The several uses of the verb “caer” Posted by on Jun 16, 2011 in Spanish Vocabulary

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The verb caer means to fall or to fall over and it’s widely used in Spanish. Let’s learn some of its uses.

When it means to fall over, it’s generally used with its reflexive form.

Te vas a caer. – You’re going to fall.
Me caí en la escalera. – I fell on the stairs.
Está que se cae de cansancio. – He’s dead tired.

We also use caer to express the act of falling down or going down.

El coche cayó por un precipicio. – The car went over a cliff.
Cayó muerta allí mismo. – She dropped down dead on the spot.
El avión cayó en picado. – The plane nosedived.

Caer is also used when we talk about the weather.

Cayó una fuerte nevada. – It snowed heavily.
Cayó una helada. – There was a frost.
Cayeron unas pocas gotas. – There were a few drops of rain.
El rayo cayó cerca. – The lightning struck nearby.

It also means to hang, to incur, to understand or to be deceived.

El pelo le caía suelto hasta la cintura. – Her hair hung down to her waist.
No caigas en ese error. – Don’t make that mistake.
Cayó en la tentación de mirar. – She succumbed to the temptation to look.
Qué bajo has caído. – You’ve really sunk low this time.
Todos caímos en la trampa. – We all fell for it.
Cayeron como angelitos. – They fell for it hook, line, and sinker.
¡Ah, ya caigo! – Oh, now I get it!
No caigo. – I don’t get it.
No caí en que tú no tenías llave. – I didn’t realize you didn’t have keys.

Check out some more sentences using caer.

Esa palabra ha caído en desuso. – That word has fallen into disuse.
Después de tanto éxito, cayó en el olvido. – After so much success, he sank into oblivion.
Se empapó en la lluvia y cayó enfermo. – He got soaked in the rain and fell ill.
Se hará una investigación, caiga quien caiga. – An inquiry will be held, however many heads have to roll.
No sabes la que te va a caer encima. – You don’t know what’s in store for you.
Antes de que caiga la noche. – Before it gets dark.
Le cayó una pregunta muy difícil. – He got a really difficult question.
Le cayeron tres años de cárcel. – He got three years in jail.
El gordo cayó en Bilbao. – The jackpot was won by someone in Bilbao.
El pescado me cayó mal. – The fish didn’t agree with me.
Le cayó muy mal que no la invitaran. – She was very upset about not being invited.
Tu primo me cae muy bien. – I really like your cousin.
Me cae gordo. – I can’t stand him (colloq).
De vez en cuando cae / se deja caer por aquí. – She drops by every now and then.
Los invitados están al caer. – The guests will be here any minute.

It also means to fall within or to be connected.

Cae dentro de nuestra jurisdicción. – It falls within our jurisdiction.
Cae dentro de sus obligaciones. – That’s one of her duties.
El 20 cae en (un) domingo. – The 20th falls on a Sunday.
¿Por dónde cae? – Whereabouts is that?
La llamada no me cayó. – I couldn’t get through. (on the phone)

There are several structures with its reflexive use.

Oye, se te cayó un pañuelo. – Hey, you dropped your handkerchief.
Se me cayó de las manos. – It slipped out of my hands.
Cuidado, no se te vaya a caer. – Be careful, don’t drop it.
Por poco se me cae el armario encima. – The wardrobe nearly fell on top of me.
Se me están cayendo las medias. – My stockings are riding down.
No tienen donde caerse muertos. – They don’t have a penny to their name.
Se cae por su propio peso. – It goes without saying.

Nos vemos prontito.

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About the Author: Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.


  1. Viridiana:

    Muy buen blog. Sólo en la oración de “El avión cayó en picado”, sería “picada”, ¿no creen?

    • David Carmona:

      @Viridiana Se puede decir de las dos formas. En España y varios países de latinoamérica se dice “en picado”, pero cualquiera de los dos géneros es correcto para esta expresión.

  2. Lied Santos:

    Excellent blog. I always suggest your blog to my students! Good job!