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Nobody ever drops anything in Spanish!

Updated: Mar 9

I still remember the first time I heard the verb "to drop" during an English class. "I drop, you drop, she drops", my teacher said while my Spanish mind said “se me cae, se te cae, se le cae”. In Spanish we express to drop by using the verb caer, which means to fall.

Wait a minute, I thought confused, does it fall or do I drop it? They aren't just one verb? The translation of ‘I drop’ is ‘se me cae’, which literally means ‘it falls (from) me’. Take a look:

Algo se cae. means: Something falls.


Algo se me cae. means: Something falls (from) me. Or to me, if you prefer it that way.

“So I drop means it falls from me”, I thought during the class. In my mind, I drop sounded like I did something, it gave me an intention or responsibility that I didn’t think I had. Come on! I didn’t do anything, gravity did!

Let's look at all the conjugations in the simple present tense. Remember that the verb caerse is reflexive, so we use me, te, se and nos before the verb:


Fall Drop

I fall – me caigo I drop se me cae

you fall – te caes you drop se te cae

she/he falls – se cae she/he drops se le cae

we fall – nos caemos we drop se nos cae

you fall (pl.) – se caen you drop (pl.) se les cae

they fall – se caen they drop se les cae

Notice with “to drop” how the whole conjugation for the verb is in the third person singular, se cae doesn’t change. Remember, something falls, not the persons holding it. And that happens to me (me), you (te), him/her (le), us (nos), you pl. (les), and them (les).

Therefore, if you drop more than one thing, you say se caen:

I always drop the books. Siempre se me caen los libros.

After a certain time we normalize almost everything. I drop sounds very logical to me now. Although I have to admit that I miss the old days, when I was less responsible for the things that happened to me! By the way, there are a few more verbs in Spanish with the same peculiarity. We will talk about them soon in a following post. If you have any questions about this or other topics, don’t hesitate to contact me. I offer lessons online every day of the week.

The next time you drop something, remember to do it in Spanish!

I’m a Spanish teacher based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since 2007 I have been teaching Spanish to people from all over the world. Whether looking for an online Spanish tutor, or in person while visiting Buenos Aires, please reach out to me with any questions you might have!

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