How to Use the Spanish Verb ‘Parecer’
Dive into the many uses of the verb parecer with our detailed guide! This verb has no single English definition. Luckily, you can easily learn how to use this versatile verb in Spanish through our conjugation tables, clear explanations, and plentiful examples.
Present Tense Conjugations
Let’s start off with the basics and go over the present tense conjugations for each pronoun!
|él, ella, Ud.||parece|
|ellos, ellas, Uds.||parecen|
Past Tense Conjugations
Now let’s conjugate parecer into the past tense! Remember that there are two different past tenses: preterite and imperfect. Sometimes it can be tricky to know when to use preterite or imperfect. Check out our helpful Preterite vs Imperfect guide to easily learn the difference!
|él, ella, Ud.||parecía|
|ellos, ellas, Uds.||parecían|
|él, ella, Ud.||pareció|
|ellos, ellas, Uds.||parecieron|
Future Tense Conjugations
You may want to use parecer to describe how things will appear in the future! This table clearly illustrates all the future conjugations of parecer. If you need a refresher on the future tense, be sure to check out our detailed grammar guide: Future Tense Endings.
|él, ella, Ud.||parecerá|
|ellos, ellas, Uds.||parecerán|
Subjunctive Mood Conjugations
The last type of conjugation we’re going over is the subjunctive mood. This isn’t a verb tense, but rather a mood. The subjunctive mood is the verb form used to explore a hypothetical situation, express a wish, a demand, doubt, or a suggestion.
This mood may appear tricky at first, but this conjugation table and our Spanish Subjunctive Guide make it easy to understand!
|él, ella, Ud.||parezca|
|ellos, ellas, Uds.||parezcan|
Parecer vs. Parecerse
Before we dive into the many meanings of parecer, it’s important to go over what this word doesn’t mean. Spanish students often mix up parecer and parecerse since they sound so similar. However, they aren’t actually used the same way!
Parecer is a normal verb. Normal verbs form the most common sentence structures. These are sentences that follow the basic subject-verb-object pattern. Additionally, parecer is very similar to the English word “seem” since both have many uses.
Ella parecía bastante contenta.
She looked quite happy.
¿Qué te pasa? Pareces enfadado.
What’s up with you? You seem angry.
Parecerse can be a reciprocal verb. Reciprocal verbs apply when two subjects are performing the same action on each other. When you hear “reciprocal verb” think about “reciprocity,” the idea of doing something to each other.
Reciprocal verbs are a type of pronominal verb, meaning they have both a subject pronoun and a reflexive pronoun. In the case of reciprocal verbs, the reflexive pronoun indicates that the action of the verb is exchanged between two or more subjects acting upon each other. Let’s look at an example to get a better idea of how reciprocal verbs work!
Se parecen como dos gotas de agua.
They are like two drops of water. (Similar to saying “two peas in a pod”)
Another important distinction between parecer and parecerse is that parecerse is the only one that uses the personal “a.” The indefinite article “a” shows an interaction between two or more people.
The phrase parecerse a is the Spanish equivalent of “to look like” or “to be like.”
Take a look at some examples below!
Su vestido se parece al mío.
Her dress looks like mine.
Creo que te pareces a Shakira.
I think you look like Shakira.
Uses for Parecer
Now that we know the difference between parecer and its sibling parecerse, let’s focus on the main verb: parecer. This verb can be used for just about anything! From describing people, places, and things to talking about what you think might happen, this verb has many uses. Let’s go over each way to use parecer so you can start sounding like a native speaker in no time!
To Describe Things
One of the main uses of parecer is to talk about how things look. To express your observations, use parecer.
Ella parece cansada.
She looks tired.
Carlos parece más joven de lo que es.
Carlos looks younger than he is.
To Talk About Opinions
The next use of parecer is for stating your opinion about something, or for asking about what others think.
This use of parecer has the same structure as the verb gustar, that is, it requires indirect pronouns.
Here are a few examples:
¿Qué te parece la película?
What do you think about the movie?
¿Qué te parece?
What do you think (of that)?
Me parece muy entretenida.
I think it is very entertaining.
To Discuss Appearances
Things aren’t always as they seem!
Sometimes looks are deceiving. If you get deceived by the appearance of something, parecer can be used just like the English verb “seem.”
Take a look at some examples:
El trabajo parecía fácil, pero era complicado.
The work seemed easy, but it was complicated.
¡Parecía una buena idea en ese momento!
It seemed like a good idea at the time!
As an Impersonal Verb
It is very common to use parecer as an impersonal verb followed by que. The verb that follows is typically in the indicative mood, while the subjunctive mood follows no parecer.
The indicative mood is used when parecer is in its positive form since it is used to indicate how something is perceived. However, adding “no” to the verb adds uncertainty, sort of like saying, “I doubt this will happen.” Therefore, when using no parecer, the subjunctive mood is needed for the following verb.
Parecer Followed by the Indicative Mood
Parece que este enlace está roto.
It looks like this link is broken.
No Parecer Followed by the Subjunctive Mood
No parece que vaya a llover.
It doesn’t look like it’s going to rain.
Veronica no parece que tenga frío.
Veronica doesn’t seem like she’s cold.
Al parecer — apparently, seemingly
Parecer also makes for a great transition word! Just add al to the beginning of the phrase to get the Spanish equivalent of “apparently” or “seemingly.”
Here are a few examples!
Al parecer, la economía todavía no se ha recuperado por completo.
Apparently, the economy has not fully recovered yet.
Al parecer, los resultados del estudio no corroboran nuestra hipótesis.
Seemingly, the results of the study do not support our hypothesis.
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