Spanish Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Spanish language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

English has several words or phrases to express that something was done with or without the person meaning to do it:

  • purposefully (or on purpose)
  • accidentally (or on accident)
  • intentionally
  • unintentionally
  • meaning to (e.g. "I meant to do it")
  • without meaning to (e.g. "I didn't mean to do it")

In Spanish, I've heard two phrases for this:

  • con/sin querer
  • con/sin gusto

Are there any other phrases with similar meaning in Spanish? What would be the best way to translate the English concepts above to Spanish? What are the differences between the Spanish options (in terms of formality or connotation or how commonly they are used)?

share|improve this question
Forgot "deliberately." – jrdioko Jul 13 '12 at 17:24
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I'd translate them as:

  • purposefully = "A propósito" (In my opinion this sound less formal than the next two)
  • accidentally = "Accidentalmente" or "por accidente"
  • intentionally = "Intencionalmente" or "con intención" (or "deliberadamente")
  • unintentionally = "Sin intencion" or "No intencionalmente" (or even "Sin querer")
  • meaning to (e.g. "I meant to do it") = "Tener la intención de..." ("Tengo la intención de hacerlo")
  • without meaning to (e.g. "I didn't mean to do it") = "No tener la intencion de.." or "No querer hacer..."

Also there are:

  • "Querer hacer..." which is kind of "wanting to do..."
  • "Adrede" which is kind of another equivalent to "intentionally" (but it's kind of informal)
share|improve this answer
I would say "intencionadamente" instead of "intencionalmente". And I would add "pretender" for "to mean to". And I would add "a posta" for intentionally, too. – MikMik Jul 16 '12 at 7:43

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.