You’re finally going to meet your long-lost Spanish relative/lover/best friend!

How do you share this feeling of raging excitement with them?

You might be tempted to go for:

Llego dentro de nada. ¡No puedo esperar!
I arrive within (no time). I (literally) cannot wait

No te imaginas lo excitado (o excitada) que estoy.
You (can’t) imagine how (aroused) I am!

Unfortunately, that would place you smack in the middle of Literal Translation Land.

  • First, using no puedo esperar to express anticipation feels as wrong as Queen Elizabeth dancing bachata. What you’re actually saying is that waiting is no longer a viable option for you:

No puedo esperar más. Si no vienes ya, olvídate de mí.
I (literally) cannot wait (any longer). If you don’t come now, forget about me.

  • Second, saying estoy excitado (o excitada) is totally appropriate for talking about electrons or for sexting; but if you just want to express vanilla excitement, there are much better alternatives.

Here are a few of them:

Tengo ganas de

The most popular way of expressing excitement in Spanish is to quantify how much ganas (wants, non-fiery desires) you have of doing something.

For example, you would sound pretty native by telling someone you can’t wait to see them by saying:

Tengo muchas ganas de verte.
I have a lot of (wants) of seeing you

If you feel the need to take the excitement up a notch, you can try using muchísimas ganas (a lot a lot of wants), un montón de ganas (a heap of wants), or describing the size of your ganas:

—Tengo un montón de ganas de enseñarte dónde vivo.
“I have a heap of wants of showing you where I live.”

—Lo que yo tengo, después de diez horas de vuelo, son unas ganas locas de darme una ducha.
“(That which) I have, after ten hours of flight, are (some) crazy wants of (giving myself) a shower.”

Highlighting how small or nonexistent your ganas are is a great way to communicate your lack of excitement:

—¡Amor mío! ¡Qué ganas tengo de volver a verte!
“My love! (What great amount of wants) I have of seeing you (again)!”

—Ah, ¿sí? Pues yo tengo muy pocas, así que que no se te ocurra venir. No tengo ninguna gana de volver a verte.
“Oh, yeah? Well, I have very few (ganas) (of seeing you), so (don’t even) (think about) coming. I don’t have any (desire) of seeing you again”

Me hace ilusión

You can think of me hace ilusión as I’m looking forward to (it makes me (feel) excitement):

Me hace muchísima ilusión que vengas a verme.
“It makes me (feel) a lot of excitement that you (will) come to see me.”

—A mí lo que de verdad me hace ilusión es perder de vista a mi jefe.
“To me, (that which) (in truth) makes me (feel) excitement is losing sight of my boss.”

When the event has already happened, me hace ilusión is a perfect way to show that you’re excited it did:

¡Me hace mucha ilusión que hayas venido a mi fiesta! ¿Te apetece que bailemos?
It makes me (feel) a lot of excitement that (you have come) to my party! Do you feel like (us) dancing?

Don’t fall for the trap of using estoy emocionado to mean I’m excited. Estoy emocionado mostly means I’m moved or I’m touched:

Estoy emocionado de que me lleves a conocer tu ciudad.
“I’m touched (that you will) bring me to (get to know) your city.”

—Bueno, no es para tanto. No te pienses que después te voy a llevar a conocer a mis padres.
“(Come on), it’s not (worth getting) so (emotional). Don’t think that afterwards I’m going to take you to meet my parents.”

If you want less informal alternatives to show excitement, you can try estoy contento (I’m happy) or estoy encantado (I’m delighted, charmed, excited):

—¡Rodríguez! Estoy encantado con este informe que me acaba de enviar.
“Rodríguez, I’m delighted with this report you just sent me.”

—Gracias, jefe. Yo también estoy muy contento de haber sacrificado los mejores años de mi vida por «Cárnicos Serrano, S.L.».
“Thanks, boss. I’m also very happy to have sacrificed the best years of my life for ‘Serrano Meat Products, LLC'”

No te imaginas

No te imaginas plays nicely with the previous two expressions and it means you can’t even imagine:

—¡No te imaginas las ganas que tenía de ir al baño!
“You don’t imagine the wants I had of going to the bathroom!”

—Y tú no te imaginas la ilusión que me hace conocer estos detalles de tu vida privada.
“And you don’t imagine the excitement it makes me (feel) to know these details (of) your private life.”

It also has a couple of close relatives that mean pretty much the same thing: no sabes (you don’t know), and no te puedes imaginar (you can’t imagine).

No sabes las ganas que tengo de verte.
You don’t know the wants I have of seeing you.

—Lo sé, y no te puedes imaginar lo que me gusta cuando me lo dices.
I know it, and (you) can’t imagine (how much) I enjoy (it) when you say it (to me).

Me muero

We’re saving the last rung in our excitement ladder to announce our imminent death. You can do it by using two flavors of me muero:

  1. With por, to express the reason for your death:

Me muero por volver a verte.
I’m dying to see you again.

  1. With de, to express the cause of your death:

Me muero de ganas de volver a verte.
I’m dying of wants of seeing you again.

You can use me muero de with other things (me muero de calor I’m dying of heat, me muero de hambre I’m dying of hunger, me muero de amor I’m dying of love), but to express the deadly cause of your excitement, nothing beats me muero de ganas.

Bonus: Infinitive vs. Subjunctive

If you were confused by the choice between infinitive and subjunctive in the sentences above, follow this simple rule:

  • if the person who is getting excited is the same as the person who is doing the action, use the {infinitivo}
  • otherwise, use que {subjuntivo}

—No te imaginas qué ilusión me hace llegar. ¿ también te mueres de ganas de verme?
“You don’t imagine (how much) excitement it makes me (feel) to arrive. You also die of wants to see me?” (I feel the excitement, I arrive: infinitive. You die of wants, you see me: infinitive)

Sí, yo también me estoy muriendo de ganas de que llegues.
“I also am dying of wants (so that) you (will) arrive.” (I have ganas, You arrive. Subjunctive.)

Enough exploring for now, I think we’re ready to fix the opening sentences:

Llego dentro de nada. ¡Me estoy muriendo de ganas!
I arrive within (no time). I am dying of wants!

No te imaginas la ilusión que me hace.
You don’t imagine the excitement that it makes me (feel).

Spanish takeaways

  • If you’re feeling excited about doing something, talk about how much ganas you have to do it, or how much ilusión it makes you feel.
  • If you want to add a flavor of disbelief to your excitement, challenge your listener with no sabes or no te imaginas.
  • If you want to reach peak excitement, bring up your imminent death: its reason (me muero por) or its cause (me muero de).
  • And finally, if the written word is not enough to convey your excitement, go crazy with the exclamation marks:

No sabes la tremenda ilusión que me hace que vengas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You don’t know the tremendous excitement that it makes me (feel) (that) you (will) come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!