REFLEXIVE VERBS: SAME VERB, DIFFERENT MEANING

If you have learnt about reflexive verbs in Spanish you’ll know that they usually direct the action back to the subject, e.g. lavar = to wash, lavarse = to wash oneself.

However, there are a few special cases where the verb can take a completely different meaning in the reflexive form. We have prepared a short list with some of the most used verbs where the reflexive form takes a different meaning.

  1. Creer: To believe

    Creerse: To be arrogant, think to have more qualities than others without being true

    (creer conjugations)

  2. Quedar: To agree / To suit (clothes) / To place something somewhere

    Quedarse: To wait in the same place / To be shocked

    (quedar conjugations)

  3. Llamar: To talk with somebody

    Llamarse: The name of the person or place

    (llamar conjugations)

  4. Aprovechar: To use an opportunity
    Aprovecharse: To abuse of someone or something(aprovechar conjugations)
  5. Negar: To deny
    Negarse: To reject to do something / To refuse to help(negar conjugations)

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Seeing, looking and watching – ver, mirar, buscar

Today we’re going to take a look at the following common verbs in Spanish: ver (to see), mirar (to look at), and buscar (to search for, to look for).

I. Ver

Ver is used when the subject looks at something. This verb is used when you look at something, but doesn’t emphasize the act of gazing at something or someone. We’ll take a look at this in detail once we look at the verb mirar.

Yo veo a Daniela.”

I see Daniela.

Vimos a Juan ayer en la biblioteca.

We saw Juan at the library yesterday

A ella le gusta ver películas.”

She likes to watch movies.

Ver is an irregular verb, which means that several of its conjugations need to be memorized. Let’s take a look at the simple forms of ver in the indicative. Remember that the indicative is used to talk about actions, events, or states that are usually facts or true. You can find complete conjugations of ver here.

INDICATIVE – SIMPLE

Subject Present Future Imperfect Preterite Conditional
Yo veo* veré veía* vi* vería
ves verás veías* viste verías
Él, Ella, Usted ve verá veía* vio* vería
Nosotros vemos veremos veíamos* vimos veríamos
Vosotros veis* veréis veíais* visteis veríais
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes ven verán veían* vieron verían

* denotes irregular verb conjugations.

 

Let’s look at ver in the perfect tenses in the indicative. In the perfect tenses, we conjugate ver in its irregular conjugation visto.

INDICATIVE – PERFECT

(You have seen, we have seen, etc.)

Subject Present Future Past Perfect – Pluperfect Conditional Past Anterior
Yo he visto habré visto había visto habría visto hube visto
has visto habrás visto habías visto habrías visto hubiste visto
Él, Ella, Usted ha visto habrá visto había visto habríamos visto hubo visto
Nosotros hemos visto habremos visto habíamos visto habríamos visto hubimos visto
Vosotros habéis visto habréis visto habíais visto habríais visto hubisteis visto
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes han visto habrán visto habían visto habrían visto hubieron visto

 

Let’s take a look at ver in the subjunctive. Remember that in Spanish, the subjunctive is used to talk about doubts, wishes, and other possible actions that are not certain.

SUBJUNCTIVE – SIMPLE

Subject Present Imperfect Future
Yo vea* viera viere
veas* vieras vieres
Él, Ella, Usted vea* viera viere
Nosotros veamos* viéramos viéremos
Vosotros veáis* vierais viereis
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes vean* vieran vieren

* denotes irregular verb conjugations.

 

Let’s look at ver in the perfect tenses in the subjunctive. As in the indicative perfect, we conjugate ver with the irregular visto.

SUBJUNTIVE – PERFECT

(You would have seen, she would have seen, etc.)

Subject Perfect Future Perfect Past Perfect – Pluperfect
Yo haya visto hubiere visto hubiera visto
hayas visto hubieres visto hubieras visto
Él, Ella, Usted haya visto hubiere visto hubiera visto
Nosotros hayamos visto hubiéremos visto hubiéramos visto
Vosotros hayáis visto hubiereis visto hubierais visto
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes hayan visto hubieren visto hubieran visto

 

Finally, we’re going to look at ver in the imperative, which is used to give commands.

