Monday, December 17, 2012

¿Qué lleva?

Today I'm going to talk about the verb llevar.  It has many uses, some of which you might find surprising.  This post by no means covers every possible usage of llevar, but I talk about several, so let's get to it.
I now have a podcast on the verb Llevar that complements this post quite well, so be sure to check it out, it's free to listen to and also has a written transcript available. 

11 uses of the Spanish verb Llevar no one bothered to teach you

Now let's get back to the task at hand.

Llevar is the verb of choice when it comes to getting around. 

Llévame a casa
Take me home.

¿Me llevas a mi casa? 
Will you take me home?

¿A donde me llevas?
Where are you taking me?

Te llevo donde quieras
I'll take you where ever you want

¿Quieres que te lleve? 
Do you want me to take you?

Yo te llevo
I'll take you

Have you ever had a friend tell you they're going to eat at your favorite restaurant, go on a dream vacation or something of the like and you really want to go with them?  Well, put on your best puppy dog face and ask:

Will you take me with you?

Surprisingly, you can use the verb llevar to talk about the passage of time, like how long you've been living somewhere or have been doing something.

Llevo 8 años viviendo en Barcelona
I've been living in Barcelona for 8 years

Llevo dos horas esperandote
I've been waiting for you for two hours

Llevo tres años aprendiendo español
I've been learning Spanish for three years

Another usage that took me by surprise is that you can use llevar to talk about what you're wearing.  The expression is llevar puesto.

¿Qué llevas puesto?
What do you have on?

¿De qué color es la camisa que llevas puesta?
What color shirt are you wearing?

Llevo puesta una camisa azul
I have on a blue shirt

You can also talk about what you don't wear.

No lleva gafas
He doesn't wear glasses

Since we're on the subject, at some point you'll hear the verb tener used to talk about what someone is wearing as well.

¿Qué tienes puesto?
What do you have on?

Tengo puesto un blue jeans clarito y unos converse blancos 
I have on light colored blue jeans and white converse shoes

One more thing for you ladies.  If you find yourself wanting to ask a guy the famous question, boxers or briefs, you'll find this useful.

¿Usas boxers o briefs?
Do you wear boxers or briefs?

¿Qué te pones, boxers o briefs?
What do you wear, boxers or briefs?

And if you ladies want to know what he's wearing right now, well, we've already covered that.  

Guys, you're on own your own.  I won't be held responsible for any cachetadas or palmadas (slaps to face) you get from being a little too curious.  Besides, I've already told you everything you need to know, just substitute the appropriate words and you're in business.  

Now let's get back to llevar.

Llevar is also useful for going shopping.  

Compra una camisa y llévate otra gratis
Buy one shirt and get one free

Did the salesperson finally convince you to buy something?  Then you can say...

Me lo llevo
I'll take it.

Here are some more uses of llevar.

¡Cómo pesa este bolso! ¿Qué lleva acá?
This bag is heavy!  What do you have in here?

 ¿Qué llevo en mi maleta?
What should I take (pack) in my suitcase?

Cuando viajo sólo llevo una maleta
When I travel I only take one suitcase 

Llevo mi celular a todas partes
I take my cell phone everywhere

And lastly, llevar also has it's food related uses.

If you want to know what that tasty looking dish in the menu has in it, or you need to make sure it doesn't have anything you're allergic to, you can simply ask:

¿Qué lleva?
What's in it?

Remember, asking qué lleva will get you the list of ingredients of what you're thinking about ordering.  If you want know what comes with it,  then you need to ask:

¿Con qué viene? 

Quite often you'll want to take your food with you for one reason or another, and for that you'll need para llevar.

¿Para aquí o para llevar?
For here or to go?

¿Me lo puedes poner para llevar?
Can I get this to go?

Una caja para llevar por favor
A to go box please

Lo quiero para llevar
I want it to go

As you can see llevar is a very flexible verb.  Everything I talked about you'll hear on a regular basis and needs to become part of your everyday vocabulary if you're serious about your Spanish.  

That's it for today, and don't forget to check out the my podcast on Llevar on as well.
 11 uses of the Spanish verb Llevar no one bothered to teach you


  1. Wow Rodney! This is a very useful lesson.

  2. Great discussion, Rodney. Muchas gracias. I do have one question. With the expression llevar puesto, sometimes you say puestO and other times puestA, and I can't figure out why. For example,

    ¿De qué color es la camisa que llevas puesta?
    What color shirt are you wearing?

    Llevo puesto una camisa azul
    I have on a blue shirt

    Also, you say "¿Qué llevas puesta?"
    What do you have on?
    "¿Qué tienes puesto?"
    What do you have on?

    What determines whether it's puesta or puesto?

  3. Good question Juanita.

    Technically speaking whether you use puesto or puesta depends on the gender of the clothes.

    So if you're wearing a camisa (feminine), you would say "llevo puesta una camisa roja". For masculine items like a watch (reloj) it would be "llevo puesto mi reloj".

    As far as I can tell for the generic question "What are you wearing?", you should probably use "puesto", but it seems like you can use either one.

  4. Hi Rodney,

    This is a great article, another use for "llevar" i can think of, and you may know it already, is Llevarse con alguien (getting along with someone).

    Te llevas con el?, Nos llevamos bien, etc.

    Saludos from Mexico

    Feliz Año Nuevo!

  5. Yes, of course! That had actually slipped my mind. I'll have to amend this post to include it.


  6. Thanks! Wow, this verb is so confusing. "María continúa llegando tarde a la oficina."