Trouble with COMER? Learn it with CHUNKS, never forget it again (Conjugation)

Always get the CONJUGATION of COMER right in Spanish (How to)

MAURA
¿Comemos en casa o comemos fuera?
(Do we eat at home or eat out?)

CARLA
Como no hicimos mercado, mejor comemos fuera.
(Since we didn’t go to the market, we’d better eat out.)

MAURA
Vale, pero vamos ya que tengo tanta hambre que me comería un elefante.
(Okay, but let’s go because I’m so hungry I could eat an elephant.)

CARLA
¡Sí! Yo también.
(Yes! Me too.)

In this little dialogue, you can already find two completely different uses of the word como (eat). But there’s so many chunks with the verb comer (to eat) and it comes up so often, we just had to make a video to cover it all.

Yo soy Maura, de (I am Maura from) Spring Spanish, and let’s now go through some of the most common uses of this irregular verb, its conjugation in the present tense, and a slightly confusing use that is not even a verb anymore! ¡Empecemos!

1. Conjugating Comer in the present tense

MAURA
¡Sí! Me encanta comer vegetariano porque no me siento pesada después.
(Yes! I love eating vegetarian because I don’t feel heavy afterwards.)

CARLA
Lo sé, es súper distinto. Por eso yo como vegetariano entre tres y cuatro veces por semana.
(I know, it’s very different. That’s why I eat vegetarian food 3 to 5 times a week.)

MAURA
¿De verdad? ¡Nosotros estamos haciendo lo mismo! No sé cuántas veces por semana, pero comemos vegetariano cada vez que podemos.
(Really? We’re doing the same thing! I don’t know how many times a week, but we eat vegetarian every chance we get.)

CARLA
¿En serio? ¿Incluso Mauricio? Que siempre come en tu casa.
(Really? Even Mauricio? Who always eats at your house.)

MAURA
¡Sí! Es que ellos también comen más vegetariano ahora.
(Yes! It’s just that they also eat more vegetarian now.)

Here we already have a bunch of chunks conjugated in the present. Let’s complete the ones missing and put all of them into a little table so it’s easier to visualize.

Si llevas un tiempo con nosotros, ya sabes lo que tengo que decir sobre esta tabla, ¿o no? (If you’ve been with us for a while, you know what I have to say about this table, or not?)

Do not, under any circumstance, think we expect you to memorize this! The idea is that all the chunks in this video will contain the right conjugation and as long as you remember those and use them in the right context, you’re done! ¡Eso es todo! (That’s it!) It’ll be correct without you needing to drill conjugation rules in your head.

That being said, let’s jump into that table:

PronounVerbChunk
Yo (I)ComoYo como vegetariano entre tres y cuatro veces por semana. (I eat vegetarian 3 to 4 times a week.)
Tú (singular you)ComesTú comes vegetariano entre tres y cuatro veces por semana. (You eat vegetarian 3 to 4 times a week.)
Ella, Él, Eso (She, he, it)Come¿Incluso Mauricio? Que siempre come en tu casa. (Even Mauricio? Who always eats at your house.)
Nosotras/Nosotros (We)ComemosComemos vegetariano cada vez que podemos. (We eat vegetarian whenever we can.)
Ustedes (plural you)ComenUstedes también comen más vegetariano ahora. (You also eat more vegetarian now.)
Ellas/Ellos (They)ComenEllos también comen más vegetariano ahora. (They also eat more vegetarian now.)

Chunk Alert!

Tengo tanta hambre que me comería… (I am so hungry I could eat…) This is one of those typical things we can say to express we’re starving. The fun part is that it doesn’t belong to any specific country and you can add your personality to it by saying whatever your imagination can come up with right at the end.

For example, you could say: Tengo tanta hambre que me comería un edificio. (I am so hungry I could eat a building.) Try it out in the comments and show off your creativity by saying what you would eat because you’re so hungry.

Also, down in the description, there is the link to our Free Essential Spanish Chunking Kit which you can click and get many more essential chunks to pump up your Spanish game right now!

2. Random chunks when comer isn’t about eating

By the way, at the end of this video, we’ll get into what the word como can do, when it’s not even the verb comer anymore. Same spelling, different meaning. I’ll give you a little clue, it’s something that “like” does in English too.

MAURA
¿Vamos en carro, no?
(We go by car, right?)

CARLA
Sí, yo manejo.
(Yes, I drive.)

MAURA
Vale, pero cuidado con no comerte una luz como el otro día.
(Okay, but be careful not to run a light like the other day.)

CARLA
Uff, es que o me comía la luz o me comía al tipo de al lado que no paraba de gritarnos cosas. ¡Qué imbécil!
(Pff, I either ran the light or I ate the guy next to me who kept shouting things at us. What a jerk!)

MAURA
Bueno, pero comerte una luz puede significar una multa y comerte a un tipo por imbécil es algo que realmente se merecía.
(Well, but running a light can mean a fine and eating a guy for being a jerk is something he really deserved.)

Be careful with comerte a un tipo (eating a guy). It is likely that it could mean something sexual or loving in certain contexts or countries. For me, It clearly means violence when someone says something like:

  • Uff, es que o me comía la luz o me comía al tipo de al lado que no paraba de gritarnos cosas. (Pff, I either ran the light or I ate the guy next to me who kept shouting things at us.)

