Updated: Apr 14
The Spanish verb llevar used to mean primarily to carry a heavy burden. However, it has become one of the most flexible verbs in the language, used not only in discussing what a person carries, but also what a person wears, has, does, tolerates, or moves. As a result, it isn't easy to tell what llevar means out of context. One of the most common uses of llevar is as the equivalent of "to wear" clothing or accessories. It can also refer to wearing or sporting a type of style, such as tattoos or a type of hairdo. Normally, if a person is wearing a type of item of which he or she would wear or use only one at a time, the indefinite article (un or una, the equivalent of "a" or "an") is not used. Often the definite article (el or la (the equivalent of "the") can be used instead. In other words, Spanish doesn't say the equivalent of "I am wearing a dress" but often "I am wearing the dress." If the identity of the item is important, such as if the sentence identifies the item's color, an indefinite article is retained. Llevar is conjugated regularly.
Uses of llevar
1. To talk about what you’re wearing
No llevo gorras I don’t wear ballcaps
Ella decidió llevar la blusa roja. She decided to wear the red blouse
2. To talk about how much time has passed
Llevo 3 años viviendo aquí. I’ve been living here for 3 years
Lleva tres días sin dormir. He hasn’t slept in three days
Llevan esperando aquí dos horas. They’ve been waiting here two hours
Te llevo mucho tiempo esperando. I’ve been waiting a long time for you
3. To ask for (and give) a ride
Llévame al aeropuerto. Take me to the airport
Pedro nos llevó al super. Pedro took us to the supermarket
¿Me llevas al banco?. Will you take me to the bank?
4. Food related uses
Dos hamburguesas para llevar por favor. Two hamburgers to go please
¿Que lleva el taco?. What does the taco have on it
El pastel lleva huevos, aceite, pasas, miel y harina. The cake has eggs, oil, raisins, honey and flour
5. To talk about what you’re carrying around with you
No llevo mis llaves. I don’t have my keys
¿Llevas el pasaporte encima?. Do you have your passport on you?
No llevo dinero encima. I don’t have any money on me
6. To talk about how people get along
Technically, you need to use Llevarse, Llevar’s reflexive cousin. The expression is
Llevarse bien con alguien or Llevarse mal con alguien, if you don’t get along with them.
Nos llevamos bien. We get along well
No se lleva bien con su madre. He doesn’t get along well with his mother
Me llevo mal con mi suegra. I don’t get along with my mother-in-law
Mis hijos se llevan como el perro y el gato. My kids fight like cats and dogs
Mi suegra y yo nos llevamos bien
My mother-in-law and I get along.
El gerente es muy grosero, él se lleva mal con todo el personal.
The manager is very rude, he is on bad terms with the whole staffl
Listening Activity No. 1: Verb llevar & the clothes in Spanish.
Let's practice pronunciation and grammar video with subtitles
Listening and Quiz Activity No. 2:¿Qué llevan?
Listen to the conversation again and answer these questions about its content. Press START when you are ready.
Activity No. 3: Test yourself
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The Español Latino Team