In English, you can use the word love in a couple of ways. You can love persons, things, actions or foods. But when it comes to translate love in Spanish, there are particular words you can use. Here are the Spanish words for love.
I love you
The English I love you has two different Spanish translations when used in terms of a relationship. The first one is te quiero, that literally means “I want you,” but not in a sexual way. You can say te quiero (and also te quiero mucho) to your special someone, family or to a friend.
On the other hand, te amo is a serious I love you. We’re talking soap opera romantic love. There is the expression te quiero, pero no te amo that clarifies this feeling and it means “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.”
There is another level of love. You may say te adoro, that translate to “I adore you,” when you are deeply in love with another person.
I love ice cream (or any other food, objects or actions)
If you are talking about an object or action, you will need to use encantar. This is a tricky verb as it conjugates to reflect the object, not the person. You can read more in depth about this in this article, but this is how you would use it:
1. I love ice cream = Me encanta el helado
2. I love French fries = Me encantan las papas fritas
3. I love running = Me encanta correr
The first example uses encanta because helado is singular, while in the second example one must use encantan because papas fritas is plural.
I like you
The spark that starts love is like. In order to love someone or something, you need to like it first. You can use the phrase I like you, that means me gustas to refer a person in a romantic way.
If you want to use the verb like to refer to a food, object or action, you need to do the same thing as encantar:
1. I like ice cream = Me gusta el helado
2. I like French fries = Me gustan las papas fritas
3. I like running = Me gusta correr
Check out these other articles about the Spanish Language.