Lecciones de Español


Manejar - To handle and other uses

Y la fruta es pura, natural. No manejamos ni un químico, nada.
“And the fruit is pure, natural. We don't use even a single chemical, nothing.”
[Caption 3, Documentary:
PlayaDel Carmen: Naranjas]

Esta ahí, no manejamos ni un químico.
“It's there, we don't use a single chemical.”

[Caption 8, Documentary:
PlayaDel Carmen: Naranjas]


Wait a second... Manejar is supposed to mean “to drive”! If you’re used to Latin American Spanish, you’re right and you’re in your right to be confused. Spaniards go for conducir whenever cars are involved. In fact their word for car is coche, when Latin-Americans use carro, auto or automóvil. (For more differences between Spanish from Spain and Spanish from Latin America, click aquí)


Manejar is a verb whose meaning is broader than “to drive.” Basically, it means “to use or have control over something.” That something could be a tool, a product or a car. Check out these examples:

En nuestra fábrica sólo manejamos productos de la más alta calidad.
"In our factory we only use products of the highest quality."

Jairo maneja muy bien el martillo.
"Jairo handles the hammer really well.

El gobernador manejó la situación con mucha discreción.
"The governor handled the situation with a lot of discretion.

When the object of the verb is a person, manejar morphs to "manipulate" or even "behave," like so:

Mi novia me maneja como ella quiera.
"My girlfriend manipulates me any way she wants."

Mi hijo se manejó muy bien en el desfile.
"My son behaved really well at the parade."

Manejar shares the same Italian roots (maneggiare) with the English verb "to manage," and can take this meaning as well, as shown in this example:

Humberto maneja las exportaciones de algodón.
"Humberto manages the cotton exportations."




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