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Using 'Comer'

Verb Typically Means 'To Eat'

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Veggie pizza

Me gusta comer pizza sin anchoas. (I like to eat pizza without anchovies.)

Photo by Food Recipes; licensed via Creative Commons.

Comer is a common Spanish verb "to eat" and has most of the meanings that the English verb has.

Most commonly, comer means simply to consume food through the mouth:

  • Me gusta comer pizza sin anchoas. I like to eat pizza without anchovies.
  • El comer es uno de los placeres de la vida. Eating is one of the pleasures of life.
  • Comieron en el aeropuerto de Lima antes de abordar el avión. They ate at the Lima airport before boarding the plane.
  • Leah come como un pajarito. Leah eats like a bird.

Sometimes, depending on the context, comer refers specifically to eating lunch or dinner. Desayunamos en casa y comemos en el camino. We're eating breakfast at home and eating lunch on the road.

Like "eat up," comer can be used colloquially to suggest immense pleasure: Mi abuela comió el libro. My grandmother ate up the book.

Comer can be used figuratively to refer to corrosion, erosion or the "eating up" of something by natural processes. The translation varies with the context:

  • El mar comió toda la arena. The sea washed away all the sand.
  • El ácido comió el concreto de la cisterna. The acid ate away at the tank's concrete.

Similarly, the reflexive form comerse can be used in a variety of ways to indicate that something is "swallowed up" or otherwise consumed or missing:

  • ¿Cuántas páginas se comieron? How many pages were missing?
  • Parece que se comió la letra N. It looks like the letter N was omitted.
  • La inflación se come el ahorro de la gente. Inflation is eating up the people's savings.

The reflexive form is also sometimes used to add emphasis. In such a case, the difference between comer and comerse is roughly the difference between "to eat" and "to eat up." Los chicos se comieron todos los dulces. The boys ate up all the candy.

Comer is conjugated regularly, following the pattern of beber.

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