How to say “It smells like…” in Spanish

Transcript of the video lesson:

Hey, this is Joel from In this lesson, I want to talk about a common mistake that a lot of students make when they’re practicing their Spanish.

In English, we say something smells like something. “It smells like pizza.” “It smells like garbage.” But in Spanish, we don’t say it in the same way. In Spanish, we would say “It smells to pizza.” “It smells to garbage.”

It’s a little bit different. So, a lot of people say, “Huele como pizza.” They’re literally translating it from English to Spanish, but that’s not right. You should say, “Huele a pizza.” That’s how you say “It smells like pizza.”

Now, there is an exception when you can say, “Huele como…” It’s when you’re not really sure what it smells like. When you’re hesitating to say it, you can say, “Huele como…. a pizza.” It’s like saying, “It smells…. like pizza.” But even when you say it this way, you still have to use the word “a” before “pizza.” “Huele como….. a pizza.” That’s fine.

Okay, so when you’re saying something smells like something, you have to use the word “a” before that thing.

Now, if you just want to say “It smells good” or “It smells bad,” you don’t need the word “a.” I can say, “Huele bien” – “It smells good” or “Huele mal” – “It smells bad.”

Alright, now I’ll go over a couple examples.

“Esta casa huele a gato” – “This house smells like cats”

“Ayer el apartamento olía a basura” – “Yesterday the apartment smelled like trash”

Okay, so the important thing I want to get across here is that you say, “Huele a…” not “Huele como…”

And also remember that “huele” comes from the verb “oler” and it’s an irregular verb. So you want to make sure you check the conjugation on it.

Alright, well thanks for watching. And don’t forget to check out for more lessons, my mp3 conversational course, and native Spanish speakers who will help you practice your Spanish and help you improve. Thanks.

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