Updated: Mar 24
There are a lot of occasions in which you may wish to talk about your feelings or those of someone else, and this is something that you will soon discover as you try to make conversation. As you chat to those who you have met among the native speakers during your Spanish course, they may ask you whether you are feeling homesick or whether you have fallen in love with their country already; you might want to explain some feelings that you have to a doctor if you are perhaps experiencing symptoms such as restlessness or feeling uncomfortable.
Spanish has at least five common ways of referring to emotions or describing how someone feels or becomes emotionally. These include the use of estar and tener; reflexive verbs used for specific emotions; and two verbs that often mean "to become," ponerse and volverse.
Today we are going to talk about how to describe our mood in Spanish: LOS ESTADOS DE ANIMO, and see how these words could be used in real situations using these verbs. Once you feel confident with the vocabulary you can continue with quizzes you have below.
Using Estar With Emotions
For English speakers, the most straightforward way to talk about emotions in Spanish is to use estar, one of the verbs for "to be," followed by an adjective of emotion. Since moods are temporary states, then we can use ESTAR plus feelings to describe how we feel at a given moment. The verb ESTAR will be used following this structure:
Subject(optional) + ESTAR (conjugated) + Spanish feelings (emociones/sentimientos)
Some of the words for emotions have synonyms, words that mean the same, and antonyms, words that mean the opposite. To illustrate this, the synonyms for ENOJADO are MOLESTO, BRAVO and ENFADADO. In order to ask how someone feels in Spanish, you could use: ¿Cómo estás? (How are you) and ¿Cómo te sientes? (How do you feel?). ¿Cómo estás? is a little more casual. Moreover, it is possible to ask with: ¿Qué te pasa?/ ¿Qué te sucede? (What´s wrong?). These two ways to ask are a little more informal for everyday conversations, but they are something a doctor would ask normally. You can also ask using ESTAR + an emotion, for example: ¿Tú estás enojado? (Are you angry?).
Using Tener With Emotions
Although estar can be used with some emotions, Spanish speakers often prefer to use tener, the verb for "to have" in the sense of "to possess," with some emotions. In effect, the idiom is that a person has a particular emotion rather than that the person is in a certain emotional state. For example, although you could say "está asustada" to say that a friend of yours is afraid, it would be more common to say, "Tiene miedo," literally "She has fear."
Here some examples of this use of tener:
Making Spanish feelings and emotions stronger with adverbs
The verb sentir (to feel) can also be used for expressing feelings and emotions in Spanish. It is often accompanied by a reflexive pronoun, e.g. “Yo me siento + emoción”. If you want to maximize or minimize a feeling in Spanish, you can use adverbs of quantity such as muy, bastante, un poco, realmente and so on as in the sentences: “Me siento muy emocionada” (I feel very excited) and “Estoy un poco deprimida” (I am a little depressed).
Using Reflexive verbs With Emotions
Some reflexive verbs include in their acquiring of an emotion. Perhaps the most common such verb is enojarse, which typically means "to become angry" or "to get angry": Jennifer se enojó cuando la periodista la llamó por teléfono.
Enfadarse is preferred over enojarse in some regions: Si pierden los llaves, me enfadaré. (If they lose the keys, I'll get angry.)
Here are some of the reflexive verbs frequently used for other emotions:
Using Ponerse and Volverse
The reflexive verbs ponerse and volverse are frequently used to refer to changes in emotional state.
Listening and Quiz Activity No. 1: Estados de ánimo en español.
In this video we are going to learn the vocabulary of moods at a party. Take notes of the information you consider important and listen carefully to identify the phrases presented above plus a few new ones. Press PLAY when you are ready.
Now let’s practice what you have seen in the video, with the activities below. Remember you can contact your tutor if you have any questions.
¿Por qué él se aburre? → Why does he get bored?
____ El está aburrido porque no conoce a nadie.
____ El está aburrido porque tiene hambre.
____ El está aburrido porque tiene sueño.
¿Por qué la vecina se estresa? → Why is the neighbor stressed?
____ Ella se estresa porque está muy emocionada.
____ Ella se estresa porque no puede dormir.
____ Ella se estresa porque tiene miedo.
¿Por qué la vecina está muy enfadada? → Why is the neighbor so angry?
____ Ella está enfadada porque la música está muy alta.
____ Ella está enfadada porque le atemorizan los insectos.
____ Ella está enfadada porque le abruma tanta información.
Audiovisual comprehension to practice oral and written expression. No. 2: "Los gritones".
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The Español Latino Team.