HomeQ&ATratar vs. Intentar

Tratar vs. Intentar

7
votes

Hello, everyone, I am very new to the world of learning Spanish. what turned the page for me was working with a group af spanish speaking people. I found it very interesting and wanting to learn.
When I was trying to speak to someone and say somthing like I " try" to learn spanish and used the word " intentar" , I was corrected and was told the correct word to use is "tratar". According to the dictionary "tratar " means to treat, to handle, and intentar means to try. Any help please'

47325 views
updated SEP 7, 2017
posted by mike4

12 Answers

14
votes

Intentar means "to try (to)", "attempt"
Tratar has several meanings: (1) Without preposition it can translated as "treat", "use", "handle", "regard",... (2) With preposition "de" it is practically identical to "intentar":

Intentar ayudar = tratar de ayudar
Intento aprender español = trato de aprender español

English has similar verbs, like "apply". You say "apply a cream", but not "apply a job" (apply FOR a job". The preposition changes its meaning.

updated SEP 7, 2017
posted by lazarus1907
Super explanation, thanks! - Jennivee, OCT 26, 2010
Yes, superb answer as usual :) very clear explanation:) - FELIZ77, NOV 28, 2011
Muchas gracias por la explanación! - SandyBoy, AGO 17, 2015
4
votes

some of the difference is less in the denotation (dictionary definition) than in the connotation (the usage and associations of the words). when i was first learning spanish, several spanish speaking friends of mine had an argument over this very topic when i wasn't sure which to use. my understanding of their points is that the two are nearly identical in meaning, but intentar is used much more frequently.

consider in english the words try and attempt. they mean pretty much the same thing, but in everyday conversation, you are much more likely to pull out 'try' while 'attempt' is going to show up when you want to sound more formal/precise/educated. a similar relationship exists between 'intentar' (informal, everyday) and 'tratar de' (more elevated/formal).

updated SEP 7, 2017
posted by David-H
As an intermediate Spanish learner, ¡muchas gracias por el consejo! Estaba pensando que fue el contrario. - UnNouveauDepart, FEB 8, 2012
4
votes

This "de" is only used when you mean "tro try/attempt", The supression of this preposition for this meaning is incorrect Spanish everywhere in the world. The standard in Guatemala in public schools follows the recommendations of the Academia Guatemalteca de la Lengua, and (I've checked) they say the preposition should be used.

Do they really say: "Estoy tratando aprender"'''''

updated SEP 7, 2017
posted by lazarus1907
4
votes

OK, thank you," tratar de" it is. I will "tratar de" this on my co-workers!!

updated DIC 13, 2013
posted by mike4
3
votes

Tratar is not followed by "de" if it means "to treat", though.
And make sure you write español with lower case in Spanish. wink

updated SEP 7, 2017
posted by lazarus1907
3
votes

All the explanations given before are great. I'm a Spanish native speaker. Let me give you some examples in Spanish. Both verbs are correct. You can say:

Estoy tratando de aprender Español or Trato de aprender Español
Estoy intentando aprender Español or Intento aprender Español

("Tratar" is always followed by the preposition "de")

updated SEP 7, 2017
posted by Benz
3
votes

I'm glad I found this. I was working on some Spanish homework and I came across tratar with the preposition de. Of course, trying to find out what it meant brought me here.

I've been using "intentar" to mean try, and "tratar" to mean treat, as in "¿Por qué me tratas tan malo?" Not sure if I'll change now, but at least now I know its an option.

updated NOV 26, 2011
posted by SenorMike
1
vote

What about probar?

I know it's used as in to try something on or to taste something. But I have used it to say "I try" (pruebo) as in " I try to speak Spanish" but I've never been corrected.

So now I'm confused.

Intentar. Tratar. Probar.

Any natives de castillana care to comment?

updated SEP 7, 2017
posted by Nelleo
You are in much better position to get the help you need by filling out your English and Spanish proficiency in your profile. Please do so as soon as possible. That way, those that can help will know how to go about it. - Sassette, OCT 19, 2015
Probar means to try in the sense "to try out" "to taste" or "to test" When it's reflexive "Probarse" it can mean to try on, like clothes. Probar can also mean to prove. It can't be used in the same way intentar can be, it means more to try or test somethi - IsaMedina, DIC 2, 2015
1
vote

When speaking to my co-workers the "de" was never used. Could this be an "understood" preposition when one speaks fluent spanish? Most of my co-workers are from Guatamala.

updated SEP 7, 2017
posted by mike4
1
vote

Natasha, Thanks for your reply. What was confusing to me was the dictionary meaning of both words on this site but since you learned this ( tratar ) to mean "try" I'll feel more comfortable using it.
As far as the origional context, I'm so new to spanish I don' recall. Thanks again.

updated ABR 26, 2010
posted by mike4
0
votes

You're right. Thanks!

updated JUN 1, 2008
posted by Benz
0
votes

You need to post both the sentence and the context.

In my (very limited) experience, intentar usually means "to attempt," but that might not always be the case.

In school, I learned that tratar is "to try," as you mention; but perhaps there are some variations on how this is used. If you post the context, some native speakers will be able to help.

updated MAY 31, 2008
posted by Natasha
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