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Using deber, poder, querer in Spanish + infinitive to express must, can, to want to (Verbo modal)

Modal verbs in Spanish: deber, poder, querer

These specific auxiliary verbs are used to express:

  • Obligation: Deber (must) + infinitive
  • Possibility: Poder (can) + infinitive
  • Intention: Querer (want to) + infinitive

Deber in Spanish

Debo estudiar para el examen.I must study for the exam.

Mi madre debe pagar las facturas de la casa.My mother must pay the household bills.

Debemos ir al supermercado.We must go to the supermarket.

Poder in Spanish

No puedo salir contigo.I can't go out with you.

Ustedes pueden usar la puerta principal.You can use the main entrance.

Podemos jugar al fútbol hoy.We can play football today.

Querer in Spanish

Quieren ir al cine el próximo sábado.They want to go to the cinema next Saturday.

Quiero aprender a cocinar.I want to learn how to cook.

Note that to say must / can / want to in Spanish, you use:

Auxiliary verb (deber, poder, querer) + other verb in the infinitive

 

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Examples and resources

Mi madre debe pagar las facturas de la casa.My mother must pay the household bills.
Debo estudiar para el examen.I must study for the exam.
Quiero aprender a cocinar.I want to learn how to cook.
Debemos ir al supermercado.We must go to the supermarket.
No puedo salir contigo.I can't go out with you.
Quieren ir al cine el próximo sábado.They want to go to the cinema next Saturday.
Ustedes pueden usar la puerta principal.You can use the main entrance.
Podemos jugar al fútbol hoy.We can play football today.
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