Posted by: janecronin | March 18, 2018


Just for a change we are going to look at a verb that only has one meaning: “llover” which means “to rain”. Tackling the grammar first, “llover” belongs to a group of verbs which are “root-changing”.  That means that in the present tense (and by extension in the present subjunctive as well) the root of the verb “llov” changes to “lluev” in four of its forms.  However, before we go any further, we have to stop and look at what we actually use this verb for.  Given that it means “to rain”, it makes absolutely no sense to conjugate “I rain”, “you rain” “he or she rains”, “we rain” “they rain”, as none of us “rains”.  So, in normal everyday language we only need one form of this verb – the third person singular “it rains” which is “llueve”.  Here is an example sentence which I think you can translate on your own: “En Inglaterra llueve mucho”.

In all other tenses, “llover” is a completely standard verb, so here are some examples:  “está lloviendo” (it is raining); “ha llovido” (it has rained); “lloverá” (it will rain); “llovió” (It rained); “llovía” (it rained, it used to rain, it was raining); “había llovido” (it had rained).  We could also include here the use of the infinitive as in the sentence “va a llover” (it´s going to rain).

Since I’ve already told you most of the different forms of “llover”, I might as well do the job properly and include the subjunctive.  If, for example, we want to say “I hope it doesn´t rain”, that would be “Espero que no llueva”.  Similarly “I don´t think it will rain” is “No creo que llueva”.  In both cases, we are expressing something speculative, with the most important idea of these sentences being our statements of hope or opinion, which means the verb goes into the subjunctive form.  It´s rather difficult to summarise the use of the subjunctive in one sentence, so I hope (!) you will bear with me.  The imperfect subjunctive of “llover” is “lloviera”, but I think that explaining its use in this article is a bridge too far.

The most important derivative of this verb is the noun “lluvia” meaning “rain”.  This kind of statement often leads to confusion for English speakers, because we use exactly the same word for the verb “to rain” and the noun “the rain”.  This phenomenon is extremely widespread in the English language, which means we are usually not even aware of which one we are using in a sentence.  This confusion is impossible in Spanish, because ending changes clearly indicate which category of word we are using.  So in the sentence: “Mira la lluvia” (Look at the rain) the verb is “mirar” and “lluvia” is the noun.

Finally, here´s a nice little saying with “llover”:  “Nunca llueve a gusto de todos” which literally means “It never rains to everyone’s taste” and is the equivalent of “You can´t please everybody”.

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