IMPERATIVE

Subject Positive Negative
Yo
ve no veas
Él, Ella, Usted vea no vea
Nosotros veamos no veamos
Vosotros ved no veáis
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes vean no vean

 

Here are a few more examples to strengthen your understanding of ver.

¿Puedo ver tu mochila?

Can I see your backpack?

Ver es creer.

To see is to believe.

He visto a Martha.

I have seen Martha.

II. Mirar

The verb mirar is used when the subject sees something but with an emphasis on seeing what the person is actually doing. Before looking at the different conjugations, it’s important to understand the difference between ver and mirar. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

“¡Mira esto!”

 Look at that!

“Mira cuanto dinero tengo.”

Look at how much money I have.

“Ayer yo vi a tu hermano.”

Yesterday, I saw your brother.

La niña está mirando su película favorita.

The girl is watching her favorite movie.

 

Ver is used to emphasize perception while mirar is used to emphasize the act of looking at something. Other examples include:

¿Puedes ver la diferencia?

Can you see the difference?

“¿Puedes mirar esto?”

Can you look at this?

 

Now, let’s take a look at the conjugations of mirar in the indicative.

INDICATIVE – SIMPLE

Subject Present Future Imperfect Preterite Conditional
Yo miro miraré miraba miré miraría
miras mirarás mirabas miraste mirarías
Él, Ella, Usted mira mirará miraba miró miraría
Nosotros miramos miraremos mirábamos miramos miraríamos
Vosotros miráis miraréis mirabais mirasteis miraríais
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes miran mirarán miraban miraron mirarían

 

In the perfect tenses, we conjugate mirar with mirado.

INDICATIVE – PERFECT

(You have looked at, we have looked at, etc.)

Subject Present Future Past Perfect – Pluperfect Conditional Past Anterior
Yo he mirado habré mirado había mirado habría mirado hube mirado
has mirado habrás mirado habías mirado habrías mirado hubiste mirado
Él, Ella, Usted ha mirado habrá mirado había mirado habríamos mirado hubo mirado
Nosotros hemos mirado habremos mirado habíamos mirado habríamos mirado hubimos mirado
Vosotros habéis mirado habréis mirado habíais mirado habríais mirado hubisteis mirado
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes han mirado habrán mirado habían mirado habrían mirado hubieron mirado

 

With the subjunctive, we continue the pattern of conjugating regular -ar verbs.

SUBJUNCTIVE – SIMPLE

Subject Present Imperfect Future
Yo mire mirara mirare
mires miraras mirares
Él, Ella, Usted mire mirara mirare
Nosotros miremos miráramos miráremos
Vosotros miréis mirarais mirareis
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes miren miraran miraren

 

SUBJUNTIVE – PERFECT

(You would have looked at, she would have looked at, etc.)

Subject Perfect Future Perfect Past Perfect – Pluperfect
Yo haya mirado hubiere mirado hubiera mirado
hayas mirado hubieres mirado hubieras mirado
Él, Ella, Usted haya mirado hubiere mirado hubiera mirado
Nosotros hayamos mirado hubiéremos mirado hubiéramos mirado
Vosotros hayáis mirado hubiereis mirado hubierais mirado
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes hayan mirado hubieren mirado hubieran mirado

 

Finally, here’s mirar in the imperative form.

IMPERATIVE

Subject Positive Negative
Yo
mira no mires
Él, Ella, Usted mire no mire
Nosotros miremos no miremos
Vosotros mirad no miréis
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes miren no miren

 

Here are a few more examples to strengthen your understanding of mirar.

“Quise mirar la television.”

I wanted to watch television.

“¡Mira lo que has hecho!”

Look at what you have done!

¿Están mirando los vestidos en la tienda?

