Quick answer
"Darse cuenta" is an intransitive verb phrase which is often translated as "to realize", and "ponerse al corriente" is a pronominal verb phrase which is often translated as "to bring oneself up to date". Learn more about the difference between "darse cuenta" and "ponerse al corriente" below.
darse cuenta(
dahr
-
seh
 
kwehn
-
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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ponerse al corriente
A pronominal verb phrase combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Se dio cuenta del problema.)
pronominal verb phrase
1. (to update oneself)
a. to bring oneself up to date
Acabo de llegar de vacaciones, y necesito un par de días para ponerme al corriente.I'm just back from my vacation, and I need a couple of days to bring myself up to date.
b. to catch up
Faltó un mes a clase porque estuvo enfermo, pero estudió mucho y enseguida se puso al corriente.He missed one month of school because he was ill, but he worked hard and caught up very quickly.
c. to get up to date
En cuanto cobre este mes, podremos ponernos al corriente de los pagos de la lavadora.The moment I'm paid this month, we'll be able to get up to date with the washing machine payments.
poner al corriente
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
2. (to update)
a. to bring up to date
Me tiene que poner al corriente de todo lo que pasó la semana que estuve fuera.You have to bring me up to date on everything that happened the week I was away.
b. to inform
Es un asunto muy serio. Tendremos que poner al corriente al jefe de departamento.This is a very serious matter. We'll have to inform the head of department.
c. to fill in
Cuento contigo para que me pongas al corriente de todos los cotilleos del barrio.I count on you to fill me in on all the neighborhood gossip.
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