Wednesday, January 8, 2020

More Confusing Spanish Verb Pairs

Spanish students usually learn fairly early in their studies about how to distinguish between the two main verbs for to be, ser and estar, and the two main verbs for to know, saber and conocer. But because they arent used as often, it is easy to overlook some of the other confusing verb pairs. Among those pairs are those for the verbs to ask, to leave, to apply, to have, to play and to take. This list is by no means exhaustive, but if you can learn how to properly translate these verbs into Spanish you will be well on your way to avoiding some of the most common verb-choice mistakes made by non-native speakers. To Ask If youre making a request for a thing or some action, use pedir. But if youre asking for information about something, use preguntar. Remember that pedir can be translated as ask for or request, so you dont need to follow it with a preposition. Me pidià ³ tres dà ³lares, he asked me for $3. Me preguntà ³ por tres dà ³lares, he asked me about the $3 (as what happened to it). Me pidià ³ que cocinara la comida, she asked me to cook the meal. Preguntà ³ si habà ­a cocinado la comida, she asked me if I had cooked the meal. Note that pedir is irregular. To Leave If youre leaving in the sense of exiting or going away, use salir (you may remember that an exit in Spanish is una salida). But if youre leaving an object somewhere, use dejar. El tren sale a las ocho, the train leaves at 8. Dejà © mis libros en el tren, I left my books in the train. Dejar also can mean to leave in the less common sense of to allow.  ¡Dà ©jame salir! Leave me go! Note that salir is irregular. To Apply If youre applying in the sense of applying for a job, use solicitar. If youre applying something, use aplicar. Tres personas solicitan el puesto de redactor, three people are seeking the editors position. Tengo que aplicar el bronceador, I need to apply the suntan lotion. Note that aplicar is irregular. You also can use aplicarse for to apply oneself. Mi hijo se aplica mucho en sus tareas escolares, my son applies himself well to his homework. To Have To have in the sense of to possess is tener. Haber is usually used much as the English to have as an auxiliary verb with the past participle. Tengo tres libros, I have three books. He leà ­do tres libros, I have read three books. That difference is straightforward. But both verbs can also be used with que to indicate necessity. Tener que followed by an infinitive means to have to, while hay que (hay is a form of haber) also expresses necessity but doesnt specify who is performing the action. Tengo que leer tres libros, I have to read three books. Hay que leer tres libros, three books have to be read (or, it is necessary to read three books). Both tener and haber are irregular. To Play Use jugar when talking about playing a game, tocar when playing a musical instrument. Me gusta jugar al bà ©isbol, I like playing baseball. No me gusta tocar el piano, I dont like playing the piano. Both jugar and tocar are irregular. To Take Use llevar for to take in the sense of to carry or to transport. But use tomar for to take in the sense of to take for ones use. Use sacar for take out in the sense of remove. Me llevas al aeropuerto, youre taking me to the airport. Tomo el tren al aeropuerto, Im taking the train to the airport. Tengo que tomar la medicina, I have to take the medicine. El dentista sacà ³ las muelas, the dentist took out the teeth. Sacar is irregular.

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