Your Complete Guide to Expressing Feelings in Spanish
Are you sick of expressing all of your opinions through smiles, nods and incomprehensible grunts?
Are sí and no your go-to words when talking with native Spanish speakers?
Or are you past the basics, and looking for advanced ways to express how you feel?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re going to love the Spanish sayings below.
For beginner or intermediate learners, trying to express feelings in Spanish can be nothing short of frustrating. Non-native speakers often encounter a gap between what they want to say and what they can say.
But Spanish is a wonderfully expressive language.
Artists from all over Spain and Latin America use Spanish to sing incredible music, write moving poetry and craft heart-wrenching literature.
In addition, Spanish has many verb tenses—like the subjunctive and the conditional—which allow speakers to delicately express shades of emotion and meaning.
So to help you get to all this good stuff, the following phrases will run through various ways to express a variety of emotions—from happiness to anger to surprise. Beginners can use this article to learn the basics of expressing emotion in Spanish, while more advanced speakers can move beyond the basics and learn colloquial phrases and more specific vocabulary.
No matter your level, read on learn how to express yourself with ease in Spanish!
33 Spanish Sayings to Express Your Feelings with Ease
How to Express Happy Feelings in Spanish
It’s always fun to be around somebody who is having a good time! Use these basic phrases and vocabulary words to let your Spanish friends know when you’re happy.
1. Estoy contento(a)
Literally, “I am content.” You can use contento or contenta (depending on your gender) to express general happiness or satisfaction.
Estoy contento de haber encontrado mis llaves.
(I’m happy that I’ve found my keys.)
2. Estoy feliz
“I am happy.” Although contento and feliz have similar meanings, the latter implies a more enthusiastic or joyful happiness and is less commonly used.
Estoy feliz de haber realizado mis sueños.
(I’m happy that I have accomplished all of my dreams.)
3. Me alegro
Me alegro comes from the reflexive verb alegrarse. It means “I’m happy” or “I’m glad,” and it’s frequently used the way that English speakers would say “I’m happy to hear that.”
For example, if your friend who has a cold tells you “Me siento mucho mejor” (I feel so much better), you could respond “Bien, me alegro” (Good, I’m happy to hear that).
—Beyond the Basics—
With these basic phrases, you’ll be able to express your satisfaction perfectly fine in any social situation. But why not try using some colloquial phrases to spice up your speech?
4. Pasárselo pipa
This phrase, which invokes the sunflower seeds (pipas) so common in Spanish bars, means “to have a great time.” If you are enjoying yourself, feel free to say “¡Me lo estoy pasando pipa!” (I’m having a great time!)
It also works well in the past tense: Me lo pasé pipa (I had a great time).
This phrase is similar to the English “I flipped out,” expressing happiness, awe and enjoyment. Use the word alone, or get more specific using flipé en or flipé con.
Flipé en el concierto anoche.
(I flipped out at the concert last night.)
You can also use the verb alucinar (to hallucinate) to similar effect.
This expression, which is the command form of the verb tomar (to take), expresses excitement, happiness or triumph. It’s the Spanish equivalent to the English exclamations “Yes!” or “Oh yeah!”
Shout ¡Toma! when your soccer team scores a goal, when you get a high grade on your Spanish exam or when you find out that the shoes you’ve been dreaming of are finally on sale.
How to Express the Feeling of Approval in Spanish
Living in Spain, I have met a ton of friendly people who are eager to show me all of the cultural, artistic and culinary wonders that their country has to offer. After every tapa, every picturesque village, every new Spanish song, they ask me: “So? What do you think?” Here are the basic phrases I use to let my friends know I approve.
7. Me gusta
The verb me gusta (I like it) is incredibly useful for Spanish speakers. However, its grammatical function can be confusing for non-native speakers.
The verb gustar means “to be pleasing.” So if you wanted to say “I like the movie,” you would say “Me gusta la película” (The movie pleases me). To say “I like the movies,” you would say “Me gustan las películas” (The movies please me).
With few exceptions, the verb gustar will appear conjugated in either the “he/she/it” form (me gusta) or the “they” form (me gustan).
Now, talking about things that you like is pretty straightforward, but talking about actions that you like gets a little more complicated. When you are talking about your own actions, use the infinitive form of verbs.
Me gusta ir al cine.
(I like to go to the movies.)
However, when talking about the actions of other peoples, you must use me gusta que plus the subjunctive conjugation of the verb.
Me gusta que estés aquí conmigo.
(I like that you are here with me.)
8. Me encanta
The verb encantar is similar to the verb gustar. Although encantar directly translates to “to enchant,” it’s actually used to express strong like or love. Like with gustar, use me encanta when talking about singular objects and me encantan when talking about multiple objects.
Me encanta esta canción.
(I love this song.)
Me encantan estas canciones.
(I love these songs.)
—Beyond the Basics—
Me gusta and me encanta are useful, but they sure do get old after a while. With all the wonderful, interesting things to see and do in the Spanish-speaking world, it’s no surprise that there are many different ways to express approval and enjoyment! Mix it up with these advanced colloquial phrases.
