Traer: Conjugation, Meanings, and Expressions using To Bring in Spanish

Traer conjugation: bring her to me

Get our free email course, Shortcut to Conversational.

Have conversations faster, understand people when they speak fast, and other tested tips to learn faster.

More info

In Spanish, the verb traer is used when you want to express that an object or person is moving towards the place where the speaker is, or towards a final destination. Its literal English translation is to bring. Traer is also used in many idiomatic expressions whose meanings don’t necessarily translate literally.

In this post we’ll take a deep look at the Spanish verb traer. We’ll start with its meanings and uses, while also comparing it with the related verb llevar. Then we’ll have a whole section of traer conjugation tables, including simple and compound tenses in all four moods. Finally, we’ll look at an interesting list of idiomatic expressions with explanations and examples.

Traer in English

While the primary meaning of traer is to bring, it sometimes takes other meanings that are still in line with to bring but better translated into English in another way. Here’s a list of the translations you should be familiar with for traer in English:

  • To bring
  • To carry
  • To fetch
  • To take
  • To cause
  • To involve

How to Use Traer

The vital detail with using traer is that whatever is being brought, is generally being brought to the location of the speaker.

Let’s look at an example. Imagine your brother wants you to babysit his daughter, but you’ll need him to bring her to your house because you don’t have time to pick her up. So, you tell him…

  • Claro que sí, pero tienes que traerla a mi casa porque hoy no tengo tiempo de recogerla. – Of course, but you have to bring her to my house because I don’t have time to pick her up today.

In this scenario, as the speaker, you’re requesting that your brother bring his daughter to your house.

You can use traer to refer to either objects or people. But, when using traer, it’s important to keep the destination you’re referring to in mind.

Because we specifically use traer to describe when an object or person is moving toward the speaker or a final destination, we should differentiate it from other, similar verbs, like llevar.

Traer vs Llevar

The verb llevar in Spanish is used to express that an object or person moves to a different place from where the speaker is.

For example, imagine you are in your house and want to have a pair of boots fixed, so you take them to the shoemaker. You leave your current location (your home) to take something (the pair of boots) with you to a new destination, which in this scenario is the shoemaker’s shop. In this case, you would use llevar, not traer:

  • Necesito llevar mis botas al zapatero. – I need to take my boots to the shoemaker.

Remember too that you can also take people to a new destination. For instance, you may want to express that you’re at your children’s school and are going to take them home, or your mom may ask you to pick her up and take her to the doctor. In both of those cases, you would also use llevar:

  • Llevo mis hijos de la escuela a casa. – I take my children home from school.
  • ¿Puedes recogerme y llevarme al médico? – Can you pick me up and take me to the doctor?

Check out our specific post for a more detailed look at traer vs llevar and how to use each one appropriately.

Traer Conjugation

Traer is an irregular verb whose stem takes several forms when conjugated. The beginning of the stem is always tra-, but the full stem before adding endings differs depending on which traer conjugation we’re working with.

Simple tenses

In the following tables we present the traer conjugation in all of the simple tenses. Take note of all the different stems which occur in these tenses for this irregular Spanish verb, such as traj- for the traer preterite and the imperfect subjunctive.

You’ll also notice that in the simple present tense, the first person singular traer conjugation in the simple present ends in -go. Check out our post on “yo go verbs” to see how traer compares with a handful of other verbs whose conjugation follow a similar pattern.

Subject Present Imperfect Preterite Future
Yo traigo traía traje traeré
traes traías trajiste traerás
Él, Ella, Usted trae traía trajo traerá
Nosotros/as traemos traíamos trajimos traeremos
Vosotros/as traéis traíais trajisteis traeréis
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes traen traían trajeron traerán
Subject Conditional Present Subjunctive Imperfect Subjunctive Imperative
Yo traería traiga trajera N/A
traerías traigas trajeras trae
Él, Ella, Usted traería traiga trajera traiga
Nosotros/as traeríamos traigamos trajéramos traigamos
Vosotros/as traeríais traigáis trajerais traed
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes traerían traigan trajera traigan

Compound tenses

In the following tables, we present the traer conjugation in the compound tenses. As you can see, the participle of traer is traído. And to round out our traer conjugation, note that that gerund of traer is trayendo.

