HomeQ&A'tratar' or 'intentar' - to do something

'tratar' or 'intentar' - to do something


For instance:

Estoy tratando or Estoy intentando aprender espanol...

updated AGO 26, 2011
posted by elBoot

7 Answers


At least, in some contexts they are interchangeable.

  1. (intentar)

    tratar de hacer algo -> to try to do something

What is interesting is that intentar is listed as a transitive verb and tratar (when meaning intentar) is listed as an intransitive verb.

Since your example is a transitive situation, I would go with intentar.

(Which is coincidental, because if you changed the or in your question to a period, that is exactly what we would have.)

Estoy tratando. (intransitive)

Estoy intentando aprender.... (transitive)



updated SEP 25, 2009
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507
Thanks, Q, this is helpful. - --Mariana--, SEP 25, 2009
Great answer, thanks for your help - elBoot, SEP 25, 2009
Gets my vote - Izanoni1, SEP 25, 2009

"Estoy tratando de aprender español" "Trato de aprender español" "Estoy >intentando aprender español"

I would use the first, but it may be different depending on the country. I'm from Argentina.

updated AGO 20, 2011
posted by 00e657d4


1) to treat

Example: su novio la trata muy mal (her boyfriend treats her very badly)

2) to be about, to discuss

Example: la película trata de un adolescente en Nueva York ( the film is about a teenager in New York )

3) to try

Example: trataré de llegar pronto ( I'll try to arrive early)

4) to have dealings with

Example: trato con todo tipo de gente ( I deal with all sorts of people )

updated SEP 25, 2009
edited by --Mariana--
posted by --Mariana--

"I am trying to learn Spanish"

Our translator gives these options:

"Estoy tratando de aprender español" "Trato de aprender español" "Estoy intentando aprender español"

So which one is correct ???

updated SEP 25, 2009
edited by ian-hill
posted by ian-hill
I think they are all correct. - --Mariana--, SEP 25, 2009
2 have a "de" and 1 does not ' is that logical? Which one would a native speaker use? - ian-hill, SEP 25, 2009
Hi Ian. You say "tratar de" for "try to." However, "intentar" doesn't need that preposition of "de." Look up "tratar" in the dictionary and you'll see different meaings for "tratar" and "tratar de." - --Mariana--, SEP 25, 2009
Gracias. - ian-hill, SEP 25, 2009

This is the problem for me because I got those 3 sentences from the translator BUT "tratar" from the dictionary means "to treat" not "to try" but you use it to say " I am trying to learn Spanish" "Estoy tratando de aprender español" Tratar means "to try".

updated SEP 25, 2009
edited by ian-hill
posted by ian-hill
Ian, look at my response that I put in a few minutes ago (above). I set out 4 meanings for "tratar." - --Mariana--, SEP 25, 2009
Gracias - lo hice. - ian-hill, SEP 25, 2009

This is from the RAE dictionary:

Tratar. 15. intr. Procurar el logro de algún fin. Yo trato DE vivir bien.

Although is listed as #15, I still will use it as my first choice. "Intentar" is correct. I would also use it, but not that frequently.

updated SEP 25, 2009
posted by 00e657d4
I've heard "trato de" much more often than "intentar." - --Mariana--, SEP 25, 2009
That's also my point. I don't care if the dictionary says otherwise. - 00e657d4, SEP 25, 2009
This illustrates a problem for us who are learning Spanish - it can be very flexible. - ian-hill, SEP 25, 2009
Ian, I agree 100%. - --Mariana--, SEP 25, 2009

Not knowing Spanish, just using the dictionary, intentar is the verb you need.

updated SEP 25, 2009
posted by Zoltán
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