5 Uses of Perder in Spanish: How to Talk about Losing, Missing, and More

The verb “perder” has many different uses in Spanish. Its uses can go from losing an object, some cash or a soccer match, to wasting time or missing something. And it can even be used to talk about rotten food! That’s… kind of confusing, huh? 

Before panic gets to you, take a deep breath and calm down. Here at iAmigo School you will learn the most important uses of the Spanish verb “perder” and how to create sentences with each of them. 

The first and most important thing you need to know is that the Spanish verb “perder” is irregular. This means that it’s a Spanish verb that doesn’t follow the regular conjugation pattern. In fact, this is a stem-changing verb. If that sounds too technical, don’t worry! Look at the verb conjugation table below and you should notice the difference in the first letters of the word:

SubjectPerder
Yopierdo
pierdes
Ella / Él / Ustedpierde
Nosotras / Nosotrosperdemos
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedespierden

Did you notice the difference? In every subject, except for “nosotros”, the first vowel “e” in the verb “perder” changes to “ie”. This is a common phenomenon in some Spanish verbs such as “empezar”, “pensar”, “entender”, among other Spanish verbs.

Now that we’re familiar with the irregular conjugation of the verb “perder”, we can look at its different uses in Spanish.

Uses of Perder in Spanish

1. Perder - To Lose Something

This use of the Spanish verb “perder” is similar to its regular use in English. You can lose something like your keys or your phone. You can also lose a match or some weight, and you can even lose something abstract, like your will to live.

Some examples in Spanish:

  • ¡Siempre pierdo mi lápiz!

              I’m always losing my pencil!

  • No quiero perder más peso.

              I don’t want to lose any more weight.

  • ¡Con estos niños voy a perder la cabeza!

              I’m going to lose my mind with these kids!

  • Mi equipo de fútbol favorito nunca pierde un partido.

              My favorite soccer team never loses a game.

2. Perder algo - To Miss Something

Yes! “Perder” also means “missing” in Spanish, but not in the case of missing someone. It’s used to talk about “missing a chance”, “missing the train” or “missing an event”.

For example:

  • Perdemos el bus, ¡corre!

              We’re missing the bus, run!

  • perdiste tu oportunidad conmigo.

              You missed your chance with me.

  • Me pierdo de toda la información.

              I’m missing all of the information.

When you want to describe an event that you’ve missed like, for example, “I missed the beginning of the movie” you should use the Spanish verb “perder” in it’s reflexive form, which is “perderse”.

Here are some examples:

  • Me perdí el principio de la película.

              I missed the beginning of the movie.

  • Te perdiste lo que hizo el perro.

              You missed what the dog did.

  • Mi padres se perdieron mi función por estar trabajando.

              My parents missed my performance because they were working.

3. Perderse - To Get Lost

In order to use “perder” in this context, you’ll also need to add the corresponding reflexive pronoun in Spanish and, don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds! Also, this verb is usually conjugated in the past.

SubjectPresent TensePast Tense
Yome pierdome perdí
te pierdeste perdiste
Ella / Él / Ustedse pierdese perdió
Nosotras / Nosotrosnos perdemosnos perdimos
Ellas / Ellos / Ustedesse pierdense perdieron

For example:

  • Soy muy mala para ver mapas. Siempre me pierdo.

              I’m very bad at looking at maps. I always get lost.

  • Ellas llegaron tarde porque se perdieron.

              They were late because they got lost.

  • ¿Sabes dónde está la casa? Creo que nos perdimos.

              Do you know where the house is? I think we got lost.

Now, if you want to say “I’m lost” or “missing” at the present moment, you need to use the adjective “perdido” or “perdida” in Spanish.

Here are some useful sample sentences:

  • ¡Ayuda! Estoy perdido, no sé a dónde ir.

              Help! I’m lost, I don’t know where to go.

  • ¿Cómo llego al museo? Estoy perdido.

              How do I get to the museum? I’m lost.

  • ¿Has visto a mi gata? Está perdida.

              Have you seen my cat? She’s missing.

4. Perder el tiempo - To Waste Time

Have you ever watched Instagram, Youtube, or Netflix for hours and hours? Yeah, we mean those afternoons that you feel guilty about. Well, if you want to describe one of those days in Spanish, you can also use “perder”.

Take a look at these examples:

  • Perdí mi tiempo viendo una serie muy mala.

              I wasted my time watching a very bad TV series.

  • ¡No quiero perder más tiempo con esto!

              I don’t want to waste any more time with this!

  • Nosotros perdimos el tiempo con esa conferencia.

              We wasted our time at that conference.

5. Echarse a perder - To Spoil or To Go Bad

This is a phrase that works in combination with the verb “echar” in Spanish. It is usually conjugated in the past “se echó a perder” or “se ha echado a perder”.

For example:

  • Esa fruta se echó a perder, bótala.

              That fruit is spoiled, throw it away.

  • ¡Oh no! La carne que compramos se ha echado a perder.

              Oh no! The steak we bought has gone bad.

 

Now you know all the most useful ways of using the Spanish verb “perder”. We’re certain that they’ll all come in handy when talking about your everyday life with your Spanish-speaking friends. You’ve also read real-life situations in which you can use this useful verb. 

If you learned a lot of new phrases with this article, make sure to check out one of our other useful articles. You’ll always learn something new! 

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