It’s all about having an argument with someone in such a manner that you might as well have eaten the other person.

It could be sexual or loving though, when someone says it directly like this: te como (I eat you). But, it is the type of thing you can also say about cuteness. So, a friend could say it to you, because you look rather cute that day, or you could say it to a baby or a pet and it’ll be quite loving; not sexual at all.

The other chunk we heard in this dialogue was: cuidado con no comerte una luz (careful with not “eating” a light). It might be weird in English but just know that when you run a light, you are comiéndote la luz (”eating” the light) in Spanish.

Apart from this, we also have the empowering chunk: comerse el mundo (to eat the world). For example, I have a friend who’s on a moving adventure to Poland. She has a little girl and she’s been telling that little girl that:

  • Ana, nos vamos a comer el mundo. (Ana, we are going to “eat” the world.) And
  • Ana, cómete el mundo. (Ana, “eat” the world.)

She tells her this when she drops her off at school or they talk about what they’re doing in Poland. The idea is to take advantage of everything, rise to the challenges and make the best out of every new and complex situation. Así que, ya saben, vayan a comerse el mundo. (So, now you know, go eat the world.)

3. Similarities and differences with the English translation

All this talk about como has reminded me of a tongue twister from when I was a child. I remember it was kind of hard to get. Let’s come back to this at the end of this section and see if it’s still just as hard.

Similarities between comer & to eat

So, comer and “to eat” mean exactly the same thing in both languages every time you’re talking about food:

  • ¿Qué vamos a comer esta noche? (What are we going to eat tonight?)
  • Yo no puedo comer lácteos. (I can’t eat dairy.)

Maybe you could push it a bit and use the chunk te como (I eat you) in English like we do in Spanish. So, I could grab Margarito and tell him he’s so cute that:

  • Te voy a comer. (I’m going to eat you.)

Differences between comer & to eat

As we’ve seen so far, we have many idiomatic expressions with comer that wouldn’t translate to English. Also, there’s that word with the same spelling, como, that has nothing to do with comer or “to eat”. We’ll get into it right after this section. Examples for all of this could be:

  • Como no hicimos mercado... (Since we didn’t go to the market…)
  • Ana, cómete el mundo. (Ana, eat the world.)
  • Vale, pero cuidado con no comerte una luz como el otro día.  (Okay, but be careful not to run a light like the other day.)

A tongue twister with como:

It’s quite short but it forces you to understand most of what como can do in Spanish. Probamos, ¿vale? (Let’s try, shall we?) This is how it goes:

  • El que poco coco come, poco coco compra y como yo poco coco como, poco coco compro. (The one who eats little coconut, buys little coconut and since I eat little coconut, I buy little coconut.)

Try saying it fast and without mistakes and let me know how you did in the comments!

4. When como means something completely different

CARLA
Como no sabía que íbamos a salir, no le dije a Alex. ¿Tú crees que se moleste?
(Since I didn’t know we were going out, I didn’t tell Alex. Do you think she’ll be upset?)

MAURA
¡No creo! Pero, por si acaso, ¿le puedes escribir y le dices que fue algo de último minuto?
(I don’t think so! But, just in case, can you write to her and tell her it was a last minute thing?)

CARLA
¡Claro! ¿Cómo no? La invito, pero le digo que es como ella prefiera, que no hay presión porque nosotras vamos saliendo ya.
(Of course! How could I not? I’ll invite her, but I’ll tell her that it’s as she prefers, that there’s no pressure because we’re already on our way out.)

MAURA
¡Exacto! Bien.
(Exactly! Good.)

None of the times you saw the word como it was acting as the verb “to eat”. It is, actually, a completely different word. An adverb, to be precise. So you can have an idea of what’s happening here, think of the word “like” in English. It can be a verb: I like cinnamon. Or it can be an adverb: This feels like a dream.

Same type of thing happens with como. It can be a verb: Yo no como carne roja (I don’t eat read meat). Or it can be a word as seen in the dialogue:

  • Como no sabía que íbamos a salir. (Since I didn’t know we were going out.)
  • Como ella prefiera. (As she prefers.)

The other way in which we use como, it’s like a question. This time it will have an accent mark on the first O:

  • ¿Cómo no? (How could I not?)
  • ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?)
  • ¿Cómo nos vamos al restaurante? (How do we go to the restaurant?)

Now that you know everything como can do, you’ll have a better chance at understanding how that tongue twister works. Let’s take a look at it one more time and differentiate when como is acting as a verb and when como is acting as a word.

  • El que poco coco come, poco coco compra y como yo poco coco como, poco coco compro. (The one who eats little coconut, buys little coconut and since I eat little coconut, I buy little coconut.)

We have three “comos”:

  • Número uno (Number 1): come
  • Número dos (Number 2): como
  • Número tres (Number 3): como

Which one’s a verb and which one isn’t?

Correct answer: number 1 and number 3 are verbs! Number 2 is a word.

Since we’ve done quite a few verb videos, we created a playlist with all of them. Now it’s easy for you to make sure you’ve seen them all and add them to your array of Spanish verbs!

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