Quick answer
"Clear up" is an intransitive verb phrase which is often translated as "despejarse", and "sort out" is a transitive verb phrase which is often translated as "solucionar". Learn more about the difference between "clear up" and "sort out" below.
clear up
An intransitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and does not require a direct object (e.g. Everybody please stand up.).
intransitive verb phrase
1. (to improve)
a. despejarse
It rained all night and all morning and finally cleared up in the afternoon.Llovió toda la noche y la mañana y por fin se despejó en la tarde.
2. (to tidy up) (United Kingdom)
a. ordenar
Frank, go help your sister clear up in the kitchen.Frank, ve a ayudarle a tu hermana a ordenar la cocina.
3. (to get better)
a. mejorarse
My cold cleared up after a good hot shower.Mi resfriado se mejoró después de una buena ducha caliente.
A transitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and requires a direct object (e.g. Take out the trash.).
transitive verb phrase
4. (to tidy up) (United Kingdom)
a. ordenar
You have to clear up this mess before you can go out and play.Tienes que ordenar este lío antes de salir a jugar.
5. (to heal)
a. mejorar
This cream will clear up your wound.Esta crema mejorará tu herida.
6. (to resolve)
a. resolver
The detective cleared up the mystery.La detective resolvió el misterio.
b. aclarar
Please, clear this up for me - I can't see what you meant.Por favor, aclárame esto: no entiendo qué quisiste decir.
c. esclarecer
When Rodney watched the video, it cleared up the confusion he'd had.Cuando Rodney vio el video, esclareció la confusión que había tenido.
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sort out
A transitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and requires a direct object (e.g. Take out the trash.).
transitive verb phrase
1. (to resolve)
a. solucionar
I think I need to hire a plumber to sort out the problem with the kitchen sink.Creo que tengo que contratar a un fontanero para solucionar el problema con el fregadero de la cocina.
b. arreglar
Greg and Alison saw a psychologist to try to sort out their differences and save their marriage.Greg y Alison consultaron a un psicólogo para tratar de arreglar sus diferencias y salvar su matrimonio.
2. (to organize)
a. ordenar
I sorted out my books by subject.Ordené los libros por tema.
b. poner en orden
Leslie spent a week sorting out her photos after she returned from her trip to Asia.Leslie pasó una semana poniendo sus fotos en orden después de volver de su viaje a Asia.
c. organizar
John meets with his accountant weekly to sort out the business's finances.John se reúne con su contador cada semana para organizar las finanzas del negocio.
3. (to separate out)
a. separar
Sean is trying to sort out which clothes he'll take on vacation and which he can leave behind.Sean está intentando separar la ropa que se llevará de vacaciones de la que se puede dejar en casa.
4. (to settle down)
a. calmarse
It took him a while to sort himself out after the accident.Se tardó un rato en calmarse después del accidente.
5. (to reprimand)
a. ajustar cuentas
James didn't take kindly to insubordination and he quickly sorted his troops out about who was boss.James no admitía la insubordinación y ajustó cuentas rápidamente con las tropas sobre quién era el jefe.
6. (to provide)
a. dar
I need onions for my stew. - Come round my place and I'll sort you out with some onions from my garden.Necesito cebollas para mi guiso. - Ven a mi casa y te daré unas cebollas de mi jardín.
7. (to procure)
a. arreglar
I have my plane ticket, I just need to sort out my visa in order to travel to Brazil.Tengo el boleto de avión, solo debo arreglar la visa para viajar a Brasil.
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