Pensar + infinitive to express intention

The verb pensar in Spanish is used as an auxiliary verb followed by an infinitive to indicate an intention, i.e. something that has been planned/decided. 

Here are some examples:

Mi ex novio me ha invitado a su fiesta de cumpleaños pero yo no pienso ir.My ex has invited me to his birthday party but I'm not going. (I don't intend to go)

Te has pasado de la raya; pienso contárselo todo a tus padres.You crossed the line; I'm telling your parents everything. (I intend to do it.)

¿Qué piensas hacer?What do you intend to do?

¿No piensas saludarme?Aren't you going to say hello? (Do you have no intention of saying hello to me?)

Pensaba decírtelo pero me daba un poco de vergüenza.I was planning on telling you but I was a bit ashamed.

Bear in mind that if we want to use the verb pensar to indicate that someone is "thinking about something" then the most common way to expresss this is by using pensar in a progressive tense:

Estoy pensando que este año va a ser difícil para mí irme de vacaciones.I'm thinking that it's going to be difficult for me to go on holiday this year.

Estábamos pensando que quizás sea mejor que nos quedáramos hoy en casa.We were thinking that it may be better if we stayed at home today.

Estoy pensando en alquilar una bici y montar un rato por el parque.I'm thinking about hiring a bike and riding around the park for a while.

No puedes estar pensando en comer otra vez. ¡Hace solo media hora que almorzamos!You can't be thinking about eating again. We just had lunch half an hour ago!

Notice how in the examples above we can still use pensar with an infinitive but using "en" (about).

Remember not to use the gerund after pensar or after pensar en:

Estoy pensando en organizando una fiesta de despedida para Carlos.
I'm thinking about organising a farewell party for Carlos.

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 »

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Estoy pensando en alquilar una bici y montar un rato por el parque.I'm thinking about hiring a bike and riding around the park for a while.
Estoy pensando que este año va a ser difícil para mí irme de vacaciones.I'm thinking that it's going to be difficult for me to go on holiday this year.
Pensaba decírtelo pero me daba un poco de vergüenza.I was planning on telling you but I was a bit ashamed.
Mi ex novio me ha invitado a su fiesta de cumpleaños pero yo no pienso ir.My ex has invited me to his birthday party but I'm not going. (I don't intend to go)
¿No piensas saludarme?Aren't you going to say hello? (Do you have no intention of saying hello to me?)
¿Qué piensas hacer?What do you intend to do?
Te has pasado de la raya; pienso contárselo todo a tus padres.You crossed the line; I'm telling your parents everything. (I intend to do it.)
No puedes estar pensando en comer otra vez. ¡Hace solo media hora que almorzamos!You can't be thinking about eating again. We just had lunch half an hour ago!
Estábamos pensando que quizás sea mejor que nos quedáramos hoy en casa.We were thinking that it may be better if we stayed at home today.
Thinking...