Subject Present Perfect Pluperfect Preterite Perfect Future Perfect
Yo he traído había traído hube traído habré traído
has traído habías traído hubiste traído habrás traído
Él, Ella, Usted ha traído había traído hubo traído habrá traído
Nosotros/as hemos traído habíamos traído hubimos traído habremos traído
Vosotros/as habéis traído habíais traído hubisteis traído habréis traído
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes han traído habían traído hubieron traído habrán traído
Subject Conditional Perfect Present Perfect Subjunctive Pluperfect Subjunctive
Yo habría traído haya traído hubiera traído
habrías traídas hayas traído hubieras traído
Él, Ella, Usted habría traído haya traído hubiera traído
Nosotros/as habríamos traído hayamos traído hubiéramos traído
Vosotros/as habríais traído hayáis traído hubierais traído
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes habrían traído hayan traído hubieran traído

Expressions with Traer in Spanish

Traer is an integral part of many idiomatic expressions and phrases in Spanish where we can’t necessarily consider traer in English as to bring. These expressions need to be looked at in their entirety, rather than trying to translate them word for word.

Take a look at the most common traer expressions, with English equivalents and examples. Note that we’ve used a handful of tenses in the examples to give you some practice with your traer conjugation.

Traer problemas

To give problems

Prefiero no beber alcohol, siempre me trae problemas. – I prefer not to drink alcohol, it always gives me problems.

Traer algo entre manos

To be up to something

No confío en María, siento que trae algo entre manos. – I don’t trust Maria, I feel like she’s up to something.

Traer loco/a a alguien

To drive someone crazy

No he dejado de pensar en tí, me traes loco. – I haven’t stopped thinking about you, you drive me crazy.

Traer recuerdos

To bring back memories

Esa canción me trae recuerdos lindos de mi infancia. – This song brings back sweet memories from my childhood.

Traer a alguien de cabeza

To upset or bother someone

Hoy estos mosquitos me traen de cabeza. – These mosquitoes are bothering me today.

Traer a la memoria

To bring to mind, To bring up a memory

Ver esta fotos trajo a mi memoria al abuelo. – Seeing this photo brings my grandpa to mind.

Traer bien / mal puesta una prenda de vestir

To wear an article of clothing well / poorly

Sara, traes la camisa mal puesta, está al revés. – Sara, you’re wearing that shirt wrong, it’s inside out.

Traer a un niño al mundo

To bring a child into the world

Con tanta contaminación no sé si traer más niños al mundo. – With so much pollution I don’t know whether to bring more children into the world.

Traer a discusión, Traer a colación

To bring up a subject

Claudia, gracias por traer ese tema a colación, la reunión pasada lo olvidamos. – Claudia, thank you for bringing up that topic, last meeting we forgot.

Traer consecuencias

To bring consequences

Tu falta de responsabilidad te ha traído estas consecuencias. – Your lack of responsibility has brought you these consequences.

Traer buenas / malas noticias

To bring good / bad news, To have good / bad news

Lo siento, no traigo buenas noticias: la compañía quebró. – Sorry, I don’t bring good news: the company went bankrupt.


The typical translation of traer in English is to bring. When considering this standard use of traer, it helps to remember that it’s the verb of choice when an object or person is brought closer to the speaker or to a specific final destination.

Traer is nonetheless a multi-faceted verb that can have a number of other meanings as well, particularly when it forms an integral part of many common idiomatic expressions. It’s an irregular verb, as we saw in all its different tenses in the traer conjugation tables.

We hope this post has helped you to get a stronger grasp on the use and conjugation of traer, so you’re ready to use it confidently in your conversations as you continue learning Spanish.


Get our FREE 7-day email course, Shortcut to Conversational

The exact strategies you need to become conversational in Spanish this year. Join the course now, before we come to our senses and charge for it!

This blog is presented by BaseLang: Unlimited Spanish Tutoring for $179 a Month. Learn more here.