Compadecer / Tenerle lástima

There are a handful of ways to say that “you feel sorry for someone” in Spanish. In fact, there’s an entire verb which expresses this concept: compadecer. Thus, in order to say, “I don’t feel sorry for you”, you can simply say “No te compadezco”. Someone who feels sorry for themselves “se compadece de sí mismo.” The verb conjugates like this:

yo compadezco           tu compadeces          él/ella/ud compadece            nosotros compadecemos           ellos/uds compadecen

Here are some other, perhaps more common ways of expressing the same idea with the word lástima (pity):

  • No te tengo lástima
  • No me inspiras ni tantita lástima
  • No siento lástima por ti
  • No me das lástima

Based on my experience, it seems that these four constructions are used more often in informal, unscripted speech, whereas compadecer appears in more formal registers. I’ve experimented with all, however, and have not been misunderstood anywhere. Next time you feel sorry for someone- or not- try one of these handy phrases…

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