Using the Spanish 'Traer'

Verb frequently means 'to bring'

french omelet
Tráigame una tortilla francesa por favor. (Please bring me a French omelet.). Peter Lindberg/Creative Commons.

Although the very common Spanish verb traer is the one most often used to translate the English verb "to bring," it is also used in a wide variety of other situations.

Keep in Mind

  • Traer most commonly conveys the idea of bringing, either literally or figuratively.
  • Traer can refer to causing a result. It can also mean the wearing of clothing.
  • Traer is irregularly conjugated.

Traer Meaning 'To Bring'

Here are some examples of traer meaning "bring":

  • El cartero me trajo el iPad. (The letter carrier brought me the iPad.)
  • Hoy te traemos la últimas noticias de la guerra. (Today we are bringing you the latest news about the war.)
  • Cada semana Pablo me trae flores. (Pablo brings me flowers every week).
  • Tráigame un café sin leche. (Bring me a coffee without milk.)

Often, traer carries a meaning similar to "bring" but is best translated in another way:

  • Por ese motivo te traigo algunos consejos. (That is why I'm giving you some advice.)
  • Esta cámara no trae flash. (This camera doesn't have flash.)
  • El libro trae los mapas más actualizados de Argentina. (The book has the most current maps of Argentina.)
  • Esto me trae felicidad en el más profundo sentido. (This makes me happy in the deepest sense.)
  • La meditación diaria te traerá paz y claridad. (Daily meditation will give you peace and clarity.)
  • Una tarde lluviosa nos traería recuerdos de infancia. (A afternoon rain had us reminiuscing about our childhood.)

Traer With Other Meanings

As sometimes does the word "bring," traer can also mean "to cause," especially when referring to difficulties:

  • Beber en exceso me trae muchos problemas. (Drinking too much causes me many problems.)
  • El asma trae dificultad para respirar. (Asthma causes difficulty in breathing.)
  • Todo esa situación me he traído una enfermedad gastrointestinal. (This whole situation has given me a gastrointestinal illness.)

When used with articles of clothing and similar personal effects, traer can mean "to wear":

  • ¿Por qué Mickey Mouse no trae camisa? (Why doesn't Mickey Mouse wear a shirt?)
  • A veces traigo lentes tipo motociclista. (Sometimes I wear motorcycle goggles.)
  • No me gusta traer los zapatos sin calcetines. (I don't like wearing shoes without socks.)

Using the Reflexive Traerse

Finally, in the reflexive form, traerse sometimes indicates what is happening with the subject of the verb:

  • ¿Qué se trae tu familia? (What's going on with your family? What's your family up to?)
  • Me parece que Netflix no funciona. ¿Qué se traerá? (It appears to me that Netflix isn't working. What could be going on?)

Phrases Using Traer

Traer is used in numerous phrases and idioms. Here are some of the most common:

  • traérsela floja (to be indifferent) — Me la trae floja a todos aquellos que me bloqueen. (I couldn't care less about all of those who block me.)
  • traer a colación (to bring up a subject) — Este caso trajo a colación la importancia de verificar los aviones antes de ser abordados. (The case brought up the importance of testing the planes before they are boarded.)
  • traer a la luz (to reveal or bring to light) — El caso trajo a la luz un problema que tiene profundas raíces en la política mexicana. (The case brought to light a problem that has deep roots in Mexican politics.)
  • trael al caso (to bear or keep in mind) — Traigamos al caso las palabras de nuestros padres. (Let's keep in mind the words of our parents.)
  • traer de cabeza (to figuratively cause a headache) — Esta tableta es atractiva, pero va a traer de cabeza a la hora de repararlo. (This tablet is attractive, but it will cause a headache when it needs to be repaired.)
  • traer loco (to drive crazy) — ¡Esta computadora me trae loco! (This computer is driving me crazy!)
  • traer prisa (to be in a hurry) — Por favor, trata de llegar lo más rápido que puedas. Traigo prisa. (Please, try to arrive as soon as you can. I'm in a hurry.) 

Conjugation of Traer

Like nearly all of the most-used verbs, traer is irregularly conjugated. In many cases, a g or j is used in the ending.

Some of the most common irregular forms are:

  • "I bring" is traigo.
  • The present participle or gerund is trayendo.
  • The past participle is traído.
  • The present subjunctive follows the pattern traigas, traiga, traiga, etc.
  • The preterite follows the pattern traje, trajiste, trajo, etc.
  • Imperative forms include traiga usted and traigan ustedes.
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Erichsen, Gerald. "Using the Spanish 'Traer'." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Erichsen, Gerald. (2020, August 26). Using the Spanish 'Traer'. Retrieved from Erichsen, Gerald. "Using the Spanish 'Traer'." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 21, 2023).