In this lesson we are going to learn how to use the Spanish verb Deber (Must). In our previous topic we learned a similar verb, Tener Que (To have to) and in our next topic we will learn another similar verb Hay Que (One has to).

The Spanish verb Deber is commonly used and relatively simple to learn. We use it to express obligation or responsibility, when there is an obligation or responsibility to do something. In English, Deber translates to Must or Ought.

Spanish verb Deber (Must)

Here’s how to conjugate Deber (Must):

(Yo) Debo…: I must…
(Tú) Debes…: You must… (informal)
(Usted) Debe…: You must… (formal)
(Él/Ella) Debe…: He/She must…
(Nosotros) Debemos…: We must…
(Vosotros) Debéis…: You must… (group/informal)
(Ustedes) Deben…: You must… (group/formal)
(Ellos) Deben…: They must…

spanish verb deber

Practice sentences with the Spanish verb Deber

Here are some practice sentences with Deber for all persons:

Debo visitar Sevilla: I must visit Sevilla
Debes relajarte más: You must relax more
Usted debe relajarse más: You must relax more
Juan debe disculparse: Juan must apologise
Debemos hablar: We must talk
Debéis hacer ejercicio: You must do exercise
Ustedes deben hacer ejercicio: You must do exercise
Pedro y Julia deben jubilarse: Pedro and Julia must retire

Questions and negatives

Next let’s see some example sentences using Deber with questions and negatives. As always with Spanish, making questions and negatives is very easy:

Hola Marta, ¿cómo estás?: Hi Marta, how are you?

Bien. Pero estoy muy cansada: Fine. But I am very tired.

Debes dormir más Marta. Siempre estás cansada: You must sleep more Marta. You are always tired.

Debo irme a la cama más pronto, es verdad: I must go to bed earlier, it’s true.

¿Por qué siempre estás despierta hasta muy tarde? ¿Es porque tienes mucho trabajo?: Why are you always up very late? Is it because you have a lot of work?

No, no es por eso. Es porque me gusta ver la tele: No, it’s not because of that. It’s because I like to watch TV.

Debe grabar las cosas que quieres ver que echan tarde o verlas en streaming: You must record the things you want to watch that are on late or watch via streaming.

También me gusta estar con mis compañeras de piso. Ellas no vuelven de su trabajo hasta tarde y nos gusta estar juntas viendo la tele: I also like being with my flat-mates. They don’t come back from work until late and we like to be together watching TV.

Vale. Entiendo. Pero no debes estar tan cansada. Igual no tienes que hacer esto todas las noches: OK. I understand. But you mustn’t be so tired. Maybe you don’t have to do this every night.

¡No deben echar los programas buenos tan tarde! No hay nada que ver en la tele hasta las once: They mustn’t show the good things so late! There’s nothing to watch on TV until eleven:

We hope you found this lesson useful. The Spanish verb Deber is one of those Spanish verbs that you will find yourself using often. It’s a handy one to know and nice and easy to use.