Quick answer
"De" is a preposition which is often translated as "from", and "servir" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to serve". Learn more about the difference between "de" and "servir" below.
A preposition is a word that indicates the relationship between a noun and another word (e.g. He ran through the door.).
1. (used to indicate origin)
a. from
Mis padres vienen de Nicaragua.My parents are from Nicaragua.
2. (used to indicate material)
a. of
Esta mesa está hecha de plástico.This table is made of plastic.
3. (used to express possession)
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Te recojo en el coche de mi padre.I'll come get you in my father's car.
¿Esa no es la casa de Susana?Isn't that Susana's house?
4. (used to indicate characteristics)
a. of
La comida era de gran calidad.The food was of great quality.
5. (used to indicate content)
a. of
Andrés siempre llevaba una bolsa de canicas.Andres always carried around a bag of marbles.
6. (with compound nouns)
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Voy a comprar otro traje de baño para el verano.I'm going to buy another bathing suit for the summer.
Se usa la palanca de cambios para cambiar las marchas.You use the gear shift to change the gears.
7. (used to indicate time)
a. in
Es mejor trabajar de mañana.It is better to work in the morning.
8. (used to express cause)
a. with
Me sorprendí llorando de pena al pensar en él.I caught myself crying with sorrow when I thought of him.
A feminine noun is almost always used with feminine articles and adjectives (e.g. la mujer bonita, la luna llena).
9. (letter)
a. d
¿Dijiste la letra de o te?Did you say the letter d or t?
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A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (culinary)
a. to serve
Van a servir lomo de puerco en la boda.They're going to serve pork loin at the wedding.
2. (to attend to)
a. to serve
Esta compañía sirve a clientes de todo el mundo.This company serves customers around the world.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
3. (to have a purpose)
a. to be used for
Esta máquina sirve para coser.This machine is used for sewing.
4. (to function as)
a. to serve as
Sirve de ejemplo para los demás.He serves as an example for others.
5. (to work as a servant)
a. to be in service
Trabajó sirviéndoles años antes de empezar su propia carrera.He had been in their service for years before starting his own career.
6. (military)
a. to serve
Mi tío sirvió en las fuerzas armadas durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial.My uncle served in the armed forces during World War II.
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
7. (to make use of something)
a. to use
Me serví de una pala para cavar un agujero.I used a shovel to dig a hole.
A reflexive verb is a verb that indicates that the subject performs an action on itself (e.g. Miguel se lava.).
8. (to serve oneself)
a. to help oneself
Sírvanse lo que gusten del bufet.Help yourselves to anything from the buffet.
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