3 Uses of the Spanish verb faltar you need to know

The verb falter is one of the many verbs you’ll need to have in your Spanish toolbox,  so today we’ll take a look some examples to give you the basics of how to use the verb faltar.

Faltar is a very useful, high frequency verb, meaning that you’ll hear it a lot, so it’s important to really understand this verb.  It can be used a few different ways, let’s take a look.

It can mean to lack or to need something

Me falta tiempo

Literally this would be “to me time is lacking (or missing)” , but a more natural translation would be:

Me falta tiempo
I don’t have time

Le falta sal
It needs salt

¿Nos falta algo?
Are we missing anything?

Nos faltan tres sillas
We need three chairs

Before we continue, did you notice what just happened there?  We went from using falta to faltan.  If you’re wondering why, it’s actually pretty simple.

When you’re talking about more than one of something, you need to use faltan.  If you were only missing one chair it would have been:

Nos falta una silla
We need a chair

OK, Let’s keep going.

Faltar can mean to be absent or to be missing

Nos faltan Juan y María
Juan and María aren’t here

¿Quién falta?
Who’s missing?

Siento que algo falta en mi vida
I feel like something is missing in my life

You can miss work, which is faltar al trabajo.

Me quedé dormido y falté al trabajo
I overslept and missed work

¿Puedo faltar mañana?
Can I miss work tomorrow?

A more natural translation would be:  Can I take tomorrow off?

Tengo una buena excusa para faltar al trabajo
I have a good excuse to miss work

You can use faltar to talk about missing more than just work.

Falté la cita con mi doctor
I missed my appointment with my doctor

Ella faltó a la reunión
She missed the meeting

If you want to know how much longer something is going to take, then you definitely need the verb faltar

¿Falta mucho?
Is it going to be much longer?

 Is it going to be much longer?
Did you already take the picture?  Can we go?

¿Cuánto falta para que comamos?
How much longer before we eat?

¿Cuánto falta para que empiece la película?
How much longer before the movie starts?

 ¿Cuánto falta?
How much longer?

Falta una semana para la noche de brujas
It’s a week until Halloween

Sólo faltan cuatro días para la fiesta
It’s only four days until the party

Faltan tres días para mi cumpleaños
It’s three days until my birthday

I’ll leave you with one last thing.  If you want to put those Spanish ears of yours to work, then watch this short video called ¿Cuánto falta? and see the verb faltar in action.

Here’s the link if you can’t see the video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnqnfcmW3hI

Now you’ve got everything you need to start becoming an expert on faltar!

***EDIT: Since this post was originally written I’ve recorded a podcast on uses of the verb faltar that covers even more uses of faltar, providing you even more practical examples of how this very common Spanish verb is used in daily conversation.

¡Ojála que les sirva!

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