Today, you are going to practice using the Spanish verb for pain DOLER.
Now let’s dive in!
Doler is a Verb
Recognize doler as a verb thanks to its common -er ending. Doler conjugation, however, is less straightforward. If you’re familiar with the verb gustar, doler follows the same format using indirect object pronouns. In short, we need to think about the source of the pain as doing the action, with the person feeling this pain as the indirect object.
Does this conjugation sound confusing? Rather than thinking that your brain hurts right now, think how your brain is hurting you: te duele el cerebro. Your brain “el cebrero” is technically the subject, so doler is conjugated in third-person singular form duele to match. You’re the indirect object of this pain with the pronoun te. Here’s our conjugation table:
|doler present conjugation, singular||doler present conjugation, plural|
|[indirect object pronoun] duele||[indirect object pronoun] duelen|
To get the hang of this, let’s see the doler conjugation with a variety of subjects (source of the pain) and indirect objects (feeling the pain). See how the conjugation is always in the third person, whether in singular or plural depending on the source(s) of the pain (shown here in bold).
If we want to emphasize the person who’s experiencing the pain, we can add a redundant object prefaced with the preposition a.
- My hands hurt. – A mí me duelen las manos.
- Your stomach hurts because you ate a lot. – Te duele el estómago porque comiste mucho.
- Her neck hurts because she is stressed. – A ella le duele el cuello porque está estresada.
- Our legs hurt after running that marathon. – A nosotros nos duelen las piernas después de correr esa maratón.
- Their arms hurt after lifting weights at the gym. – Les duelen los brazos después de levantar pesas en el gimnasio.
Unlike with English “to hurt”, we cannot use possessive adjectives when naming the part of the body that hurts.
Therefore, it would be incorrect to say “me duele mi garganta” (correct: “me duele la garganta”).
OKAY! So now that you have learnt a little bit more about ‘me duele’, let’s SPEAK some Spanish!
STEP 1. Firstly, learn the following vocabulary of the body parts.
STEP 2. Now, hit the roulette wheel and record yourself saying what it’s hurting you.
“Me duele la cabeza”. My head hurts.
“Me duelen las rodillas”. My knees hurt.
Well done! ¡Bien hecho!
¿Te duele algo? / Does anything hurt?
If not, just say: No me duele nada
Let me know in the comments below! Can’t wait to hear from you! 😊
CEO of The Spanish Tribe