How Do You Say “They Eat” In Spanish?

¡Hola! Have you ever been to a Spanish-speaking country and found yourself struggling to communicate with the locals? Learning a new language can be challenging, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Whether you’re planning a trip or simply want to expand your linguistic abilities, mastering Spanish is a great place to start.

Before we dive into the specifics of how to say “they eat” in Spanish, let’s first take a moment to appreciate the beauty and complexity of this language. With over 500 million speakers worldwide, Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese. It’s the official language of 21 countries, including Spain, Mexico, and most of Central and South America.

Now, let’s get down to business. How do you say “they eat” in Spanish? The translation is “ellos comen”.

How Do You Pronounce The Spanish Word For “They Eat”?

Learning to properly pronounce Spanish words can be a challenging task, but with a little practice, anyone can do it. If you want to know how to say “they eat” in Spanish, you’ve come to the right place.

The Spanish word for “they eat” is “comen.” It is pronounced as “koh-men.” Here’s a phonetic breakdown of the word:

  • “co” sounds like “ko”
  • “m” sounds like “m”
  • “en” sounds like “en”

To properly pronounce “comen,” you need to pay attention to the stress on the first syllable. The “co” should be pronounced with a strong emphasis, while the “men” should be pronounced more softly.

Here are some tips for pronouncing “comen” correctly:

  1. Practice saying the word slowly at first, focusing on each syllable.
  2. Listen to native speakers say the word to get a feel for the correct pronunciation.
  3. Use online resources, such as pronunciation guides or videos, to help you perfect your pronunciation.

Remember, practice makes perfect. With a little bit of effort, you’ll be able to pronounce “comen” like a pro in no time.

Proper Grammatical Use Of The Spanish Word For “They Eat”

Proper grammar is crucial when using the Spanish word for “they eat.” Failure to use proper grammar can lead to confusion or even miscommunication. In this section, we will discuss the correct placement of “they eat” in sentences, verb conjugations or tenses, agreement with gender and number, and any common exceptions.

Placement Of “They Eat” In Sentences

In Spanish, the subject typically comes before the verb. Therefore, “they eat” translates to “ellos comen,” with “ellos” meaning “they” and “comen” meaning “eat.” The placement of “ellos comen” in a sentence can vary depending on the context and emphasis. For example:

  • “Ellos comen en el restaurante” (They eat at the restaurant)
  • “En el restaurante, ellos comen” (At the restaurant, they eat)
  • “Comen ellos en el restaurante” (Do they eat at the restaurant?)

Verb Conjugations Or Tenses

In Spanish, verbs must be conjugated to match the subject. The present tense conjugation of “comer” (to eat) for “ellos” (they) is “comen.” However, verb conjugations can change depending on the tense. For example:

Tense Conjugation of “Comer” for “Ellos” English Translation
Present Comen They eat
Preterite Comieron They ate
Imperfect Comían They used to eat
Future Comerán They will eat

Agreement With Gender And Number

In Spanish, nouns and adjectives must agree with the gender and number of the subject. “Ellos” is a masculine plural subject, so any nouns or adjectives that describe “ellos” must also be masculine and plural. For example:

  • “Ellos comen la carne” (They eat the meat)
  • “Ellos son altos y fuertes” (They are tall and strong)

Common Exceptions

As with any language, there are some common exceptions to the rules of using “they eat” in Spanish. One example is the use of the reflexive verb “se.” In this case, “they eat” would be translated to “se alimentan,” which literally means “they feed themselves.” Another exception is the use of the verb “cenar” (to have dinner) instead of “comer” (to eat) when referring specifically to eating dinner. For example, “Ellos cenan a las siete” would mean “They have dinner at seven.”

Examples Of Phrases Using The Spanish Word For “They Eat”

Learning how to say “they eat” in Spanish is an essential step for anyone looking to communicate effectively in the language. Once you have mastered this phrase, you can use it in a variety of contexts to express different meanings. Here are some common phrases that include “they eat” and how to use them:

Phrases With “Comen”

The Spanish word for “they eat” is “comen”. Here are some examples of phrases that use this word:

  • Ellos comen en el restaurante. (They eat at the restaurant.)
  • ¿Qué comen los niños hoy? (What are the children eating today?)
  • Comen una ensalada cada día. (They eat a salad every day.)

As you can see, “comen” is used in different contexts to express different meanings. In the first example, it is used to indicate the location where they eat. In the second example, it is used to ask about the food that they eat. And in the third example, it is used to express a habit or routine.

Example Dialogue Using “Comen”

Here is an example dialogue using “comen” to help you understand how it is used in context:

English Spanish
What do they eat for breakfast? ¿Qué comen para el desayuno?
They eat eggs and toast. Comen huevos y tostadas.
Do they always eat the same thing? ¿Siempre comen lo mismo?
No, sometimes they eat cereal or fruit. No, a veces comen cereal o fruta.

As you can see, “comen” is used to ask about the food that they eat and to describe their eating habits. It is a versatile word that can be used in a variety of situations.

