The difference between “te amo” and “te quiero”

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MyGirlReyes, Jan 5, 2004

The difference between “te amo” and “te quiero”

Hola.

I am just beginning to learn Spanish and I need some explanation on when to use “te amo” and “te quiero”. If I want to say to my grandmother or son or nephew “I love you” how does that translate to Spanish? And if I want to say “I love you” to my husband or boyfriend/lover how do I say it? Is it true that “te amo” is used only between lovers? Or is “te quiero” used only between lovers and one would never say that to a grandmother.

Gracias,

MGR

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Scrimpy Mantella
Hello,

Here´s my two cents.

Basically “Amar” means to love, of course.

And “Querer” means to want, will, wish, like; feel like.

That’s why one tells his/her lover, relative pet or belonging “Te amo” instead of “te quiero” when it comes to a very high emotional expression.

Hope it helps you,

Scrimpy

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quevedo

According to D.R.A.E., both verbs are equivalent. Same, in my opinion, applies to commonly spoken Spanish in Mexico. Querer is widely used: you say te quiero to your lover, meaning that you love his or her, that you la o lo amas. When we want to express our love for God we normally use amar.

Un saludo cordial,

Quevedo

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Don
My wife says you use “te amo” for husband, boyfriend and lover, etc. You use “te quiero” for a family member like a brother or sister or a good friend.

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MyGirlReyes
Thank you everyone. But I am still confused. So, if I said “te quiero” to my nephew would he think badly of me? I don’t want that to sound like a lover. Or do I say “te amo” to him and he would know that I do not mean I “want” him like a lover but that I have high affection for him. Maybe there is a different sentence all together that I should use.

When you are talking to your husband how do you say “I love you, honey”?

Versus

When you are talking to your grandmother/nephew/family member how do you say “I love you.”

Thank you. And I am sorry for all the trouble. I just don’t want to say something that means “lover” kind of things to a family member other than my husband. How embarassing that would be!

Gracias!

MGR

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esperanza
You’ll be perfectly safe telling your nephew or your elderly aunt “Te quiero”. As Quevedo said, these two words are generally interchangeable. What you might want to do is pick the one that you want to use with your husband and just save it for him, using the other for the rest of your world. I’d vote with “Te amo” for the husband. And learn to call him some sweet-talk names: mi amor, mi vida, mi cielo, mi tesoro, mi cariño. But don’t be alarmed when a clerk in a store calls him the same things~there’s a whole style of talk that includes using those words with perfect strangers. “Ay, sí, mi tesoro, la corbata te queda muy bien.” ‘Oh yes, honey, the tie looks great on you.’ It sounds one way coming from YOU and another way altogether coming from the girl in the shop who’s trying to make a sale.

https://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

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Don
My wife used to say “te amo” to her son and daughter. Now that they are grown she says “te quiero” They do the same to her. To her young grandchildren, we say “te amo” and they do the same to us. They are 4 years of age and younger. When they grow older and become young adults, she will say “te quiero”. Although both words mean the same, this is how she learned to use the words in Mexico and how she taught the words when she was a teacher here.

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STRAYKINGFISHER
FIRST OF ALL HI TO EVERYONE, NOW, I BELIEVE THAT THE WORD “TE AMO” WAS THE ORIGINAL WORD FOR EXPRESSING HOW YOU FELT ABOUT SOMEONE, AND “TE QUIERO” CAME LATER ON AND FROM WHAT I HEAR AMONG MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS, “TE QUIERO” IS MOST COMMONLY USED TO EXPRESS YOUR LOVE, WHETHER IT WOULD BE FOR A HUSBAND, MOTHER, SON, OR GRANDMOTHER, NOW, WHEN IN REFERRING TO GOD, IT WOULD BE TE AMO, BECAUSE OF THE RESPECT ASPECT.

“TE AMO” OR “LO/LA AMO” WOULD BE USED WHEN YOUR ARE COMMENTING TO A FRIEND OF HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT A HUSBAND, LOVER, OR RELATIVE. EX: “YO AMO MUCHO A MI ESPOSO” OR ” MI ESPOSO ME AMA MUCHO”.
I HOPE THIS HELPS YOU OUT, GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR STUDIES, SPANISH MAY BE HARD BUT OUT OF MOST LANGUAGES, IT IS THE MOST LIKELY TO BE USED BY THE AVERAGE PERSON BECAUSE OF THE HISPANIC INFLUENCE IN THE USA.

SALUDOS A TODOS!!

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dahliajean

I hope that I can be of help. The phrase “Te Amo” is what I would say to my husband, and “Te Quiero” is what I say to my children, mother-in-law, or other family members. When I speak to my suegra in Mexico, I say “La Quiero Mucho Suegra” or “Los Queremos Mucho a Todos”. Te amo is more of a strong, desirable way that you would tell your significant other that you love him/ her, you can also say Te quiero to him/her, yet it doesn’t sound meaningful (or from your heart).

I hope that this helps you a little any way.

Dahliajean

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