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Darse Cuenta: The Real "Realize"

While there are many words that are identical in Spanish and English (e.g. original, horror, etc.), other words play different tricks on us. This short lesson is about one of those "false friends," or words that are written the same as or similar to words in another language but have very different meanings. 

           BANNER PLACEHOLDER

 

An age-old mistake among English speakers is to use the verb realizar as a means of conveying "to come to know" or "realize." Of course, most of you know by now that this is a false cognate as realizar usually means "to achieve," "bring to fruition," etc.

 

In fact, the correct way to say "to realize" is darse cuenta. Let's take a look at a couple of clips in order to see that verb in action:

 

Eh, darse cuenta que... que hay mucha gente, muchos chavales, que han podido perder una familia en'... a sus padres, se pueden quedar huérfanos,

Um, realizing that... that there many people, many young people, who have managed to lose an [entire] family... their parents; they can end up orphans,

Captions 12-13, Iker Casillas apoya el trabajo de Plan

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y de pronto te das cuenta de que... de que no quieres estar con nadie más.

and suddenly you realize that... that you don't want to be with anyone else.

Captions 29-30, Cortometraje Flechazos

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And now, let's see how the Spanish verb realizar is used throughout this El Aula Azul video:

 

Entonces voy a coger los datos para realizar la inscripción,

Then I'm going to take down the information to carry out the registration,

Caption 1, El Aula Azul Conversación: Los cursos de español - Part 2

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y ahí tendrá toda la información para realizar el pago

and there he'll have all of the information to make the payment

Caption 31, El Aula Azul Conversación: Los cursos de español - Part 2

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y toda la información que pueda necesitar para... para realizar su curso.

and all the information that he might need to... to take his course.

Caption 32, El Aula Azul Conversación: Los cursos de español - Part 2

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As you can see, the verb realizar can be used in many different ways, just not in the way in which a native English speaker might initially expect!

 

That's all for today. We hope this lesson helps you to avoid making this common mistake. And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

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