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35 Spanish Phrasal Verbs

Do you know what a phrasal verb is? According to the Oxford Language Dictionary, it is "an idiomatic phrase consisting of a verb and another element, typically either an adverb... a preposition... or a combination..." Some common examples of the countless English phrasal verbs are "break down," "break up, "put in," "put on," and so forth, and while there are far less phrasal verbs in Spanish, there are many common ones it would behoove you to know. For this purpose, we have comprised a list of 35 with examples from Yabla's Spanish video library.


Spanish vs. English Phrasal Verbs

While some Spanish phrasal verbs can be translated literally into English, others employ a different preposition than their English counterparts or have totally different literal translations. With this in mind, let's look at the list.


1. Acabar de (to have just done something)

The verb acabar (to finish) plus the preposition de (from/of) plus an infinitive Spanish verb (the "to" or -ing form) means that one "has just" completed some action. Let's take a look:


Acabamos de disfrutar de Jarabe de Palo.

We just enjoyed Jarabe de Palo.

Caption 25, Tu Música Rock en español

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2. Acordarse de (to remember, remember to)

The reflexive verb acordarse de is a synonym for recordar (to remember) in Spanish. Both are used to talk about what one "remembers" or "remembers to" do:


Me acuerdo de estar aquí con mi perro,

I remember being here with my dog

Caption 53, Amaya Recordando - Part 1

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3. Acostumbrarse a (to get used to, accustomed to)

The reflexive verb acostumbrarse plus the preposition a means "to get used to" or "accustomed to" something:


y nos acostumbramos a ir a playas,

and we got used to going to beaches,

Caption 40, El coronavirus La cuarentena en Coro, Venezuela - Part 1

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4. Alegrarse de (to be glad, happy or pleased about)

Yet another reflexive verb, alegrarse de, is used to talk about one being happy or pleased about something. You will often see it alongside the conjunction que plus a verb in the subjunctive mood, as we see below:


Me alegro de que le guste.

I'm glad you like it.

Caption 15, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 2

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5. Caer(le) bien (a alguien) (to please someone)

Although caer bien literally means "to fall well," like the verb gustar, it is used to describe the idea of "liking."  Like gustar and other verbs like gustar, it is usually employed with an indirect object pronoun in sentences where, grammatically speaking, it is the object of the sentence (what is liked) that performs the action. Let's see an example:


Creo que a Lola no le cae bien.

I think Lola doesn't like her.

Caption 60, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 8: La prima de la dueña - Part 6

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6. Caer(le) mal (a alguien) (to displease)

You might have guessed that caer mal (literally "to fall badly") means the opposite of caer bien and functions similarly to convey the idea that one does not like someone or something:


Creo que le caigo mal a mi jefe.

I think that my boss doesn't like me.

Caption 21, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y condicional

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7. Casarse con (to marry, get married to)

Interestingly, while we get married "to" someone in English, the Spanish verb for "to marry" contains the preposition con, making its translation "'to marry with":


El príncipe se casó con ella

The prince married her

Caption 61, Cleer La princesa y el guisante

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8. Contar con (to count on)

Whereas the Spanish verb contar by itself can have such diverse meanings as "to tell" and "to count," with the preposition con, it means "to count on" (not with!).


Sabes que puedes contar con todas en cualquier momento, en cualquier necesidad que tengamos.

You know that you can count on all of them at any time, for any need that we might have.

Captions 28-29, Mari Carmen La amistad

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9. Dar con (to find)

As you can see, the phrasal verb dar con does not mean "to give with"! Let's see its correct translation in an example sentence:


Ayer di con mis zapatos.

Yesterday I found my shoes.

Caption 26, Lecciones con Carolina Verbo - dar

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10. Dar por (to presume, consider)

As our friend Carolina explains in her video on the verb dar, which means "to give" on its own, the phrasal verb dar por can mean different things when used with an adjective vs. a participle. Let's see an example of each:


A su marido lo dieron por muerto en la guerra.

Her husband was presumed dead in the war.

Caption 32, Lecciones con Carolina Verbo - dar

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Doy la fiesta por terminada.

I consider the party finished.

Caption 30, Lecciones con Carolina Verbo - dar

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11. Darse prisa (to hurry, hurry up)

In this case, the reflexive form of the verb dar is employed along with the noun prisa (hurry/rush) to mean "to hurry" or "hurry up":


Pues, dese prisa, se lo está llevando la grúa.

Well, hurry up, the tow truck is taking it.

Caption 38, Los casos de Yabla El perrito malcriado - Part 2

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12. Dejar de (to quit or stop)

The Spanish verb dejar plus de plus an infinitive verb means "to stop" or "quit" doing something:


"Mi marido dejó de fumar hace ya cuatro años".

"My husband quit smoking four years ago now."

Caption 26, Aprendiendo con Silvia Significados del verbo dejar - Part 2

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We should mention that the negative version of this phrasal verb, no dejar de, can be utilized to express the idea of "always," as we see here:


no deja de haber muchísima gente.

there are always a ton of people.

