SOLER - I usually do
Today we're going to check out this verb, soler, that is very useful!
Soler could be translated as "to usually do something" which sounds vage, and it is, but that's the hole point about this verb and why is so cool!
Almost all the time, we find it in present tense or imperfect tense (and present and imperfect in subjunctive too):
Soler in present tense
"I usually do ..." - Soler in present + infinitive
NOTE: Soler in present tense has the change o-ue (all persons but we and you guys).
Suelo dormir seis o siete horas - I usually sleep six or seven hours.
The meaning of the verb makes it very likely to be talking about a daily routine activity, which are usually reflexive verbs (check out this video and post on reflexive and pronominal verbs if you want to find out more).
Ex: Sueles lavarte los dientes tres veces al día - You usually brush your teeth three times per day.
Soler in imperfect
"I usually did/I used to ..." - Soler in imperfect + infinitive
It makes sense to have these two together. Imperfect is used to say, amongst other things, what someone used to do, normally, and that is exactly what soler is.
That means, it's the same thing as using the verb directly in imperfect.
Solía vivir (soler in imperfect and vivir in infinitive) would be the same as vivía (vivir conjugated in imperfect)
This makes it a great option for those still not confident with imperfect or who haven't learnt it yet, but want to have an option.
It's going to be repetitive to use solía again and again but it's good enough for punctual situations.
Rocío solía ir al instituto en bici - Rocío used to go to high school in a bike.
same as Rocío iba al instituto en bici (iba -ir in imperfect).
Soler in subjunctive
Just as it's common in present tense and imperfect it makes sense to find it in their subjunctive equivalents, although less common.
Remember that in English there is no subjunctive, so the translations are still present and imperfect.
No pienso que él suela hacer eso en su tiempo libre - I don't think he usually does that in his free time.
Aunque suelas hacer eso en tu casa es de mala educación hacerlo aquí - Although you usually do that in your house it's bad education doing it here.
Si soliera escribir canciones de amor, tendría más éxito con las chicas - If I usually wrote love songs I'd have more success with girls.
Ojalá soliera dormir todo el día e ir a fiestas - I wish I usually slept all day and go to parties.
Match up the sentences:
a) Solíamos beber zumo de naranja por la mañana
b) Solíais invitarnos a vuestra casa
c) ¿Sueles limpiar el baño después de ducharte?
d) Quizás suelen/suelan preferir otro tipo de comida
e) Suelo escuchar música cuando trabajo
1) Maybe they usually prefer another type of food.
2) You guys usually invited us/used to invite us to your house.
3) We used to drink/usually drank orange juice in the morning.
4) Do you usually clean the bathroom after showering?
5) I usually listen to music when I work.
Hope you use soler in your practice! :)