Doler in Spanish
In Spanish to express that "something hurts" we use the verb doler in El Presente.
Have a look at these examples:
Me duele la pierna.My leg hurts. Te duele la pierna.Your leg hurts.
While in English it is a very straightforward sentence:
subject + verb
My leg / hurts
Your leg / hurts
in Spanish the word order is different:
verb + subject
Me duele / la pierna
Te duele / la pierna
Notice that in front of the verb there is a personal pronoun (me, te). It is as if we are saying "something hurts me/you".
We use the personal pronouns to indicate who has the pain. They are always placed in front of the verb.
[personal pronoun] + duele + [what hurts]
Have a look at these other examples and notice how duele
changes to duelen
Me duelen los pies.My feet hurt. Te duelen las rodillas.Your knees hurt. Me duelen los oídos.My ears hurt.
In the sentences above, what hurts is plural, therefore duele changes to duelen. The verb needs to agree with the subject.
[personal pronoun] + duelen + [what hurts in plural]
If you see all the examples above, they are not using possessive pronouns (mi, tu...=my, your...) when saying what is hurting, like you do in English: "My leg hurts"; we use articles el, la, los, las.
"Me duele la pierna"
To ask someone if something hurts, the same rule applies, you just need the question marks. For example:
¿Te duele la cabeza?Does your head hurt? (Do you have a headache?)
¿Te duelen las muelas?Do your teeth hurt?
To learn more about personal pronouns have a look at Pronombre de complemento indirecto.
See also Verb list: Stem-changing verbs: present tense (o > ue)
Want to make sure your Spanish sounds confident?
We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your
gaps and mistakes. Start your Braimap today »