Caption 18, Con Marta por Madrid La Plaza del Sol - Part 1

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13. Depender de (to depend on)

The Spanish version of "to depend on" would be "to depend of" if translated literally:


depende de la porción que vayan a hacer;

it depends on the portion you're going to make;

Caption 27, Hispanoamericanos en Berlín Karla y el pozole - Part 2

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14. Enamorarse de (to fall in love with)

Similarly, one falls in love "of" someone instead of "with" them in Spanish:


Me enamoré de un chico, que es el padre de mis hijos,

I fell in love with a guy, who is the father of my children,

Caption 11, Hispanoamericanos en Berlín Adriana y la fiesta de los muertos - Part 1

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15. Encontrarse con (to meet up with, get together with)

While encontrarse con sounds like it would mean "to find oneself with," its actual meaning is "to get together" or "meet up with" (which is not too far off!):


Y "anteayer" me encontré con unas amigas,

And "the day before yesterday," I met up with some friends,

Caption 12, Aprendiendo con Silvia Horas, fechas y períodos de tiempo - Part 3

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16. Echar a (to start, to do suddenly) 

The Spanish verb echar can have different meanings from "to throw" to "to fire." In conjunction with the preposition a and a verb in the infinitive, however, it means "to start to" do something, usually in a sudden fashion. Let's see two examples: 


Se asustó, echó a correr y no hubo manera de cogerlo.

It got scared, it took off running, and there was no way to get it.

Caption 62, Soledad Positivo y negativo

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El marido se echó a reír al ver la cara de sorpresa de su esposa.

The husband burst out laughing when he saw his wife's surprised face.

Caption 32, Cleer El espejo de Matsuyama

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17. Echar de menos (to miss)

We bet you wouldn't guess that something that seems to mean "to throw of less" is a synonym for extrañar (to miss) in Spanish:


Ay, yo os he echado de menos.

Oh, I've missed you.

Caption 4, Con Marta por Madrid El Palacio Real y Doña Manolita - Part 1

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18. Estar para (to be up for, in the mood for)

Estar para literally means "to be for," which is pretty close to its English equivalents "to be up for" or "in the mood" for something: 


Es que ya no estoy para tantas vueltas y me siento cansado.

It's just that I am not up for so many rounds and I feel tired.

Caption 44, Guillermina y Candelario El parque de diversiones - Part 1

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19. Estar por (to be about to)

Estar por, in contrast, typically means "to be in" or "around" some area or, when accompanied by an infinitive, becomes a phrasal verb that means "to be about to" do something. Let's see an example of each of these uses:


Yo estaba por ahí, todavía estaba caminando, ¿no? 

was around there, still walking, right?

Caption 21, Federico Kauffman Doig Arqueólogo - Part 3

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que todo está por... por... por empezar,

when everything is about to... to... to start,

Caption 65, Amaya Recordando - Part 3

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20. Hablar de (to talk about)

While hablar alone means "to speak" or "to talk," if you want to express the idea of "talking about" something, use the Spanish phrasal verb hablar de:


Mi amiga Amaya os habló de este lugar maravilloso

My friend Amaya talked to you about this wonderful place,

Caption 7, Montserrat El burrito Luz

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21. Llevar a cabo (to carry out)

Since the Spanish phrasal verb llevar a cabo can be literally translated as "to take to the ending," it makes sense that its various English equivalents include "to carry out," "do," "perform" and "accomplish":


Para llevar a cabo estas funciones se necesitan tres figuras claves en el proceso terapéutico:

To carry out these roles, three key figures are needed in the therapeutic process:

Captions 35-36, Isabel Lavesa Terapia asistida con animales

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22. Olvidarse de (to forget)

Although the idea of "forgetting" in Spanish is often expressed as a no fault construction (something more like "it slipped my mind"), the more straightforward way to say that one forgot something in Spanish is with the Spanish phrasal verb olvidarse de:


¡Ah! Me olvidé de estos dos elementos.

Oh! I forgot these two items.

Caption 63, Dayana Rutina de belleza y aseo

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23. Pensar de (think of, think about)

Like the English "think of" or "about," the Spanish phrasal verb pensar de is used to talk about the belief or opinion one has of something or someone. 


¿Qué piensas de tu nuevo jefe?

What do you think of your new boss?

Caption 77, Carlos explica Tuteo, ustedeo y voseo: Conjugación

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24. Pensar en (to think about)

Pensar en, on the other hand (literally "to think on") is used to talk about one's process of thinking "about" something:


pensamos en un país, en una época, en un pueblo. 

we think about a country, an era, a people.

Caption 3, Silvina Una entrevista con la artista

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25. Ponerse a (to start)

Similar to echar a, ponerse a plus an infinitive verb refers to "starting" an action. 


y al verlas como antes se puso a bailar."

and when she saw them like before, she started to dance."

Caption 60, Cleer Rafael Pombo y "Pastorcita"

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26. Preocuparse por (to worry about, be concerned about)

If you wish to talk about what you "worry about," use the Spanish phrasal verb preocuparse por:


que sepan que hay personas que se preocupan por ellas.

so that they know that there are people who are concerned about them.

