On a recent thread I said that one did not have to use 'de' in the expression "Darse cuenta", I said

It is OK to say "me di cuenta que es tarde", no necesitas el "de".

A fluent Spanish speaker then corrected me, saying the 'de' was necessary. There are lots of little things like that I make mistakes about and I thought no more of it. However, now I believe I said that out of experience, as now I have run across several examples of 'Darse cuenta' being used without the 'de'.

For instance, in "Nueve reinas" (a fantastic movie, I recommend it highly), Marcos says

"al revisar la billetera me doy cuenta que salí sin plata. Ahí me di cuenta que estaba tan cerca de acá..."

In 'De acá de este lado' (a telenovela) Fortunata says, Me hace que no se ha dado cuenta que mi hermano y yo no creemos que sea muy conveniente tenerla de vecina.-

Later another character says

Ya me di cuenta que te niegas cuando llamo por teléfono…

But later Mauricio says,

-¿Te das cuenta de qué mala onda eres? , but in this case it makes no sense not to use the 'de'.

So, is it really true that one must use 'de' with this expression? It appears to me to be entirely optional...

2 Answers



You might like this thread which discusses the issue of queísmo with certain expressions. In one of the responses, Lazarus mentions a trick which can be helpful to determine whether or not the "de" is necessary in such expressions. Namely, substitute the relative clause (the clause beginning with "que") for a pronoun such as "eso" and note the effect it has on the sentence.

For example:

Me di cuenta (de) que te niegas cuando llamo por teléfono…

►Me di cuenta esto. → I became aware this/I took notice this. X

►Me di cuenta de esto → I became aware of this/I took notice of this.

Being aware that the correct usage includes the preposition "de" is especially helpful when it comes time to formulate questions based upon this expression and others like it:

►¿Qué me di cuenta? → What did I become aware?/What did I take notice? X

►¿De qué me di cuenta? → What did I become aware of?/What did I take notice of?

  • that's kewl, thanx Iza :) - Kiwi-Girl Nov 27, 2011
  • Why do sometimes I just see an x and a check and other times I see an x and check button? - 0074b507 Nov 27, 2011
  • Glad you think so, Kiwi :o) - Izanoni1 Nov 27, 2011
  • @Q: I initially inserted a graphic check button, but it seemed a bit distracting and edited it out in favor of a html enhanced check mark. - Izanoni1 Nov 27, 2011
  • Comentarios excelentes Sr. Izanoni! - Jeremias Nov 28, 2011


The RAE is pretty clear on this one that the absence of the preposition "de" is considered to be an example of "queísmo."

Como pronominal, darse cuenta de algo, significa ‘advertirlo o percatarse de ello’:

«Nacha se dio cuenta de que Tita estaba mal» (Esquivel Agua [Méx. 1989]).

Debe evitarse, en el habla esmerada, la supresión de la preposición "de" cuando el complemento es una oración subordinada introducida por la conjunción "que"

See queísmo

  • OK, thank you. I guess I could have looked that up myself! Sorry about that. So, my takeaway is that, in proper speech, one should avoid omitting the de, but in common speech 'queismo' is frequently employed. - Jeremias Nov 27, 2011
  • I don't know how appropriate the adverb "frequently" is to describe this. I would imagine that the frequency with which you might encounter this ("substandard") usage probably varies from place to place and group to group - Izanoni1 Nov 27, 2011
  • In any case, yes. Inclusion of the preposition "de" is certainly bound to occur more frequently in speech considered to be more polished, refined, meticulous, etc. - Izanoni1 Nov 27, 2011
  • Well, I didn't have to very far to see it used often, but yes, with Argentinian 'estafadores' and Mexican working class folks.' - Jeremias Nov 28, 2011