“solo” versus “único”

The words “solos” and “único” normally cause some problems to Spanish students as they both have two different meanings, but one of them is a common one to both words, that is why today we will study “solo” versus “único”.

As I said these two words have two different meanings each and they have one meaning in common


In the past solo used to have an acute accent in one of its meaning to differentiate from the other, but not anymore. Solo never has an accent now. Solo can mean:

-alone, which is quite straight forward, example:

Quiero estar solaI want to be alone.


Solo tengo £5 en mi carteraI only have £5 in my wallet.


Again , único has two meanings:


Mónica tiene un estilo único Monica has a unique style.

-only, yes, you have read that right! Both solo and único can be translated as only.

Eres la única persona a la que quieroyou are the only person I love.

So….now that we know “solo” and “único” can be both only, how to know when to use them?

When they both can be translated as only

-we use solo if we can replace only for “just”.

In the sentences Solo tengo £5 en mi cartera we can either say:

                                I only have £5 in my wallet.

                                Or I just have £5 in my wallet.


When this happens we can also use “solamente” or “únicamente” (NO ÚNICO)  instead of solo.

So another way to say the same would be

Solamente tengo £5 en mi cartera

Únicamente  tengo £5 en mi cartera

-we use único when we mean the “only one”

For example in the sentence

Eres la única persona a la que quieroyou are the only person I love. I really mean you are the only ONE I love.

Let’s see a similar sentence for both words:

I only want to study Spanish today, we could replace only for just, right?

I just one to study Spanish today.

Then in Spanish we will use “solo” it would be Solo quiero estudiar español hoy or solamente quiero estudiar español hoy or even únicamente quiero estudiar español hoy

But if instead we have the sentence

The only thing I want to do is to study Spanish, you really mean the only one thing you want, so in Spanish we will use “único”: la única cosa que quiero hacer es estudiar español.

Does it make sense? I hope so because that is all I had for you today amigo. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful. If after reading the blog there is still something that is not clear or you have any doubts or questions please leave a comment and I will get back to you 🙂 Remember that if you enjoy my content you can support me buying me a coffee here https://www.buymeacoffee.com/fpVa2ms , and you will make me very happy and you will also be helping me to create more content.

Now it is your time, leave a comment and let me know:

First of all if these words have given you any trouble before

And secondly leave a comment using “solo” and “único” in two different sentences to make sure you understand the difference. If you prefer to watch the lesson on a video format you can watch it on my youtube channel here –> https://youtu.be/mZe37uCw9Q8 if you like it I would appreciate if you subscribe to my channel as it really supports my work.

¡Hasta la próxima!

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