In English when we say we love something or someone we use the word “love” for both examples. Spanish uses completely different words when talking about loving something versus loving someone. Encantar is used for loving something. Amar and querer are used for loving someone. The context of using amar and querer are similar and often used interchangeably. Encantar is used completely differently and can’t be interchanged with either amar or querer.
Since amar and querer are very similar I’m just going to use querer in these examples. If you want the subtle differences between querer and amar you can check out this post.
So use “encantar” for loving something:
I love soccer.
Me encanta el futbol.
meh ehn-kahn-tah ehl foot-bohl.
I love sex.
Me encanta el sexo.
meh ehn-kahn-tah ehl sehk-soh.
The literal translation of encantar is “to enchant.” The verb encantar is conjugated completely different than how we do it in English. With English if you say “I love soccer” you are the one creating the verb action. In Spanish whatever it is that you love is creating the verb action. In the examples above the literal translations would be “Soccer enchants me” and “Sex enchants me.” It sounds hokey if you’re not accustomed to it but this is the natural way to say you love soccer, sex or anything else.
Sidenote: If you want to say you like (instead of love) something you use the verb gustar. It gets conjugated the same way:
I like soccer.
Me gusta el futbol.
Meh goos-tah ehl foot-bohl.
I like sex.
Me gusta el sexo.
meh goos-tah ehl sehk-soh.
Like the first examples the things that you like are creating the verb action. The literal translations of these phrases would be “soccer pleases me” and “sex pleases me.”
When you talk about loving a person instead of something the translation is much more similar to English:
I love my boyfriend.
Quiero a mi novio.
kee-ehr-oh ah mee noh-vee-oh.
Make sure you include the a after quiero when ever you talk about loving a person. A lot of people new to Spanish have a tendency to say quiero mi novio but that’s incorrect. If you are using pronouns then no a is required:
I love him.
I love you.