Spanish Lessons


Contar: Counting and Recounting

Y yo te voy a contar todo lo que pienso hacer con el empleo nuevo.

And I'll tell you everything I have in mind for the new job.

Caption 17, Muñeca Brava - 1 Piloto

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Que van a ver este... esta historia que voy a contar.

Going to see this... this story I'm going to tell.

Caption 2, Rafael T. - Viaje al norte

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Contar, such an interesting verb, shows up in three of our videos, but used in different ways. One of the most common meanings is of contar is "to tell" or "to relate." So, in Muñeca Brava, when Federico's cuñado says "...Y yo te voy a contar lo que pienso hacer con el empleo nuevo," we translate it as "and I'm going to tell you what I have in mind for the new job."

Likewise, when our friend Rafael, in his monologue Vieje al norte, says "...este historia que voy a contar," he is talking about relating his tale, "...this story that I am going to tell."

Rafael also consistently uses contar where we might have expected to hear a form of tener (to have), but when he does so he couples it with the preposition con.


Cuando uno ya cuenta con familia...

When you already have a family...

Caption 11, Rafael T. - Viaje al norte

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Yo cuento con una... con una farmacia, con una mini-farmacia.

I own a... a pharmacy, one mini-pharmacy.

Caption 18, Rafael T. - Viaje al norte

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When he tells us "cuando uno ya cuenta con familia," he means "when one has [a] family" and when he says "Yo cuento con una farmacia..." we translate it as "I own a pharmacy."



Of course, the first dictionary definition of contar is "to count," as in contando ovejas when you have insomnio. You can also count on someone or something to perform in a certain way for you, and for this we once again find contar+con. When someone asks "¿Puedo contar contigo para eso?," they don't want to know "Can I have you for this," but rather, "Can I count on you for this?"


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