How to say "to meet" in Spanish

Rob Ashby

Rob Ashby

The Spanish Obsessive

We continue our series about the “most natural” way to express something in Spanish.

In this video, you’ll learn a few ways of saying “to meet” in Spanish:

  • Quedar
  • Encontrarse
  • Unirse and reunir
  • How to avoid confusion between quedar and quedarse

Saying “to meet” in Spanish

Transcription

How do you say to meet in Spanish.

In this video series, how to say in Spanish, we look at those phrases which can be difficult to translate from English to Spanish, and we find the best translations and the most natural way to say things in Spanish. It’s aimed at intermediate to advanced Spanish learners, although if you’re a beginner, you’ll still find it really useful. I’m Rob from Spanish obsessed, and Liz will be helping us out with her beautiful native Spanish.

Hola.

So to meet with someone, how do we say this in Spanish? Well, when you think about it, in English, when we say meet, there are two different possible meanings. And depending on what we want to say, that can actually help us choose the best translation in Spanish. In English, you can meet someone for the first time, so you could say, for example, “I first met my wife nine years ago” or “we first met in the cafe”, or you could meet someone you already know for a coffee, a meal, or whatever. For example, let’s meet tomorrow for lunch. So let’s start with that meeting for meet, for when you meet someone for the first time and the verb we use in Spanish is.

Conocer.

And don’t forget when you talk about a person, so when a person is the object of the verb, we need to use what’s called the “personal a”. So we use conocer a, conocer a una persona. And when you think about it with this meaning of conocer, you’re almost certainly going to be talking about the point in the past. So we’ll use the preterite past tense for a specific point for when you first met someone. “I met” is…

Conocí a

Let’s try a couple of phrases. “I met my wife nine years ago”. Nine years ago is hace nueve años. My wife is mi esposa and then string it all together.

Conocí a mi esposo hace nueve años

Let’s try another one. 

“We first met last week”

Nos conocimos la semana pasada.

So you use conocer with that sense of meeting someone for the first time. But what about just meeting someone, let’s say, for coffee? Well, there are a few ways again, of saying meet with this sense in Spanish. And again, they all have different subtleties. So let’s start with encontrarse con. We use this for more of a chance meeting, think of like when you bump into someone. 

So for example:

Ayer me encontré con Ana en el parque

Yesterday I met, or I bumped into Anna, in the park.

The next one is reunirse. So this is to meet in the sense of gather together.

Vamos a reunir a todos los trabajadores mañana.

We’re going to get all of the workers together, so meet in a sense of get together tomorrow. 

The next one is juntarse

Again, this is used in the sense of get together, but it’s probably a little less formal. So think of like hang out like the way I don’t know, kids hang out in the shopping center or whatever.

Los jóvenes siempre se juntan en los centros comerciales

So that means the kids always hang out or get together in the shopping centers. Or what do you say in America, in the malls? 

And our final verb is quedar. And this is probably the one which you would use most of the time. It’s just meet in the sense of casually meet for coffee or for a meal or whatever.

¿Quedamos a las ocho mañana?

Shall we meet tomorrow at eight? If it’s phrased as a question, or it could just mean we meet or we’ll meet tomorrow at eight.

¿A qué hora quedamos el viernes?

This means what time do we meet on Friday? Word of warning with quedar is to not get this mixed up with quedarse. They obviously sound very similar, but they do have different meanings. Quedarse, think with the se, the SE on the end, that means to stay.

Nos quedamos en el restaurante.

We stay or we stayed in the restaurant. Whereas to meet you don’t have the SE, se, ending.

Quedamos en el restaurante.

We meet or we’ll meet in the restaurant. 

So quedarse is to stay. Quedar is to meet. 

All right. Quick summary, then. When you meet someone for the first time, that’s when you use conocer. Encontrarse a is to meet in the sense of bumping into someone. Reunirse is to get together. Juntarse is also meet as in get together. And finally quedar, this is probably what you want to use most of the time. That means to meet as in a planned meeting for coffee, for a meal or whatever. But don’t get it confused with quedarse, the reflexive verb, which means to stay. So that is how you say meet in Spanish.

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