Do you know these 12 opposites in Spanish?

Do you KNOW these OPPOSITES in Spanish?

CARLA (hanging a painting on the wall)
Dime si está torcido.
(Tell me if it is crooked.)

MAURA (off camera)
Un poco más arriba, más abajo. Ahora a la izquierda. No, no, menos. Un poquito a la derecha
(A little higher, a little lower. Now to the left. No, no, less. A little to the right.)

CARLA (the painting falls)
¡Ah! ¡Es tu culpa!
(Ah! It’s your fault!)

Opposites are nowhere near as dramatic as that scene. They are quite useful and necessary, though. And, studying opposites is one of the easiest ways to learn and remember vocabulary.

¡Holis! I’m Maura, from Spring Spanish. Let’s now go over 12 opposite couples than come up in Spanish all the time. ¡Empecemos!

1. Opposites in Spanish about space

¡No lo encuentro! ¿Está adentro o afuera?
(I can’t find it! Is it inside or outside?)

Está adentro.
(It is inside.)

Con razón. Lo estaba buscando afuera.
(No wonder. I was looking for it outside.)

Si no lo ves por encima, debe estar debajo de algo. ¡Así que levanta las cosas!
(If you don’t see it on top, it must be under something. So lift things up!)

¿Del lado izquierdo o derecho?
(Left or right side?)

¡Dios! ¡Voy!
(God! I’m coming!)

We all have a friend that does not know how to look for things. And if you don’t, maybe you are that friend.

Our opening dialogue and this one are filled with location or space opposites. Let’s check them out with more examples:

  • Arriba y abajo (Up and down)
    • La casa tiene dos pisos. Arriba hay dos habitaciones y abajo hay una de visita. (The house has 2 floors. Upstairs there are 2 bedrooms and downstairs there is a guest room.)
    • Los de arriba y los de abajo. (The ones above and the ones below.): do you know this older British tv show called “Upstairs, Downstairs”? I don’t, but my mom does. And that’s how I know that “Los de arriba y los de abajo” was the name it was given in Latin-America.
  • Encima y debajo (On top and underneath)
    • Dejé las bolsas debajo de la mesa porque habían muchas cosas encima. (I left the bags under the table because there were too many things on top of it.)
    • La torta estaba increíble. Encima tenía chocolate blanco y debajo una capa de frutos secos. (The cake was amazing. It had white chocolate on top and a layer of nuts underneath.)
  • Adentro y afuera (Inside and outside)
    • Adentro hace mucho menos calor que afuera. (It is much cooler inside than outside.)
    • El carro puede quedarse adentro o afuera, da igual. (The car can stay inside or outside, it doesn’t matter.)
  • Derecha e izquierda (Right and left)
    • Si eres ambidiestro, puedes escribir con la mano derecha y la izquierda por igual. (If you are ambidextrous, you can write with your right and left hand equally.)
    • Dividir la política entre derecha e izquierda es demasiado simplista. (Dividing politics between right and left is too simplistic.)


Do you know what we use “encima” (on top) for in Spanish? Every time you hear a sentence that starts with “encima” you can be sure that’s a complaint. For example:
Encima va y me dice que yo soy la que no entiende. (On top of that she goes and tells me that I’m the one who doesn’t understand.)
Encima tengo que lavarme el cabello y limpiar la casa. (On top of that I have to wash my hair and clean the house.)

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2. Opposites about descriptive adjectives

Es que no sé si me gusta de verdad. Es muy simpático, eso sí.
(I just don’t know if I really like him. He’s very friendly, that’s for sure.)

Es que si fuera antipático no tendría sentido. Que te parezca simpático es lo mínimo.
(It’s just that if he were unfriendly it wouldn’t make sense. Finding him friendly is the minimum.)

Tienes razón. Pero es que no es fácil saber si alguien te gusta en serio. Al menos para mí es muy difícil entender eso tan rápido.
(You’re right. But it’s not easy to know if you really like someone. At least for me it’s very difficult to understand that so fast.)

Bueno, pero hay cosas básicas. Tiene que resultarte muy interesante. Al principio de la relación no puedes encontrarle aburrido. Si es así, mejor cortarlo de una vez.
(Well, but there are basics. You have to find him very interesting. At the beginning of the relationship you can’t find him boring. If so, better to cut it off at once.)

Diste en el clavo. Porque sí me parece simpático y es lindo. O sea, no me parece un tipo feo para nada. Pero no sé si me resulta tan interesante.
(You hit the nail on the head. Because I do think he’s friendly and he’s cute. I mean, I don’t think he’s an ugly guy at all. But I don’t know if I find him that interesting.)

Ay, no, Carla. Córtalo ya. ¿Cómo vas a forzar salir con un tipo que no te parece interesante?
(Oh, no, Carla. Cut it out. How are you going to force yourself to go out with a guy you don’t find interesting?)

We’ll do a speed round to review all of these opposites right at the end, so stick till then to play with me.

