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Subir, Bajar: Up and Downs

The lyrics to Javier García's song Tranquila describe climbing up a mountain... and then climbing back down. Meanwhile, the video depicts passengers on a bus. But, guess what?: In Spanish, "to climb up or down a mountain" and "to get on or off a bus" use the same two verbs: subir y bajar.


Let's take a closer look at the lyrics:


Súbete a una montaña

Climb up a mountain

Quédate un ratito

Stay for a while

Y después te bajas

And then you get down

Captions 6-8, Javier García - Tranquila

 Play Caption


The lyrics here would still make linguistic sense if García sang about a bus ride:

Súbete a un autobús
Quédate un ratito
Y después te bajas

In Spanish, you also use subir and bajar to describe getting in and out of a car, climbing up or down stairs, taking an escalator up or down, getting on or off a train or subway or horse.... In other words, subir and bajar are an essential pair of verbs to know to get around town.


(As an aside: Whether or not you use the reflexive form of subir and/or bajar in this context is a matter of emphasis and formality. Note that it's less formal -- and less technically correct, according to the Real Academía Española -- to use the "te" pronouns in this song. Saying súbete... above is somewhat akin to saying, say, "get yourself..." in English. Call it creative license.)


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