Quick answer
"Complain" is an intransitive verb which is often translated as "quejarse", and "tell" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "contar". Learn more about the difference between "complain" and "tell" below.
complain(
kuhm
-
pleyn
)
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
1. (to grumble)
a. quejarse
Pessimists complain about everything.Los pesimistas se quejan de todo.
b. protestar
Stop complaining and do something!¡Deja de protestar y haz algo!
2. (to make a complaint)
a. reclamar
Clients were continuously complaining to the manager.Los clientes reclamaban continuamente al encargado.
b. presentar una reclamación
You need to complain in writing.Tienes que presentar una reclamación por escrito.
c. elevar una queja
The attorney complained to the judge.El abogado elevó una queja al juez.
3. (medicine)
a. quejarse
He complained of back pain.Se quejaba de dolor de espalda.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
4. (to grumble about)
a. quejarse
She complained that nobody ever called her.Se quejó de que nadie la llamaba nunca.
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tell(
tehl
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to communicate)
a. contar
You mustn't tell anyone what I'm about to tell you.No debes contarle a nadie lo que estoy a punto de contarte.
b. decir
Do you swear to tell the truth?¿Jura decir la verdad?
2. (to discern)
a. distinguir
I cannot tell the twins apart.No sé distinguir a los gemelos entre sí.
3. (to know)
a. saber
You can tell by the look in her eyes that she loves you.Puedes saber por su mirada que te quiere.
4. (to count)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
The nun tells her rosary beads every evening.Todas las noches, la monja reza el rosario.
There were a hundred guests all told.Había cien invitados en total.
5. (to be ordered)
a. ordenar
The soldier was told to watch the prisoner.Al soldado le ordenaron vigilar al prisionero.
b. mandar
You were told to clean your room.Te mandaron que limpiaras la habitación.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
6. (to divulge)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
I won't tell Mom on you if you do me a favor.No me chivaré de ti a mamá si me haces un favor.
The agent asked her if she saw anything, but she was not willing to tell.El agente le preguntó si había visto algo, pero ella no lo quería decir.
7. (to be revealing)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Age tells when running a marathon.La edad pesa cuando corres un maratón.
Every answer tells in a job interview.Cada respuesta cuenta en una entrevista de trabajo.
8. (to know)
a. saber
How can I tell if she loves me?¿Cómo puedo saber si me quiere?
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