How to express fear in Spanish? Why should you know that? Well, tomorrow is Halloween and you might need to ask for help.

El miedo (fear) is a primitive feeling that helps us survive. If you live in Spain and you are going out tomorrow night, be carefull if you bump into la Santa Compaña, las brujas de Zugarramurdi or el Machu Lanú. As you can see, in Spain, we have our own mythological beings. But, don’t be afraid, today we’ll show you how to express fear in Spanish.

The verb ‘dar’ to express fear in Spanish

Although the verb dar mainly means ‘to give’ in English, it’s very used with the meaning of ‘the cause of a feeling”. We always use a noun (direct object) for the emotion caused by the subject and a personal pronoun, the person who suffers that feeling (indirect object).

Let’s see some examples:

  • Me da miedo el hombre lobo.
  • ¿Te dan escalofríos las brujas?
  • Me da acojone Drácula.
  • A mis padres les dan mala espina los fantasmas.

However, dar is not the only verb we can use for this purpose; estar is also very common.



‘Estar’, a verb that scares

In this case, estar is followed by an adjective and the construction is totally different from dar. The verb expresses the condition or mood that feels a person.

For example:

  • Estoy asustado por los payasos.
  • Estaba muy amedrentado cuando vi a la momia.
  • Estoy acojonado; he visto un monstruo en el lago.
  • El niño estaba paralizado al ver la araña.

Dar and estar are very used to express fear in Spanish. Nevertheless, there are specific verbs that we may use.

Specific verbs that express fear in Spanish

These verbs can be used as the verb gustar, with an indirect object pronoun with a subject that causes the feeling, or as a reflexive verb.

Let’s see both options:

  • Me asustan los esqueletos. / Me asusto por los esqueletos.
  • ¿Te acojonan los extraterrestres? / ¿Te acojonas cuando ves extraterrestres?
  • A mi amigo le atemoriza la muerte. / Mi amigo se atemoriza con la muerte.

Well, now it’s time to overcome your fears… when you learn Spanish. Reserve a lesson with us and you’ll have a terrific but not terrible time. Enjoy Halloween!