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Uses and expressions of the verb ‘valer’ in Spanish

‘Valer’ is one of the verb that you will use in Spanish to express different concepts for example the price of something, or the validity of something, as well as its equivalence, value or utility. How much is a smile worth? You will also hear it as an essential element of colloquial expressions, both in its indicative, subjunctive and imperative times.

It is not a verb difficult to learn, it is just another irregular verb that in the forms of the present indicative, present subjunctive and imperative intercalates letter ‘g’: 

Yo valgo /  yo valga, tú valgas, él valga, nosotros valgamos. vosotros valgáis, ellos valgan/  valga (él), valgamos (nosotros), valgan (ellos). 

Also, it haves changes in the future and conditional tense when the vowel ‘e’ of the infinitive becomes ‘d’ (valer / valdré / valdría).

If it were not enough, sometimes it comes in reflexively and at other times, it requires adopting its subjunctive forms or being accompanied by another verb in the subjunctive.

Therefore, the best way to learn it is not memorizing this, but by practicing.  

Among the most common uses, these that you should practice more to follow a conversation in Spanish, pay special attention to these:     

– Valer= to add or to be worth  (I am not worth anything for him.)

Yo no valgo nada para él. (I am not worth anything for him.)

Nada valgo sin tu amor. (I am worthless without your love.)

Nadie sabe lo que valgo. (No one knows what I’m worth.)

Yo sé lo que valgo.   (I know what I’m worth.)

Voy a comprar esa mesa, valga mucho o valga poco. (I’m going to buy that table, regardless of whether it’s worth a lot or little.)

Esos zapatos no creo que valgan mucho. (I think that those shoes are worth much.)

¡Válgame Dios! (Oh, my God / God help me!)

He demostrado todo lo que valgo. (I have shown all that I am worth.)

(Using it to ‘have or value something’ is one of its most common uses).

-Valer = equivalence

Esa mujer vale por dos (That woman is worth two.)

Ese coche vale  lo mismo que un piso. (That car is worth the same as a flat.)

Hoy el euro vale lo mismo que el dólar (Today, euro is worth the same as the dollar.)

¿Cuánto vale tu peso en oro? (How much is worth your weight in gold?)

Vale lo mismo un café que un zumo. (A coffee is worth the same as a juice.)

Ese grado vale como licenciatura. (That university degree is worth as a degree.)

Esa oposición vale como un master. (That public competition is worth as a master.)

Valer = validity

Ese visado vale para tres años (This visa is valid for three years.)

El carnet vale hasta 2022. (The card is valid until 2022.)

La matrícula vale para todo el año. (Registration is valid for the whole year.)

Esta entrada no vale, ha caducado. (This ticket is not valid, it has expired.)

La garantía de la lavadora vale para los próximos dos años. (The warranty for the washing machine is valid for the next two years.)

La reserva solo vale durante 24 horas. (Booking is only valid for 24 hours.)

Este vale vale hasta final de año.  (This voucher is valid until the end of the year.)

Valerse = ability (being able to do something alone)

Tiene que valerse por sí mismo. (He has to manage himself.)

Debe valerse él solo. (He must look after himself.)

Debe valerse de sus propias fuerzas. (He must make use of his own strength.)

Debe valerse de su conocimiento. (He must make use of his knowledge)

Debe valerse de su habilidad. (He must make use of his skill.)

Valer = need

Debe valerse de sus amigos  (He/ she must use his /her friends.)

Debe valerse de las herramientas apropiadas. (He/ she must make use of the appropriate tool.)

Debe valerse de su equipo o está perdido (He must make use of his equipment or he is lost.)

When speaking with Spaniards, whatever their accent, it is frequent that you hear also the verb ‘valer’ in expressions like the following ones:  

-Valer la pena o no valer la pena (worthwhile or not worthwhile): to point out that something is important, interesting, or worthy of attention.

   Vale la pena ir a ver esa película. (It is worthwhile to go to watch that movie.)

   Vale la pena dedicar tantas horas de estudio para aprobar la oposición.
(It is worthwhile spending so many hours studying to approve the public competition.)

   No vale la pena perder el tiempo en restaurar ese mueble. (It is not worthwhile wasting time in restoring that furniture.)

