Spanish “Soler” – Meaning and Use of this Verb

Spanish verb SOLER - Meaning, Conjugation and Use

Welcome to our grammar lesson about Spanish soler,

“soler” is a verb we use in sentences that express habitual or frequent actions.

In this lesson we’ll learn how to use it correctly.

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

Conjugations of “soler”

Before we learn how to use soler, let’s review its conjugation in a couple of tenses: the Present and the Imperfect.

These are by far the two tenses in which “soler” is conjugated the most:

 soler (Present Tense)soler (Imperfect tense)
yosuelosolía
suelessolías
élsuelesolía
nosotrossolemossolíamos
vosotrossoléissolíais
ellossuelensolían

Meaning of “soler”

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

Use of “soler”

We conjugate soler in Present Tense (if we want to talk about habitual actions in the present) or Imperfect tense (for habitual actions in the past).

Then, right after soler, we place the infinitive of the verb that expresses the habitual 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.


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

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

By using “soler”, we can avoid those adverbs and build shorter, more efficient sentences.

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

  • Normalmente ceno aquí.
  • 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:

1. Tú ___ venir aquí.
You come here often.

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

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

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

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

6. El profesor ___ mandar tareas.
The teacher usually sends homework.

Solutions:
1) sueles
2) suelo
3) solemos
4) suelen
5) soléis
6) suele


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 ___ contar muchos chistes.
When you guys were little, you used to tell many jokes.

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

3. De niño, tú ___ ser antipático, pero ahora eres muy simpático.
As a child, you used to be unfriendly, but now you are very nice.

Solutions:
1) solíais
2) solía
3) solías

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