Lezioni spagnolo

Argomenti

Encontrar

The Spanish verb encontrar basic meaning is "to find." This verb is, however, very versatile, and can also be used to express una plétora de ideas (a plethora of ideas). Let's see a few notable examples. 

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As we just said, encontrar means "to find," or "to locate":
 

Sí. No encuentro palabras qué decir

Yes. I don't find words to say

Caption 1, Franco De Vita - No Hay Cielo

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You must know, however, that Spanish also uses the verb encontrar as a reflexive verb, so you will commonly find it preceded by a reflexive pronoun. The meaning of encontrarse is "to be found" or "to be located:"

 

Porque Barcelona se encuentra entre el mar y la montaña.

Because Barcelona is located between the sea and the mountains.

Caption 14, Blanca - Sobre la ciudad de Barcelona

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The meaning of the verb encontrarse is also equivalent to the verb estar (to be), depending on the context. For example:
 

Sí, el Señor Aldo Sirenio no se encuentra en este momento en la empresa.

Yes, Mr. Aldo Sirenio is not at the company at the moment.

Caption 35, Yago - 5 La ciudad - Part 5

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Actualmente se encuentra filmando la película "Cleopatra,"

Currently she is filming the movie "Cleopatra,"

Caption 62, Biografía - Natalia Oreiro - Part 11

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Consequently, you can substitute the use of the reflexive verb encontrarse with the verb estar(to be) in the previous examples: Aldo Sirenio no está (Aldo Sireno is not...), and ...está filmando la película (...is filming the movie). 

And just like the verb estar (to be), the verb encontrar can also be used figuratively to talk about the state of being of someone or something. It's very common to use it to ask about feelings or about someone's health. Check out the following example from our new series Los Años Maravillosos:
 

La gente verdaderamente se encuentra muy preocupada.

People are truly very worried.

Caption 19, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1 - Part 3

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In the previous example the verb encontrar is used as a reflexive (it is as if saying "people find themselves worried") but you can also use encontrar as a transitive verb. In the following example the pronoun lo (it) substitutes the direct object of the verb, which is el paciente (the patient), while el doctor (the doctor) is the subject who performs the action of "finding:" 
 

Bueno, doctor, y a mi enfermito ¿cómo lo encuentra?

Well, Doctor, and my little patient, how is he?

Captions 23-24, El Ausente - Acto 1 - Part 1

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In a way, this expression is similar to the English colloquial expression "how do you find (him)?" meaning "what do you think about (him)?" and is also reminiscent of the expression "how do you find the defendant"? Well, this use of encontrar also exists in Spanish:
 

si al mundo lo encuentras enfermizo, delirante y brutal

if you find the world sickly, delirious and brutal

Caption 2, SiZu Yantra - Bienvenido

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Now, going back to the use of encontrar as equivalent to estar (to be), if a Spanish speaker asks you ¿Cómo te encuentras? you can answer by saying either estoy bien (I'm fine), más o menos (I feel so so), me siento mal (I feel bad), or something similar. Just don't say estoy aquí (I'm here) because he or she are definitely not asking where to find you :)!
 

Bueno Adrián, ¿qué tal estás? ¿Cómo te encuentras?

Well Adrian, how are you? How do you feel?

Captions 5-6, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y condicional

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Finally, the reflexive verb encontrarse also means "to meet" or "to run into":

 

...porque si se encuentra con el padre va ser un desastre.

...because if he runs into the father it's going to be a disaster.

Caption 20, Muñeca Brava - 33 El partido - Part 1

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...que la siga y cuando [ella] se encuentra con el Gringo, la atrapa.

...to follow her and when she meets with the Gringo, he traps her.

Caption 22, Yago - 3 La foto - Part 8

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