Quick answer
"Darse cuenta de" is a transitive verb phrase which is often translated as "to realize", and "darse cuenta" is an intransitive verb phrase which is also often translated as "to realize". Learn more about the difference between "darse cuenta de" and "darse cuenta" below.
darse cuenta de
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. (general)
a. to realize
¿No te das cuenta de que estás malcriando a tus hijos?Don't you realize you're spoiling your children?
b. to realise (United Kingdom)
Cuando se sentó al volante, Rosario se dio cuenta de que había perdido sus lentes.When she sat behind the wheel Rosario realised she had lost her glasses.
c. to notice
En ese momento me di cuenta de que el hombre llevaba una pistola en el bolsillo.At that moment I noticed the man had a gun in his pocket.
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darse cuenta(
dahr
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seh
 
kwehn
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tah
)
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. (often used with "de")
a. to realize
Me acabo de dar cuenta de que no tengo las llaves del carro.I just realized I don't have my car keys.
b. to realise (United Kingdom)
Al llegar al aeropuerto, Sonia se dio cuenta de que había dejado su pasaporte en casa.When she got to the airport, Sonia realised she'd left her passport at home.
c. to notice
Está cayendo agua del inodoro. - ¡Ups! No me había dado cuenta.The toilet is leaking. - Oops! I hadn't noticed.
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