Now, let’s check out the opposites on that dialogue:

  • Simpático y antipático (Friendly and unfriendly)

    • Todo el mundo es simpático y antipático dependiendo de las circunstancias. (Everyone is friendly and unfriendly depending on the circumstances.)
    • Ser simpático no es tan importante como no ser antipático. (Being friendly is not as important as not being unfriendly.)
  • Interesante y aburrido (Interesting and boring)

    • El principio de la serie es interesante, pero luego se torna súper aburrida. (The beginning of the series is interesting, but then it gets super boring.)
    • La gente interesante no se aburre. (Interesting people don’t get bored.): I don’t know how real this is. But I do know that interesting people do know how to make boring things interesting.
  • Difícil y fácil (Difficult and easy)

    • Ni lo bueno es fácil, ni lo difícil es malo. (Neither the good is easy, nor the difficult is bad.): for some reason some of this opposite examples are coming out like sermons.
    • ¿Cuál era tu materia fácil y tu materia difícil en el colegio? (What was your easy subject and your hard subject in school?): let’s all share this in the comments. I can tell you I found chemistry painfully hard. I was very good at physics though and found it way easier.
  • Lindo y feo (Cute and ugly)

    • Los pugs son tan feos que son lindos.(Pugs are so ugly they are cute): keep in mind that both “lindo” (cute) and “feo” (ugly) have a ton of synonyms. “Lindo” could be: bonito, bello, precioso. (pretty, beautiful, gorgeous.) And “feo” could be: horroroso, horrible, desagradable. (horrible, awful, unpleasant.)
    • Lindo y feo deberían ser conceptos personales. (Cute and ugly should be personal concepts.)
opposites in spanish explained by female teacher

3. A Spanish lesson about the opposites of feelings

Lo importante es que tu estés contenta. ¿Estás contenta?
(The important thing is that you are happy. Are you happy?)

No sé. O sea, no estoy triste de salir con él, pero… tampoco creo que esté feliz.
(I don’t know. I mean, I’m not sad to be dating him, but… I don’t think I’m happy either.)

Mi mami siempre dice que la mejor decisión es la que da más paz.
(My mom always says that the best decision is the one that gives the most peace.)

Pues, tiene mucha razón. Yo estaba muy tranquila antes de conocerle. Ahora estoy como cansada y preocupada todo el tiempo.
(Well, she’s quite right. I was very calm before I met him. Now I’m kind of tired and worried all the time.)

Bueno, las relaciones tienen peso para bien y para mal. Pero lo bueno tiene que compensar lo malo.
(Well, relationships carry weight for better and for worse. But the good has to outweigh the bad.)

En este momento no creo que lo compense. Ni lo amo, ni lo odio, pero sí me cansa.
(At the moment I don’t think it makes up for it. I neither love him, nor hate him, but he does tire me out.)

  • Feliz/gontenta y triste (Happy/glad and sad)

Take into account that all of these words that end in “a” are in the femenine. If you want them in the masculine just change the “a” for an “o”. Like: contento (glad).

  • Para ser feliz hay que aprender a estar triste. (To be happy you have to learn to be sad.)
  • Ella siempre está contenta, nunca la he visto triste. (She is always happy, I have never seen her sad.): as you can see “contenta” and “feliz” are synonyms.
  • Amor y odio (Love and hate)
    • Entre el amor y el odio hay un paso. (Between love and hate there is a step.)
    • ¿Qué es algo que ustedes aman odiar? (What is something you love to hate?): have you wondered this before? I think everybody loves to hate politicians, for example.
  • Cansada y descansada (Tired and rested)
    • Cuando estoy descansada todo es perfecto. Cuando estoy cansada, todo es insoportable. (When I am rested, everything is perfect. When I’m tired, everything is unbearable.)
    • Me siento descansada físicamente, pero cansada emocionalmente. (I feel physically rested, but emotionally tired.)
  • Tranquila y preocupada (Calm and worried)
    • Él pasa de estar tranquilo a estar preocupado en un segundo. (He goes from calm to worried in a second.)
    • Estás muy preocupada todo el tiempo, necesitas estar más calmada. (You are so worried all the time, you need to be calmer.)

4. Speed round review of opposites for Spanish learners

Alright! We’ll show you one of the words and give you very little time to think about its opposite. You might want to review them first.

Listos o no (Ready or not), go:

Arriba (Up)Abajo (Down)
Encima (On top)Debajo (Underneath)
Adentro (Inside)Afuera (Outside)
Izquierda (Left)Derecha (Right)
Simpático (Nice)Antipático (Unfriendly)
Interesante (Interesting)Aburrido (Boring)
Difícil (Hard)Fácil (Easy)
Feo (Ugly)Lindo (Pretty)
Triste (Sad)Feliz (Happy)
Amor (Love)Odio (Hate)
Descansada (Rested (feminine))Cansada (Tired (feminine))
Tranquila (Calm (feminine))Preocupada (Worried (feminine))

I think vocabulary has two stages. The first one is when you learn a bunch of new words right at the beginning. The second one comes after when you realize you’re lacking in lexicon. Whether you’re stage one or stage two, click here to learn a bunch of connectors and expand your Spanish. ¡Nos vemos allá!

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