Are they looking at the dresses in the store?

III. Buscar

The verb buscar is used when the subject looks for or searching for something or someone. A few examples include:

Yo busqué mi cartera ayer pero no la encontré.

I looked for my wallet yesterday, but I didn’t find it.

Búscame a Ana. Quiero platicar con ella.”

Look for Ana. I want to speak with her.

Let’s look at the indicative form.

 

INDICATIVE – SIMPLE

Subject Present Future Imperfect Preterite Conditional
Yo busco buscaré buscaba busqué* buscaría
buscas buscarás buscabas buscaste buscarías
Él, Ella, Usted busca buscará buscaba buscó buscaría
Nosotros buscamos buscaremos buscábamos buscamos buscaríamos
Vosotros buscáis buscaréis buscabais buscasteis buscaríais
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes buscan buscarán buscaban buscaron buscarían

* denotes irregular verb conjugations.

In the perfect tenses, we conjugate buscar with buscado.

 

INDICATIVE – PERFECT

(You have searched for, we have searched for, etc.)

Subject Present Future Past Perfect – Pluperfect Conditional Past Anterior
Yo he buscado habré buscado había buscado habría buscado hube buscado
has buscado habrás buscado habías buscado habrías buscado hubiste buscado
Él, Ella, Usted ha buscado habrá buscado había buscado habríamos buscado hubo buscado
Nosotros hemos buscado habremos buscado habíamos buscado habríamos buscado hubimos buscado
Vosotros habéis buscado habréis buscado habíais buscado habríais buscado hubisteis buscado
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes han buscado habrán mirado habían buscado habrían buscado hubieron buscado

 

With the subjunctive, we continue the pattern of conjugating regular -ar verbs except in the present.

SUBJUNCTIVE – SIMPLE

Subject Present Imperfect Future
Yo busque* buscara buscare
busques* buscaras buscares
Él, Ella, Usted buque* buscara buscare
Nosotros busquemos* buscáramos buscáremos
Vosotros busquéis* buscarais buscareis
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes busquen* buscaran buscaren

* denotes irregular verb conjugations.

SUBJUNTIVE – PERFECT

(You would have searched for, she would have searched for, etc.)

Subject Perfect Future Perfect Past Perfect – Pluperfect
Yo haya buscado hubiere buscado hubiera buscado
hayas buscado hubieres buscado hubieras buscado
Él, Ella, Usted haya buscado hubiere buscado hubiera buscado
Nosotros hayamos buscado hubiéremos buscado hubiéramos buscado
Vosotros hayáis buscado hubiereis buscado hubierais buscado
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes hayan buscado hubieren buscado hubieran buscado

 

Finally, here’s buscar in the imperative form.

IMPERATIVE

Subject Positive Negative
Yo
busca no busques*
Él, Ella, Usted busque* no busque*
Nosotros busquemos* no busquemos*
Vosotros buscad no busquéis*
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes busquen* no busquen*

 

* denotes irregular verb conjugations.

Here are a few more examples to strengthen your understanding of buscar.

Buscamos al maestro pero no lo encontramos.

We looked for the teacher but we didn’t find him.

“¿Has buscado en tu cuarto?”

Have you searched in your room?

No he buscado la respuesta.

I haven’t looked for the answer.

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Etymology of Verbs: PENSAR

The study of the history of words is called etymology, and it is an useful tool for memorizing words, and discovering new related words. In this article, we are going to talk about one of the main Spanish verbs: pensar (to think). You can learn the full conjugation of verb pensar here.

The word PENSAR comes from the Latin word PENSARE (meaning to weigh or to consider), which in turn comes from PENDERE meaning to hang – its original use was to describe the act of finding the balance between two objects – in reference to their weight. Later on, this word started to be used for describing the ‘agreement’, the ‘balanced point’ between decisions. We still use a similar term when we talk about ‘weighing up our options’. From here it eventually came to mean to think. In English, we still have the word pensive, meaning ‘thoughtful’, that kept its Latin roots.

