usually go to the gym.

6) El profesor suele mandar tareas.
The teacher usually sends homework.

Exercise 2

In this exercise, we are going to practice “soler” for habitual actions in the past.

Fill the gaps with “soler” in Imperfect Tense:

1) De pequeños, vosotros solíais contar muchos chistes.
When you guys were little, you used to tell many jokes.

2) Cuando tenía 15 años, yo no solía estudiar mucho.
When I was 15, I didn’t use to study a lot.

3) De niño, tú solías ser travieso.
As a child, you used to be naughty.

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