More Contextual Uses Of The Spanish Word For “They Eat”

When it comes to learning a new language, it’s important to not only understand the basic grammar and vocabulary, but also the various contexts in which words are used. This is especially true for verbs, such as “to eat” in Spanish. While the basic translation of “they eat” is “ellos comen,” there are many different ways this phrase can be used depending on the situation.

Formal Usage Of “They Eat”

In formal settings, such as business meetings or academic presentations, it’s important to use proper grammar and vocabulary. This means using the correct verb conjugation for “they eat” based on the tense and subject of the sentence. For example:

  • Present tense: “Ellos comen en el restaurante.” (They eat at the restaurant.)
  • Future tense: “Ellos van a comer en el restaurante.” (They are going to eat at the restaurant.)
  • Past tense: “Ellos comieron en el restaurante ayer.” (They ate at the restaurant yesterday.)

Using the correct verb tense and subject agreement shows respect for the language and the people you are communicating with.

Informal Usage Of “They Eat”

Informal settings, such as talking with friends or family, allow for more flexibility and creativity in language use. In these situations, it’s common to use slang or idiomatic expressions to convey meaning. For example:

  • “Ellos se están chingando una hamburguesa.” (They’re scarfing down a hamburger.)
  • “Ellos están engullendo todo.” (They’re gobbling everything up.)
  • “Ellos se están dando un banquete.” (They’re having a feast.)

These informal expressions add flavor and personality to the language, but should be used appropriately based on the audience and situation.

Other Contexts For “They Eat”

Aside from formal and informal uses, there are other contexts in which “they eat” can be used. For example, there may be cultural or historical uses of the phrase that have a specific meaning. Additionally, there may be regional slang or idiomatic expressions that differ from standard Spanish. It’s important to research and understand these contexts in order to have a complete understanding of the language.

Popular Cultural Usage

Finally, there may be popular cultural references to “they eat” that are widely recognized. For example, in the popular children’s book “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss, the phrase “they eat green eggs and ham” is used repeatedly. This has become a cultural reference point for the phrase and is widely recognized by Spanish speakers.

Overall, understanding the various contexts in which “they eat” can be used is crucial for effective communication in Spanish. By using the correct verb conjugation, appropriate slang or idiomatic expressions, and understanding cultural references, you can become a more fluent and confident speaker of the language.

Regional Variations Of The Spanish Word For “They Eat”

When it comes to the Spanish language, there are many regional variations that can make it difficult to understand. One of these variations is the word for “they eat.” While the basic word is the same in all Spanish-speaking countries, there are differences in how it is used and pronounced in different regions.

Usage Differences

In general, the Spanish word for “they eat” is “ellos comen.” However, in some regions, a different word is used instead. For example, in Mexico, the word “ellos comen” is commonly used, but in some parts of Central America, the word “ellos comen” is not used as much and instead, the word “ellos comen” is more common. Additionally, in some parts of Spain, the word “ellos comen” is replaced with the word “ellos cenan” when referring to dinner.

Pronunciation Differences

Along with usage differences, there are also differences in how the word for “they eat” is pronounced in different regions. In many Latin American countries, the “s” sound at the end of “comen” is often dropped, making it sound more like “comen” instead of “comen.” In some regions of Spain, the “s” sound is pronounced more softly, making it sound like “comen” instead of “comen.”

Regional Variations Table

Country Word for “They Eat” Usage Notes Pronunciation Notes
Mexico ellos comen Commonly used “s” sound at the end of “comen” is often dropped
Central America ellos comen Not used as much; “ellos comen” more common “s” sound at the end of “comen” is often dropped
Spain ellos comen Replaced with “ellos cenan” when referring to dinner in some regions “s” sound is pronounced more softly in some regions

Other Uses Of The Spanish Word For “They Eat” In Speaking & Writing

While “they eat” is a common phrase in Spanish used to talk about food consumption, it can also have different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. Here are some other ways in which “they eat” can be used in speaking and writing:

1. Idiomatic Expressions

The Spanish language is rich in idiomatic expressions that use the verb “comer” (to eat) in different ways. Some of these expressions include:

  • Comerse las uñas – To bite one’s nails
  • Comerse el mundo – To conquer the world or be ambitious
  • Comerse a alguien con los ojos – To eye someone up or look at someone with desire
  • Comerse la cabeza – To overthink or worry too much about something

2. Third Person Plural Conjugation For Other Verbs

The third person plural conjugation of “comer” (ellos/ellas comen) can also be used for other verbs besides eating. For example:

  • Bailan mientras comen – They dance while they eat
  • Ellos comen pizza y ella come ensalada – They eat pizza and she eats salad
  • Ellos comen libros – They read books (literally “they eat books”)

3. Indicating A General Group Of People

In some cases, “they eat” can be used to refer to a general group of people without specifying who exactly is doing the eating. For example:

  • En España, ellos comen mucho pan – In Spain, they eat a lot of bread
  • En mi familia, ellos comen temprano – In my family, they eat early

To distinguish between these different uses of “they eat,” it’s important to pay attention to the context in which the phrase is used. Is it being used in an idiomatic expression or to refer to a general group of people? Is it being used with a different verb or in a different tense? Understanding these nuances can help improve your comprehension and communication in Spanish.

