Spanish “Soler” – The Ultimate Guide to Using this Verb

Drawing of a boy and a girl going to school

Welcome to our grammar lesson about Spanish verb “Soler”.

The verb “soler” is used to talk about routine, introducing actions that happen regularly, frequently, or often.

With “soler”, we can talk about habitual actions without constantly using adverbs such as “normalmente” or “frecuentemente”. It helps us construct more elegant sentences about frequent actions.

In this lesson, we will learn all about the use of “soler”, providing example sentences.

At the end you’ll find a Quiz and an Exercise for Practice.

1. Conjugations of verb “soler”

Before we learn how to use this verb, we are going to review its conjugation in a couple of tenses: the Present Tense and the Imperfect Tense. These are by far the 2 tenses in which “soler” is conjugated the most:

 Present TenseImperfect tense
yosuelosolía
suelessolías
élsuelesolía
nosotrossolemossolíamos
vosotrossoléissolíais
ellossuelensolían

2. Use of “soler”

The use of “soler” is very simple: we conjugate “soler” (typically in Present or Imperfect Tense), followed by the infinitive form of the verb which expresses the action that happens regularly. 

Example Sentences in Present tense

To express what happens usually or often in the present time, we conjugate “soler” in Present Tense:

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

¿Sueles venir a este bar?
Do you usually come to this bar often?

No solemos quedarnos en casa.
We don’t usually stay home.


Examples Sentences in Imperfect tense

To talk about past actions which used to happen frequently or often, we use “soler” in Imperfect tense, never in Present Perfect or in Preterite.

De pequeño, solía venir a este parque.
When I was 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.

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


If we use “soler”, we don’t need “normalmente” or other such words

The Spanish verb “soler” gives us a way to talk about frequent actions without using words like “normalmente” (= normally), “frecuentemente” (= frequently) or “a menudo” (= often).

When we use “soler”, we can skip those other words and construct shorter, more elegant sentences.

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

  • Normalmente ceno aquí.
  • Suelo cenar aquí.
    Both sentences mean “I normally have dinner here”

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

3. Practice Spanish verb “soler”

Quiz

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

Exercise

The following sentences contain the verb “soler”. Conjugate the verb in your mind or on a piece of paper: the first 4 sentences must be in Present Tense, and the last 3 in Imperfect Tense.

After completing the exercise, check the solutions below:

Tú ______ (1) venir aquí.
Yo ______ (2) comer en esta pizzería.
Pablo y yo ______ (3) quedar los fines de semana.
Mis amigos ______ (4) jugar al fútbol en este campo.


De pequeños, vosotros ______ (5) contar muchos chistes.
Cuando tenía 15 años, yo no ______ (6) estudiar mucho.
De niño, tú ______ (7) ser un poco antipático, pero ahora eres un encanto 🙂

Solutions to the Exercise: 1 = sueles, 2 = suelo, 3 = solemos, 4 = suelen, 5 = solíais, 6 = solía, 7 = solías