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Llevar: A verb that wears many outfits

Say you're going to a Christmas party -- that is, una fiesta de Navidad. What are you going to bring? (¿Que vas a llevar?) Well, your host might suggest:

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Tráiganos una botella de vino, nada más.
"Bring us a bottle of wine, that's all."

And then you might respond:

Bueno. Voy a llevar vino tinto.
"Ok. I'll bring red wine."

Did you notice we switched verbs there? Both llevar and traer can mean "to bring," but with a crucial difference in perspective. If you're the one doing the bringing to someone else, you use 'llevar' -which also means "to carry." If you're the one asking someone to bring something to you, you use 'traer.' Got that?

There are many definitions of the common verb 'llevar,' which is why we keep returning to it again and again in our weekly missives.

In this week's videos, you'll hear llevar used in a couple of different contexts -- in a song and in a classroom. First, let's look at the heartstring-tugging lyrics sung by Axel Fernando:

Muchas veces me pregunto por qué pasa todo esto,
por qué tus mil 'te quieros' siempre se los lleva el viento

"Many times I wonder why is all this happening,
why your thousand "I love yous" are always carried away by the wind"

[Captions 1-2, Axel Fernando > ¿Qué estás buscando?]

Here, the reflexive llevarse means "to carry away" or "to take away." The online dictionary site, WordReference.com provides some examples along the same lines:

¡Llévatelo de aquí!
"Take it away [from here]!"

Se lo llevó la corriente
"The current carried it away"

Remember: At a restaurant, they might ask you '¿Para llevar?' ("To take out [with you]?"). In our next video -- in Spanish school room -- we get a handy lesson in verb forms to use to offer advice. At the same time, we see our featured verb take on another shade of its meaning. Sit in the back of the classroom and listen:

'Te aconsejo que lleves una chaqueta'. ...
'Yo, que tú, llevaría... llevaría una chaqueta.'
"I recommend that you bring a jacket." ....
"If I were you, I would bring... I would bring a jacket."

[Captions 12, 14, Escuela Don Quijote > En el aula > Part 2]

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Note that llevar could also mean "to wear," and that the phrases above could possibly be talking about the "wearing" of a jacket as well. One must distinguish the proper meaning from the greater context.

Hazme un favor: Tráeme mi chaqueta.
"Do me a favor: Bring me my jacket."
¿Para qué?
"Why?"
Quiero llevarla a la fiesta de Navidad.
"I want to wear it [or possibly: to bring it] to the Christmas party.
"

Vocabulary

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