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4/13/2011 Translating "Feel" in Spanish — Verb C…

Spanish Language
Translating 'Feel' to Spanish
Verb Choice Depends on Meaning
By Gerald Erichsen, Guide

The English verb "to feel" is one of those verbs that can be tricky to translate to Spanish. More so than w ith
most words, you need to think of w hat the w ord means when trying to come up w ith a Spanish equivalent.

If you're fairly new to Spanish and trying to think of how to say a sentence using "feel" in Spanish, you
should probably see first if you can think of a different, and simpler if possible, w as of saying what you want
to say. For example, a simple sentence such as "I feel sad" means basically the same thing as "I am sad,"
w hich can be expressed as "Estoy triste."

In that case, using sentirse to translate "feel" w ould also work: Me siento triste. In fact, sentir or sentirse
frequently is a good translation, as it usually means "to feel an emotion." (Sentir comes from the same Latin
w ord as the English w ord "sentiment.") But sentir doesn't w ork w ith many uses of "feel," as in these
sentences: "That feels smooth." "I feel like going to the store." "I feel that it's dangerous. It feels cold." In
those cases, you need to think of a different verb to use.

Here are some of the common ways you can translate "feel." Note that not all possible w ays are listed:

Feeling an emotion

As stated above, sentir or sentirse can often be used w hen referring to emotions:

Me siento muy feliz. I feel very happy.

Me siento fuerte psicológicamente. I feel psychologically strong.
Se siente confuso cuando necesita escoger entre uno u otro. He feels confused w hen he needs to choose
one or the other.
No sentimos nada. We don't feel anything.

However, Spanish has many expressions using other verbs to express emotions. Here are a few :

Estoy muy feliz. I am very happy. I feel very happy.

Él tenía miedo. He w as afraid. He felt afraid.
Tengo celos a mi hermana. I'm jealous of my sister. I feel jealous of my sister.
De repente se enojó. Suddenly he got angry. Suddenly he felt angry.

Sentirse is frequently used w ith como to express the concept of "feeling like a ...":

Se sintió como una extraña en su propia casa. She felt like a stranger in her own home.
Me siento como una estrella del rock. I feel like a rock star.

Feeling sensations

Spanish generally doesn't use sentir to express w hat is felt w ith the senses. Sensations are often expressed
by idioms using tener. If describing w hat something feels like, you can often use parecer (see next section):

Tienen hambre. They're hungry. They feel hungry.…/feel.htm?p=1 1/2
4/13/2011 Translating "Feel" in Spanish — Verb C…
Tengo frío. I'm cold. I feel cold. It feels cold.
Tenían sed. They w ere thirsty. They felt thirsty.

Meaning "to seem"

When "to seem" can be substituted for "to feel," you can often translate using the verb parecer:

Parece lisa al tacto. It feels smooth to the touch. It seems smooth to the touch.
Parece que va a llover. It feels like it's going to rain. It seems that it is going to rain.
La herramienta me parece útil. The tool feels useful. The tool seems useful to me.

Meaning "to touch"

Tocar and palpar are often used to refer to touching something:

El médico me palpó el abdomen. The doctor felt my abdomen.

Todos tocaron la piel de zorro para que les diera buena suerte. Everyone felt the fox skin so it would give them
good luck.

"To feel like" meaning "to want to"

A phrase such as "to feel like doing something" can be translated using querer or other verbs used to express

Quisiera comer una hamburguesa. I feel like (eating) a hamburger. I would like to eat a hamburger.
Prefiero salir yo con mis amigos. I feel like leaving w ith my friends. I prefer to leave w ith my friends.
Katrina no tenía ganas de estudiar. Katrina didn't feel like studying. Katrina didn't have a desire to study.

For giving opinions

"Feel" is often used to express opinions or beliefs. In such cases, you can use opinar, creer or similar verbs:

Pienso que no me gusta. I feel I don't like it. I think I don't like it.
Creo que Argentina es el mejor equipo del mundo. I feel that Argentina is the best team in the w orld. I think
that Argentina is the best team in the w orld.
¿Por qué supones que tienes una infección? Why do you feel you have an infection? Why do you suppose
you have an infection?

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