   No vale la pena gastar dinero en eso. (It’s not worthwhile spending money on that.)

-Vale or vale, vale:  to indicate that you agree with something (ok!)

   No olvides que debes traer pan…  ¡vale!     (Do not forget that you should bring bread… okay!)

   ¿Quedamos en la puerta del teatro?  ¡Vale, allí estaré! (Do we arrange to meet at the door of the theater? Okay. I’ll be there!)

The expression ‘¡vale!’ or ‘¡vale, vale!’ is also used as an interjection to indicate in colloquial terms that an order has been understood or no further explanation is needed.

‘¡Vale, vale!’ may also be equivalent it is ‘already enough’.

        -Me gustaría hacer reformas en casa, tirar la cocina, adecentar los baños y…  (I would like to make renovations at home, pulling down kitchen, to tidy up the bathrooms and…)

        -¡Vale, vale! Pero hablemos primero del coste económico    (-OK, OK! But let’s first talk about the economic cost.)

        Debes estudiar más, esforzarte más, dedicar más tiempo a este idioma… (You must study more, to try harder, to spend more time to this language…)

       -¡ Vale, vale!  No sigas…  (- OK, OK! Do not follow…)

-‘Más valiera que’: to show surprise or strangeness before an action.

        Más le hubiera valido venir en avión que en tren.   (It would have been better for him to come by plane than by train.)

        Más valiera que jugaran bien este partido (It would be better for them playing the match well.)

        Más les valiera callar que hablar (It would be better for them to shut up than to talk.)

        Más les valiera estudiar. (It would be better for them to study.)

        Más valiera que te dedicases a lo tuyo   (It would better for you dedicating in your own business.)

– ¿Cuánto vale?  ¿Qué vale?:  to ask for the price of something.

Me encanta ese reloj ¿Cuánto vale? (I love this watch. How cost?)

¿Cuánto vale el billete de avión a Río de Janeiro? (How much is the plane ticket to Rio de Janeiro?)

No me vale: It means that something is not useful or adequate, or that it is not enough.

Me gusta mucho ese traje pero ya no me vale. (I really like that suit but it is small for me now.)

No me vale solo entender el idioma, quiero hablarlo bien. (It’s not enough for me to understand the language, I want to speak it well.)

Ya te vale:It is one of those colloquial expressions that are trendy. It is used with different meanings but the most common is to reproach an attitude or behavior:

¡Ya te vale! ¡No bebas más! ¡Ya te vale, María, siempre llegas tarde!¡Eres muy pesado, ya te vale, ¿no?!  (Geez! Do not drink any more! All right, Maria, you always arrive late! You’re very boring, geez! Are you?)

-Valer un Potosí: to worth a lot or cost a fortune. 

Ese muchacho vale un Potosí. (That boy is worth much.)

María vale un Potosí. (María is worth much.)

El barco vale un Potosí. (The boat costs a fortune)

No valer un pimiento: to worth anything, it has no worth

Esa pulsera no vale un pimiento. (That bracelet is not worth.)

El libro no vale un pimiento. (The book is not worth.)

Ese asesor no vale un pimiento. (That consultant is not worth.)

-Valer por dos:to be worth a lot.

Juan vale por dos. (Juan is worth two.)

Ella vale por dos. (She’s worth two.)

Mi nuevo jefe vale por dos.  (My new boss is worth two.)

Pía Valls / PracticaEspañol


Practica los usos del verbo ‘valer’

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Question 1
Elige la frase en la que ‘vale’ expresa conformidad.
¿Cuánto vale la entrada del cine?
¡Vale! ¡Nos vemos en el parque!
No vale la pena ver esa película.
Question 2
Se usa ‘vale’ para preguntar por un precio en la frase…
Tengo un vale para comprar una blusa.
Esta blusa no me vale.
¿Cuánto vale esta blusa?
Question 3
Elige la frase donde el verbo valer se utiliza para expresar el valor de algo.
¡Ya te vale!
Saben lo que valen.
Esto no vale la pena.
Question 4
Se usa el verbo valer para expresar equivalencia en la frase…
Este carnet no te vale, está caducado.
Un bocadillo vale lo mismo que un refresco.
¿Cuánto vale un bocadillo?
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