Common Spanish Verbs
8 Advanced Lessons
The following lessons illustrate how even the most common Spanish verbs can be used in ways that require a more advanced understanding of the Spanish language.
Amanecí de mal humor. / I woke up in a bad mood.
The verb Amanecer generally means “to get light,” or as a noun it refers to the sunrise. However, it is also commonly used as a way to refer to the act of waking up or getting out of bed. We talked more about the verb amanecer in the Vacation Rental podcast.
¿Cómo me veo?/How do I look?
In contexts like this, the verb Ver(se) means “to look.” Ver/Ver(se) has a lot of different meanings and is used in a variety of common expressions. We discuss the verb at length in the Airport podcast and Paulina gave us several examples of the different ways people use this verb in Mexico.
Me llamo Alicia, pero todos me dicen Licha. / My name’s Alicia, but everyone calls me Licha.
The verb decir is taught in a student’s first year of Spanish and is usually defined as “to say/to tell.” As a result, a sentence like Me dicen Licha can sound odd because it doesn’t work well with that traditional definition. But in fact, this is a very common usage of the verb decir, which would more naturally be translated as ‘to call’. Me dicen Licha/They call me Licha.
Se está metiendo el sol./The sun is setting.
The verb meterse is used in a variety of expressions and contexts and can be challenging for many students. As a result, we’ve given a lot of attention to this verb in several of our podcasts and study guides. It generally means: to go in/get into. However in a context like this, it serves as a way to refer to the sunset. For a more in depth look at the different ways to say sunset in Spanish, listen to the Vacation Rental podcast.
Que salga el mar de fondo./Get the ocean in the background.
The verb salir is commonly used as a way to say “to leave/exit.” However one of the other ways we can translate salir is “to come out/turn out.” In a context like this, “que salga” means he wants the ocean to “come out” in the background of the photo. Another translation of this phrase could be “I want the ocean to turn out in the background.”
Salir – another example
¿Sales con alguien en este momento? / Are you dating anyone right now?
Salir is one of the most common verbs in the Spanish language and is used in a wide variety of expressions. In the Dating & Relationships podcast, we examine expressions like “salir/andar con alguien,” which is one of the common ways to say “going out with someone” or “dating someone.”
The verb proporcionar generally means “to provide/supply,” but it can also mean “to show/give” in a context like this. One of the first things they might ask you at the airport or customs desk in a Spanish speaking country is “¿Me podría proporcionar su pasaporte, por favor?” / “Could you show me your passport, please?”
This is another example of how common Spanish verbs are sometimes used in ways that are different than what is taught in textbooks. The verb tocar generally means “to touch,” but it can also be translated as “to get” in contexts like this. Ejemplo: Ayer nos tocó un poco de lluvia. / Yesterday we got a little rain.
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