Common Words And Phrases Similar To The Spanish Word For “They Eat”

Synonyms And Related Terms

When it comes to discussing the act of eating in Spanish, there are several words and phrases that can be used interchangeably with “they eat.” Some of the most common synonyms and related terms include:

  • Comen – This is the third-person plural conjugation of the verb “comer,” which means “to eat.” It is the most direct translation of “they eat” in Spanish.
  • Ingieren – This is a more formal and less commonly used word that also means “to eat.” It can be used to convey a sense of seriousness or importance.
  • Cenan – This is another conjugation of “comer,” but it specifically refers to the act of having dinner or supper.
  • Alimentan – This verb means “to feed” and can be used to describe the act of providing food to someone or something.

While these words and phrases all refer to the act of eating, there are slight differences in their usage. For example, “ingieren” is typically only used in formal or medical contexts, while “cenan” specifically refers to the evening meal. “Alimentan” can be used to describe feeding animals or children, as well as oneself.


On the other hand, there are also several words and phrases in Spanish that are antonyms of “they eat.” These include:

  • Jejuar – This verb means “to fast” or “to abstain from food.” It is the opposite of “comer” and indicates a deliberate choice to not eat.
  • Desperdiciar – This verb means “to waste” or “to squander.” It is the opposite of “alimentar” and indicates a failure to provide food or to make good use of it.

While these words are not directly related to “they eat,” they can be useful to know in order to fully understand the nuances of Spanish vocabulary related to food and eating.

Mistakes To Avoid When Using The Spanish Word For “They Eat”

When speaking Spanish, non-native speakers may make mistakes when using the word for “they eat.” Some of the most common errors include:

  • Using the wrong verb form
  • Forgetting to use the subject pronoun
  • Using the wrong gender or number agreement
  • Confusing the verb “comer” with other verbs that mean “to eat”

Highlight These Mistakes And Provide Tips To Avoid Them

To avoid these common mistakes, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Using the wrong verb form

When using the word for “they eat” in Spanish, it is important to use the correct verb form. The verb “comer” is the most common verb used to mean “to eat,” and the correct form for “they eat” is “ellos comen.” However, some non-native speakers may mistakenly use the form “ellos come,” which is incorrect.

Forgetting to use the subject pronoun

In Spanish, it is important to use subject pronouns to clarify who is performing the action. For “they eat,” the subject pronoun is “ellos.” Some non-native speakers may forget to use the subject pronoun, leading to confusion and misunderstandings.

Using the wrong gender or number agreement

In Spanish, verbs must agree in gender and number with the subject. For “they eat,” the subject is plural and masculine, so the verb form “comen” is used. Some non-native speakers may mistakenly use the feminine form “comen” or the singular form “come,” which is incorrect.

Confusing the verb “comer” with other verbs that mean “to eat”

While “comer” is the most common verb used to mean “to eat” in Spanish, there are other verbs that can also be used, such as “ingerir” or “consumir.” Some non-native speakers may confuse these verbs with “comer,” leading to errors in usage.

To avoid these mistakes, it is important to practice using the correct verb form, subject pronoun, and gender and number agreement. It can also be helpful to study the different verbs that can be used to mean “to eat” in Spanish, so you can use the correct one in the right context.


In this blog post, we have explored the various ways of saying “they eat” in Spanish. We began by discussing the basic verb form “comen” and its common usage in everyday conversations. We then delved into the different conjugations of the verb “comer” in the present tense, including the irregular forms “como” and “comes.” We also explored the use of reflexive verbs and indirect pronouns when talking about eating habits in Spanish.

Furthermore, we highlighted the importance of using the correct gender and number agreement when referring to the subject of the sentence. For example, “ellos comen” is used when referring to a group of males or a mixed group of males and females, while “ellas comen” is used when referring to a group of females.

Finally, we discussed the cultural significance of food in the Spanish-speaking world and how it can be a great way to connect with native speakers and learn more about their traditions and customs.

Encouragement To Practice

Learning a new language takes time and dedication, but with practice, you can become more confident in your ability to communicate in Spanish. We encourage you to use the phrases and vocabulary discussed in this blog post in real-life conversations with native speakers. This will not only help you improve your language skills but also deepen your understanding of the Spanish-speaking culture.

Remember to pay attention to the nuances of the language, such as gender and number agreement, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Learning a new language is a journey, and every step you take brings you closer to your goal.

So, go ahead and practice saying “they eat” in Spanish with your friends, family, or language exchange partners. ¡Buen provecho! (Enjoy your meal!)

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority and He’s a seasoned innovator, harnessing the power of technology to connect cultures through language. His worse translation though is when he refers to “pancakes” as “flat waffles”.