9. ¡Cómo mola!
This exclamation is roughly equivalent to the English “How cool!” The word mola comes from the verb molar (to be cool). Therefore, you can say something like “Ese bar mola mucho” (That bar is really cool).
The phrase “¡Cómo mola!“ is just one of many colloquial ways to express the concept of “cool” in Spanish. Some others to work into your day-to-day conversations are:
- Qué guay
- Qué chulo
- Qué guapo
10. Es la leche
Literally, “It’s the milk,” this fun phrase is used to describe something awesome.
¿Te gusta la guitarra española?
(Do you like the Spanish guitar?)
Sí, ¡es la leche!
(Yes, it’s awesome!)
11. Es una pasada
A step beyond es la leche, this phrase—which translates directly to “It’s a past”—means “It’s amazing” or “It’s incredible.”
¿Te lo pasaste bien en Barcelona?
(Did you have a good time in Barcelona?)
Sí, el Parque Güell es una pasada.
(Yes, Güell Park is incredible.)
12. Qué salado(a)
Generally used to describe people rather than things, the adjective salado (salted) describes a person who is interesting, funny or generally enjoyable to be around.
If a Spanish speaking friend makes a particularly funny joke, you might follow up your laughter with “Qué salado eres” (You’re so funny/cool).
The word majo (or maja) describes a nice, friendly or interesting person. “Es muy majo” is a generic compliment: “He/she is a great person.”
Be careful, though—majo can also be interpreted as “physically attractive” in certain contexts.
How to Express Indifference in Spanish
Sometimes, being able to express your indifference is just as important as being able to express a strong emotion! Use these phrases to let people know when you just really don’t care.
14. No importa
The verb importar means “to matter” or “to be important,” and therefore no importa means “it doesn’t matter.”
You can also say “No me importa” for a slightly more direct or aggressive effect. While no importa means “It doesn’t matter,” no me importa is closer to “I don’t care.” Of course, vocal tone is also a factor in how your words are interpreted.
The verb importar functions gramatically like the verb gustar, meaning that if you are talking about multiple things that do not matter, you must say no importan.
15. Me da igual
Literally translated, this phrase means “It gives me equal.” It actually means “I don’t care” or “It’s all the same to me.”
Me da igual can sound polite or aggressive, depending on vocal tone.
¿Quieres ir al restaurante chino o al restaurante italiano?
(Do you want to go to the Chinese restaurant or the Italian restaurant?)
Me da igual, a mí me gustan los dos.
(I don’t care, I like them both.)
16. Como quieras
This phrase means “Whatever you want” or “As you wish,” and is commonly used to express indifference about an idea or decision.
Voy a preparar la cena. ¿Quieres pescado o pollo?
(I’m going to make dinner. Do you want fish or chicken?)
Me da igual, como quieras.
(It doesn’t matter to me, whatever you want.)
17. Estoy aburrido(a)
“I’m bored.” Simple as that!
Be careful not to mix up ser and estar here: “Soy aburrido” means “I’m boring.”
However, when describing other things as boring, use the verb ser.
Estos libros son aburridos.
(These books are boring.)
Esa película es aburrida.
(That movie is boring.)
—Beyond the Basics—
Who knew apathy could be such a nuanced emotion? To express varying degrees of disinterest, use these advanced phrases.
18. Me importa tres pepinos
Literally, this one means “It matters three cucumbers to me.” This wonderful phrase can be used to express how much you really, really don’t care about something. While me da igual or no importa can be interpreted as either polite or impolite, this phrase is definitively dismissive in nature.
If cucumbers aren’t your style, feel free to use one of these food-based variations:
- Me importa un pimiento (Literally: It matters one pepper to me)
- Me importa un comino (Literally: It matters one cumin to me)
19. Nada del otro mundo
This phrase translates to “nothing from the other world,” and it’s roughly equivalent to the English phrase “nothing out of this world.” Use it to describe something that is just okay or not particularly exciting.
This false friend does not mean the same as its English equivalent. Rather, the Spanish word regular is colloquially used to mean “just okay” or “not so great.” For example, if you’re feeling under the weather, you might tell somebody “Me siento regular,” or “I don’t feel so great.” In this case, regular expresses neither great enthusiasm nor great discomfort.
You can also use regular to express opinions. For example:
¿Cómo fue la película?
(How was the movie?)
(Eh, it was just okay.)
Expressing Feelings of Dislike in Spanish
What gets under your skin? It’s important to know how to tell people when you disapprove of something. Use these phrases to let others know that you’re feeling frustrated, dissatisfied or annoyed.
21. No me gusta
This, of course, is merely the opposite of me gusta. No me gusta means “It doesn’t please me” or “I don’t like it.” As with me gusta, you will generally only see this verb conjugated in the “he/she/it” or “they” form.
No me gusta el libro.
(I don’t like the book.)
No me gustan estos libros
(I don’t like these books.)
Again, use the infinitive to describe your own actions and the subjunctive to describe the actions of others.
