Te Amo vs Te Quiero

Te Amo vs Te Quiero: How to say “I Love You” in Spanish

I remember reading some of her LingQ posts and/or maybe swapping some messages with her way back when. Glad to see she is keeping up with the Spanish.

With regard to the substance of her article, a few additions from me follow. Warning: be prepared for stereotypes.

  1. People of “romance languages” tend to be quite passionate–about everything. Being friendly, arguing, freaking out and going spastic, being unreasonable, and based on all the telenovelas I’ve seen, falling in love at the drop of a hat or flying off the handle at the slightest provocation.

  2. I was told that amar, querrer, and encantar can all mean “to love.”

  3. However, encantar means to love in the sense as “I love ice cream” or “I love New York” or “I love Donald Trump” or I love going to the movies. Amar as in “te amo” I love you is more “poetic” and has a particular element of romance to it. When the guy writes to Lykke, and points out that he said “te quiero” and NOT “te amo” he’s alluding to this point.

  4. However to the However, and referring back to #1, I don’t buy it. Sure, maybe he truly isn’t enamored with her, but I have seen “te amo” and “te quiero” use essentially interchangeable HUNDREDS of times in person and especially in telenovelas in all shorts of contexts. Parents and kids, husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends. He’s a jokster or really does have a thing for her.

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I am impressed with that explanation. I am Spanish and I don’t know if I would have explained the difference that well. Just to summarise “te quiero” is more common than “te amo”. “Te amo” is stronger, more poetic as said earlier and less used in spoken Spanish, in Spain. In other latin countries, it’s different.

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As a native speaker, I think you’re absolutely right, @LILingquist

Here, the most important part may be the “mucho” word
“Te quiero mucho” sounds less romantic or passionate than plain “te quiero” or “te amo” but I think that also happens in English:
“I love you” vs “I love you a lot” (the first one sounds more unambiguously romantic, am I right?)
“Te quiero” and “Te amo” are virtually equivalent as ways to express a strong feeling. Depending on the particular country, environment and personal preferences, you may find that:
a) Some people don’t like being told “te amo” because it sounds corny and over the top
b) Some people insist on hearing “te amo”, not simply “te quiero” as a way to reaffirm the strength of the feeling
c) Most people don’t really care about the difference

With those compliments, I’m REALLY excited. Thank you.