By the addition of some prefixes and suffixes to the Latin word, the language evolution created some of the words that we use today in Spanish.

    • Pensador (adding suffixe -dor, ‘who does the action’): Thinker
    • Pensativo (adding suffixe -ivo, ‘reaction caused by doing the action’): Thoughtful
    • Pensamiento (adding suffixe -miento, ‘result’): Thought
    • Pensable (adding suffixe -ble, ‘possibility of being done by the action’): Thinkable
    • Dispensar (adding prefix dis-, ‘in different directions’): To dispense (originally meaning to distribute by weight)
    • Compensar (adding prefix com-, ‘together’): To compensate (from the original meaning, to weigh, counterbalance).
    • Recompensar (adding prefix re- to already “compensar”, ‘turn back to origin’): To reward

*There are hundreds of words that can join the PENSARE evolution tree. This article is only collecting some of the most used.

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15 Expressions with the Spanish verb DAR

‘Dar’ is one of the most common verbs in the Spanish language. It can be translated in English as ‘to give’ in its most literal meaning. However, ‘dar’ can be followed by different nouns and expressions to create different idioms and meanings. In the following list, we show 15 of the most popular expressions with ‘dar’. See how to conjugate dar here.

  1. Dar la lata: to annoy someone (lit. to give a can)

The kid didn’t stop annoying his brother

El niño no dejó de dar la lata a su hermano

  1. Dar la espalda: to reject / to refuse to help (lit. to give the back)

When he needed them most, they refused to help him

Cuando más los necesitaba, le dieron la espalda

  1. Dar las gracias: to thank (lit. to give thanks)

Mary will thank Emma for the present by sending her a card

Mary le dará las gracias a Emma por el regalo enviándole una tarjeta

  1. Dar asco: to disgust (lit. to give repugnance)

I am disgusted by the petrol´s smell

Me da asco el olor a gasolina

  1. Dar en el blanco: to hit the mark (lit. to hit in the white spot)

Grandad hit the mark in predicting the football results

El abuelo dio en el blanco con los resultados del fútbol

  1. Darse cuenta: to realize (lit. to give a notice)

Alex never realizes when her phone rings inside her bag

Alex nunca se da cuenta cuando le suena el teléfono dentro del bolso

  1. Dar por sentado: to take for granted (lit. to give as seated)

The new sales manager took for granted that the company would give him a car

El nuevo jefe de ventas dio por sentado que la empresa le daría un coche

  1. Dar vueltas: to overthink (lit.to give turns)

You are always overthinking everything I say!

Tú siempre le das vueltas a todo lo que digo

  1. Dar al traste: to spoil / to ruin (lit. to give to waste)

The plumber ruined the painting work in the kitchen

El fontanerio dio al traste todo el trabajo de pintura que hicimos en la cocina

  1. Dar a luz: to give birth to (lit.to give light)

My cousin gave birth to twins

Mi prima dio a luz a una pareja de gemelos

  1. Dar la cara: to face (up to a problem) / (lit. to give the face)

She hates when her husband doesn’t face up to what he does wrong

Ella odia cuando su marido no da la cara cuando hace algo mal

  1. Dar largas: to pospone / to prolong / (lit. to give long)

Charlie asked his mum about the summer trip but she is posponing the decision

Charlie le preguntó a su madre acerca del viaje de verano pero ella le está dando largas

  1. Dar calabazas: to jilt / to give the brush off (lit. to give pumpkins)

Karen gives the brush off to John

Karen le dio calabazas a John

  1. Dar guerra: to create trouble (lit. to give war)

The baby is creating a lot of trouble, he cries the whole night

El bebé está dando mucha guerra, llora toda la noche

  1. Dar gato por liebre: to trick  (lit. to give cat for hare)

I tried to buy a second hand car but the sales person tried to trick me with the price

Intenté comprar un coche de segunda mano pero el vendedor intentó darme gato por liebre con el precio

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