Quick answer
"Dar la mano" is a transitive verb phrase which is often translated as "to shake hands with", and "apretar" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to press". Learn more about the difference between "dar la mano" and "apretar" below.
dar la mano(
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 clasp the hand in agreement or as a greeting)
a. to shake hands with
Al dar la mano a mi futura jefa, noté que estaba nerviosa.I felt my future boss was nervous when I shook hands with her.
2. (to clasp by the hand)
a. to take by the hand
Dame la mano, no vayas a perderte entre tanta gente.Take me by the hand. I don't want you to get lost in this crowd.
b. to hold hands with
La cosa se estaba poniendo fea. Le di la mano a mi novia y nos fuimos de allí.Things were getting ugly. I held hands with my girlfriend and we left.
c. to give one's hand (to get help)
Dame la mano para ayudarte a salir de la alberca.Give me your hand to help you out of the swimming pool.
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A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to apply pressure)
a. to press
Aprieta cualquier tecla para continuar.Press any key to continue.
b. to pull
Agarró una pistola y apretó el gatillo.He took a gun and pulled the trigger.
c. to squeeze
Para disparar la pistola, tienes que quitar el seguro y apretar el gatillo.To shoot the gun, you have to release the lock and squeeze the trigger.
d. to step on (accelerator)
Arranca el carro y aprieta el pedal.Start the car and step on the pedal.
2. (to compress)
a. to squeeze
Aprieta el limón para sacarle todo el zumo.Squeeze the lemon to get all the juice out.
b. to clutch
Mi madre me apretó tan fuerte que no podía respirar.My mother clutched me so tight that I couldn't breathe.
c. to clench (fist)
Apretó el puño tan fuerte que se clavó las uñas en la palma.He clenched his fist so hard that his fingernails dug into his palm.
d. to grit (teeth)
Apretó los dientes de rabia al ver a su mujer engañándole.He gritted his teeth in wrath when he saw his wife cheating on him.
e. to crush
Agarra bien al bebé, pero no lo aprietes.Hold your baby close, but don't crush him.
f. to grip
¡Suelta! Me estás haciendo daño apretándome el brazo así.Let go! You're hurting me gripping my arm like that.
3. (to adjust)
a. to tighten
Usa una llave inglesa para apretar las cuatro tuercas.Use a wrench to tighten all four nuts.
4. (to hurry)
a. to quicken
¡Aprieta el paso que ya vamos tarde!Quicken your pace; we're already late!
5. (to pressure)
a. to put pressure on
En la actualidad, el colegio no aprieta mucho a los alumnos.Nowadays, schools don't put too much pressure on students.
b. to push
Deja de apretarme. Nunca aceptaré la oferta.Stop pushing me. I will never accept the offer.
6. (to squeeze together)
a. to bunch up
No queda mucho sitio en la hoja, así que tendré que apretar las palabras al escribir.There is not much space left on the sheet, so I will have to bunch up the words when writing.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
7. (to increase)
a. to get worse
Cuando la lluvia apretó, empecé a correr a casa.When the rain got worse, I started to run home.
b. to intensify
El cansancio apretaba, pero no podía irme a dormir hasta que acabara los deberes.The fatigue intensified, but I couldn't go to sleep until I finished my homework.
8. (to crush)
a. to be too tight
Este sombrero me aprieta.This hat is too tight for me.
b. to pinch one's feet
Esas botas me aprietan mucho.Those boots really pinch my feet.
9. (to pressure)
a. to put on the pressure
Esta crisis está apretando a las familias más pobres.This crisis is putting the pressure on the poorest families.
10. (to exert oneself)
a. to make an effort
Si aprietas, acabarás a tiempo.If you make an effort, you will finish on time.
11. (to go)
Regionalism used in Chile
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
La tormenta se está acercando, mejor apretemos.The storm is coming; we'd better run.
Cuando la alarma de incendios empezó a sonar, todos apretaron hacia la salida.When the fire alarm began to sound, everybody made a dash for the exit.
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
12. (to squeeze together)
a. to squeeze up
Pueden comer todos a la vez si no les importa apretarse en el comedor.You can all eat together if you don't mind squeezing up in the dining room.
b. to squish together
Si se aprietan, habrá sitio para uno más.If you squish together, there will be room for one more.
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