HomeQ&AArrive vs. to get here/there

Arrive vs. to get here/there

7
votes

I want to teach this to my English students because I find it rather frustrating that "arrive" is generally the definition given for "llegar" despite the fact that the word "arrive" is not that commonly used in English by most people. The word is even on lists of "100 Most Used Verbs in English" and it's barely in my everyday vocabulary. Everyone understands it but I just don't think that we say it that often in conversation.

Ha llegado la primavera. = Spring is here.

"Spring has arrived." is correct but not as common.

¿Ya llegamos? = Are we there yet?

"Have we arrived yet?" is correct but not at all common.

¿Llegué a las siete? = I got there at seven. or, depending on the context: I got here at seven.

"I arrived at seven." is correct but not as common.

Lo siento que llego tarde. = I'm sorry; I'm late.

"I'm sorry that I arrived late." is correct but not at all common

Llegaré pronto. = I'll be there soon.

"I'll arrive soon." is correct but not at all common.

El autobús llega a las ocho. = The bus gets here at eight.

"The bus arrives at eight." is correct and maybe equally as common.

Llegué a casa a las dos. = I got home at two.

"I arrived at home at two." is correct but not at all common

Por fin llegué. = I finally made it. or: I finally got here.

"I finally arrived" is correct but not as common.

Do you know of any other ways that we say "llegar" in English in the context of "to arrive"? Are there situations where you would be more likely to say "arrive"? Is it just in the U.S. that we don't say "arrive" often? Is it just me? Do you agree with the above examples?

Thanks for you input.

13423 views
updated MAR 24, 2010
edited by alba3
posted by alba3
Interesting dissertation Alba :) - Izanoni1, MAR 24, 2010

5 Answers

4
votes

Interesting! I agree that one could replace "to arrive" by "to come", "to get there", "to show up", etc, in most cases, though it does sound rather more informal. I'm quite sure you would arrive at an important meeting. I think it may also be more natural to use "arrive" for llegar when the subject in transit is non-human. A package can arrive late, a train will arrive in the station. Finally, arrive is useful to indicate the actual act of appearing at the destination, for instance: Disaster struck just as the guests were arriving.

Edit: Also, contrast:

"The hardest part for her was arriving at her father's house."

"The hardest part for her was getting to her father's house."

updated MAR 24, 2010
edited by limes
posted by limes
yes, very good! - mountaingirl123, MAR 24, 2010
great example - alba3, MAR 24, 2010
2
votes

Mi vuelo llega a las 7:00. - My flight arrives at 7:00. Este paquete llegó esta mañana. - This parcel arrived this morning.

updated MAR 24, 2010
edited by h1deaway
posted by h1deaway
It's sad, that that's just about the only useful thing I learned from 20 years of travelling. - h1deaway, MAR 24, 2010
2
votes

Alba3, this is a great question, and I totally agree with you. Hideaway has hit the nail on the head that we tend to use "arrive" in the context of transportation arriving (planes, trains, buses) or a package arriving. I agree that, at least in the US, everyone understands "arrive" for people's comings and goings, but we use "get there" or "get here" when we are talking about people arriving.

Teaching "llegar" as meaning both "to arrive" and "to get there/here" no matter whether we are teaching English as a second language or Spanish as a second language makes a lot of sense.

updated MAR 24, 2010
posted by mountaingirl123
1
vote

If I were asking: ¿A qué hora llega tu vuelo? I'd say: What time does your flight come in?

If it were a business related discussion, I (emphasis added on I) would definitely use arrive. I might use 'get in' or 'come in' in a more casual situation. Similar to what Limes is saying.

updated MAR 24, 2010
posted by h1deaway
good point - alba3, MAR 24, 2010
1
vote

If I were asking: ¿A qué hora llega tu vuelo? I'd say: What time does your flight come in?

Mi vuelo llega a las 7:00. My flight comes in at 7:00. My flight gets in at 7:00.

But I do agree that "arrive" could be used instead, ecspecially in the case of arrivals of buses, trains, and planes.

updated MAR 24, 2010
posted by alba3
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