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Using 'Soler'

Verb Expresses Idea That Something Usually Occurs

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Soler is a verb frequently used to indicate that someone does something as a customary practice or that something usually happens. Although it is a common auxiliary verb it is also an unusual verb:

  • It is a defective verb in that it isn't used in all forms. It is very rarely used in tenses other than the present indicative, imperfect indicative and present subjunctive.
  • It is almost always followed by an infinitive.
  • It is a stem-changing verb; when the stem is stressed, the o changes to ue. So the first-person indicative present form of soler is suelo. In other words (except for the fact that not all potential conjugated forms are used), it follows the same conjugation pattern as contar.

Soler can be translated in a variety of ways, depending on the context, although its basic meaning is always the same. Possible translations are "to be used to," "usually," "customarily," "to regularly" and the like.

Here are some examples of soler in use. Translations given aren't the only possible ones:

  • Suelo utilizar cualquier mochila que tengo a mano. I usually use whatever backpack I have handy.
  • Solíamos tener cinco o seis meses de lluvia, pero ahora la temporada de lluvia es mucho más corta. We used to have five or six months of rain, but now the rainy season is much shorter.
  • Los movimientos populares masivos en Latinoamérica no suelen atraer a los intelectuales. Massive popular movements in Latin America do not typically attract intellectuals.
  • Solían ir en grupos y vestían todos igual. They used to go in groups and would all dress alike.
  • Hoy en día no es algo que solamos tener en la cocina. Nowadays it isn't something we usually have in the kitchen.
  • YouTube no es un sitio web que yo suela visitar. YouTube isn't a website I regularly visit.
  • No me suelo quedar tranquila. I'm not used to staying calm.
  • ¿Qué sueles comer en un restaurante chino? What do you usually eat in a Chinese restaurant?
Other Verbs

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