How to say ‘I love you' in Latin and Spanish

How do you say ‘I love you' in Latin and Spanish?


Te quiero. Most common way of expressing general love.

Te amo: generally used in romantic love, but can be used in other emotional situations as well.

If you is plural:

In Spain: change te to os.

In Latin America : change te to las if those being loved are all females, otherwise te becomes los. (Context will tell the listener whether the object is 2nd person you or 3rd person them.)


Te amo. Most generic form. If those loved are plural, change te to vos.

Te diligo. A less intensive form of love or generic appreciation. But the verbs are sometimes used interchangeably. Translations into English generally render both as "love".

For readers interested in the interplay between the two words: In Jerome's Latin Vulgate translation of John 21:15-17, the passage recording the final interaction of Jesus with the disciples, specifically with Peter, there is a curious oscillation between the Latin verbs amare and diligere in reference to love. Jesus asks Peter 3 times whether he loves him. The bold is translated to English

dicit Simoni Petro Jesus: Simon Joannis, diligis me plus his? Dicit ei: Etiam Domine, tu scis quia amo te. Dicit ei: Pasce agnos meos. 16 Dicit ei iterum: Simon Joannis, diligis me? Ait illi: Etiam Domine, tu scis quia amo te. Dicit ei: Pasce agnos meos. 17

Dicit ei tertio: Simon Joannis, diligis me Contristatus est Petrus, quia dixit ei tertio: Amas me? et dixit ei: Domine, tu omnia nosti, tu scis quia amo te. Dixit ei: Pasce oves meas.

J: diligis me plus his? Do you love me more than these others do?

P: tu scis quia amo te. You know that I love you.

J: diligis me? Do you love me?

P: tu scis quia amo te. You know that I love you

J: diligis me? Do you love me?

J: Amas me? Do you love me?

P: amo te. I love you.

Before speculating about the two Latin verbs, it is important to note that Jerome, in the Vulgate, was simply maintaining the distinction found in the original Greek between ἀγαπᾷς με (agapas me), which he translated as diligis me, and φιλεῖς με (phileis me), which he translated as amas me. There is internal evidence that the two verbs were simply being used synonymously. (In verse 17, Jesus asked Peter for the third time: diligis me?. And the author comments that Peter was troubled that Jesus "...had asked him a third time amas me?, though the text had Jesus asking diligis me? The two verbs seem to be used here as synonyms, though exegetes may discover (or invent) deep hidden differences between the two. The original Catholic Douay-Rheims English translation and the Protestant King James Bible translate both verbs as "love". Most modern translations do the same.

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