Caption 8, Transformación Estética

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27. Quedarse con (to keep, end up with)

In her video series on the verb quedar, Silvia mentions the phrasal verb quedarse con, which can have several different meanings including "to keep," "end up with" or "be left." Let's take a look at two captions that include it:


"Tras el divorcio, ella se quedó con el chalé

"After the divorce, she kept the chalet,

Caption 56, Aprendiendo con Silvia Significados, usos y expresiones con "quedar" - Part 3

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Toda la familia "se quedó con la boca abierta".

The whole family "was left open-mouthed."

Caption 8, Aprendiendo con Silvia Significados, usos y expresiones con "quedar" - Part 7

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28. Quedarse sin (to be left without, to end up without, to run out of)

As you might imagine, quedarse sin often means the opposite of quedarse con ("to be left" or "end up without"), but it can also mean "to run out of" something:


Nos quedamos sin guitarrista, sin banda y sin concurso; ¡no!

We are left without a guitarist, without a band and without a contest; no!

Caption 16, X6 1 - La banda - Part 6

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No, se quedó sin nafta. -¿Qué?

No, it ran out of gas. -What?

Caption 4, Yago 7 Encuentros - Part 11

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29. Reírse de (to laugh at)

To talk about something or someone you "laughed at," use the Spanish phrasal verb reírse de:


Nos reímos de la muerte.

We laugh at death.

Caption 28, Hispanoamericanos en Berlín Adriana y la fiesta de los muertos - Part 3

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30. Salir de (to leave, leave from)

As you probably know, salir by itself means "to leave." That said, when referring to leaving a particular place, salir de is the correct Spanish phrasal verb to choose. 


Y cuando salimos de la iglesia me dice mi padre:

And when we left the church my father says to me:

Caption 52, María Marí Su pasión por su arte - Part 1

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31. Soñar con (to dream about)

While it might seem strange to English speakers, the literal translation for this Spanish phrasal verb is "to dream with" (rather than "about"):


y muchas veces incluso sueño con aquellos tiempos.

and very often I even dream about those times.

Caption 49, Clara y Cristina Saludar

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32. Tener que (to have to)

Rather than meaning "to have that," the Spanish phrasal verb tener que plus an infinitive means "to have to" do something:


Todos tenemos que superarlo y tenemos que empeñarnos en ello.

We all have to overcome it, and we have to be set on doing it.

Captions 74-75, Soledad Compartir tus problemas

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33. Tratar de (to try to)

When you want to describe something that you're "trying to" do, use the infinitive following the Spanish phrasal verb tratar de:


trato de alimentarme bien, de tomar agua,

I try to eat well, to drink water,

Caption 26, Otavalo Ejercicios

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34. Venir a (to come to)

When talking about "coming to" a place, use the phrasal verb venir a, which translates very literally to English. 


¿qué consejos le darías a un turista que viene a Barcelona?

what advice would you give to a tourist who's coming to Barcelona?

Caption 51, Carlos y Xavi Part 4 Tradiciones y comida de Barcelona

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35. Volver a (to do again)

And finally, when used with an infinitive, volver a (literally "to return to") means to perform some action again. Let's see two examples:


volvimos a revalidar el título

we locked in the title again

Caption 90, Viajando con Fermín Final Copa del Rey

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y mi mamá no se volvió a casar,

and my mother didn't remarry,

Caption 55, La Sub30 Familias - Part 2

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Spanish/English Phrasal Verb Study List

After perusing our list of 35 Spanish Phrasal Verbs, we have compiled a list of all of them along with their English translations so that you may study or review them at your leisure:


1. Acabar deto have just (done something)


2. Acordarse deto remember/remember to


3. Acostumbrarse ato get used to/accustomed to


4. Alegrarse de: to be glad/happy/pleased about


5. Caer(le) bien (a alguien): to please (equivalent of "to like")


6. Caer(le) mal (a alguien)to displease (equivalent of "to not like") 


7. Casarse conto marry/get married to


8. Contar conto count on


9. Dar conto find


10. Dar porto presume/consider


11. Darse prisato hurry/hurry up


12. Dejar de: to quit or stop (doing something)


13. Depender deto depend on


14. Enamorarse deto fall in love with


15. Encontrarse con: to meet up/get together with


16. Echar ato suddenly start to (do something)


17. Echar de menosto miss


18. Estar parato be up for/in the mood for


19. Estar porto be about to (do something)


20. Hablar de: to talk about


21. Llevar a cabo: to do/carry out/perform/accomplish



22. Olvidarse deto forget



23. Pensar deto think of/about (hold a belief)


24. Pensar ento think about (the thought process)


25. Ponerse ato start to (do something)


26. Preocuparse porto worry/be concerned about


27. Quedarse conto keep/end up with/be left with


28. Quedarse sinto be left without/end up without/run out of


29. Reírse deto laugh at 


30. Salir de: to leave/leave from (a place)


31. Soñar conto dream about


32. Tener que: to have to (do something)


33. Tratar deto try to (do something)


34. Venir a: to come to (a place)


35. Volver ato do (something) again


That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to better navigate many of the most common phrasal verbs in Spanish, and don't forget to write us with your questions and comments.



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