No me gusta jugar al tenis.
(I don’t like playing tennis)
No me gusta que me hables así.
(I don’t like that you talk to me like that.)
22. Me molesta
This false friend means “It bothers me.” Again, it functions like gustar, so use me molesta for singular objects and me molestan for plural objects. For example:
Me molesta el viento.
(The wind is bothering me.)
Me molestan las moscas.
(The flies are bothering me.)
Looking for other ways to talk about things that bother you? You can also use me fastidia (it upsets me), me agobia (it overwhelms me) or me preocupa (it worries me).
—Beyond the Basics—
No me gusta and me molesta are great tools to have in your arsenal. But why limit yourself? Spanish is a colorful and passionate language, with a number of fascinating ways to express dislike. Why not try a few of them out?
23. Es un rollo
“It’s a roll!” You exclaim in exasperation. But this phrase has nothing to do with bread or wheels. Un rollo is something annoying, complicated or frustrating. English equivalents include “It’s a mess” or “It’s a pain in the neck.”
For example, if you spent all morning cleaning your house after a party, you might later complain to a friend, “Fue un rollo” (It was a pain in the neck).
Literally “heavy,” this adjective is commonly used to describe annoying people and things. For example, you could say something like “El día ha sido muy pesado” to express that you’ve been having a long or difficult day.
25. Me da la lata
What does it mean for someone to “give me the can”? Colloquially, it means that someone is getting on your nerves. If one of my ESL students were acting out or talking during class, I could later say, “Él me está dando la lata hoy” (He’s getting on my nerves today).
How to Express the Feeling of Anger in Spanish
Sometimes you just have to let it all out. Feeling angry? These adjectives will help you make yourself understood.
26. Enfadado(a) and Enojado(a)
These two adjectives both mean “angry.” In my experience, enfadado is more common in Spain, while enojado is generally used in Latin America.
Both words also have a reflexive verb form: enfadarse and enojarse. Both of these verbs mean “to get angry.” Use the forms me enfada or me enoja to mean “It makes me angry.”
Therefore, these are all valid, but slightly different, phrases:
Estoy enfadada porque perdí en los videojuegos.
(I am angry because I lost the video game.)
Me enojo cuando pierdo en los videojuegos.
(I get angry when I lose video games.)
Me enfada perder en los videojuegos.
(It makes me angry to lose video games.)
—Beyond the Basics—
Sometimes, enfadado and enojado just don’t suffice to express the extent of your anger. Have you ever found yourself angry and unable to express it due to the language barrier? I have—I just end up more angry than I was in the first place! Blow off some steam with these advanced phrases.
27. Me da rabia
A step beyond simple anger, this phrase directly translates to “It gives me rage” or “It enrages me.” Use this for particularly strong or serious opinions.
Me da rabia el gobierno de este país.
(The government of this country enrages me.)
28. ¡Me cago en la mar!
Spain has some truly expressive phrases, and this is one of my favorites. The next time you are feeling enraged, consider making yourself feel better by yelling “I take a crap in the sea!” Despite the shocking visual imagery, this phrase is not vulgar and can be said by children or in front of children.
Spain has many fun phrases that begin with me cago en, including me cago en la leche (I take a crap in the milk), me cago en diez (I take a crap in ten), and several others that are too shocking to print here.
This exclamation expresses shock and anger, like the English “Darn!” or “Oh, come on!” Use it when you stub your toe, when you crack your cell phone screen, when it starts raining the moment you leave the house, or in any other unexpected and frustrating situation.
How to Express Surprised Feelings in Spanish
Unfortunately, there are no real “basics” here. Beginning Spanish learners, and even advanced speakers, frequently forget their Spanish when surprised or caught off guard. After more than a decade of learning Spanish, I still generally express surprise by yelling “Ahh!” or “Woah!” or even, occasionally, “Oh my God!” Whoops!
—Beyond the Basics—
However, if you really want to blend in and sound like a native speaker, you might want to try out some of these surprised interjections. Keep practicing—eventually, they will work their way into your everyday vocabulary.
The command form of the verb andar (to walk), this exclamation expresses subdued, mild or pleasant surprise. It’s like the English phrases “How about that!” or “Huh!”
What better way to express surprise than by making a reference holy communion bread? That is the literal meaning of the word hostia, one of Spain’s most common slang words. Although the word has a variety of different meanings depending on its context, when used alone it’s an exclamation of surprise.
Depending on vocal tone and nonverbal communication, it can be positive or negative. So, feel free to shout it when your favorite soccer player scores a near-impossible goal, or when you realize you locked your keys in the car.
A more polite (and less sacrilegious) version of hostia, ostras is Spain’s version of “Oh my gosh!”
33. ¡Madre mía!
I hear this versatile phrase all the time, used to express varying degrees of shock. It can be used for both positive and negative surprise, and it directly translates to “My mother!”
Being able to express your feelings accurately is one of the signs that you are fluent in a second language. It’s no easy task, but keep practicing and soon you’ll feel like you can truly be yourself in Spanish!