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Quick answer
"Decir" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to say", and "hablar" is an intransitive verb which is often translated as "to speak". Learn more about the difference between "decir" and "hablar" below.
decir(
deh
-
seer
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to speak)
a. to say
¿Qué dijiste? No te escuché.What did you say? I couldn't hear you.
b. to tell
¿Jura decir la verdad?Do you swear to tell the truth?
2. (to give an opinion)
a. to say
¿Qué dices de la nueva ley de transporte?What do you say about the new law on transportation?
b. to think
¿Y qué dices tú del asunto?What do you think about the whole issue?
c. to believe
¿Quién hubiera dicho que Juliana y Gustavo acabarían juntos?Who would have believed that Juliana and Gustavo would end up together?
3. (to be rumored)
a. to say
Dicen que va a nevar mañana.They say it's going to snow tomorrow.
4. (to transmit orders)
a. to tell
Dile a tu hermano que haga sus tareas.Tell your brother to do his homework.
b. to say
Mamá dijo que nos teníamos que acostar.Mom said we had to go to sleep.
5. (to narrate)
a. to recite
Ahora voy a decir un poema nuevo que escribí sobre el amor perdido.Now I will recite a poem I wrote about lost love.
6. (to signify)
a. to tell
El que no lo interese planear la boda me dice que Jorge no está listo para casarse.The fact that he's not interested in planning the wedding tells me Jorge's not ready to get married.
7. (to be indicated in text)
a. to say
La Biblia dice que uno debe amar al prójimo.The Bible says we should love our neighbor.
8. (religious)
a. to say (mass)
Después de decir la homilía, el sacerdote reparte la comunión.After the priest says the homily, he hands out Communion.
9. (to invite to speak)
a. to go ahead
¿Le puedo pedir un favor? - ¡Claro! Dime, ¿en qué lo puedo ayudar?Can I ask a favor of you? - Of course! Go ahead, how can I help you?
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
10. (used to answer the phone)
Regionalism used in Spain
(Spain)
a. hello (interjection)
¿Diga?Hello!
A masculine noun is used with masculine articles and adjectives (e.g. el hombre guapo, el sol amarillo).
11. (proverb)
a. saying
"De tal palo, tal astilla" es un decir popular."Like father, like son" is a popular saying.
12. (form of expression)
a. manner of speaking
¡No te enfades, mujer! Es solo un decir.Come on, don't get annoyed! It's just a manner of speaking.
decirse
A reflexive verb is a verb that indicates that the subject performs an action on itself (e.g. Miguel se lava.).
13. (to promise oneself)
a. to tell oneself
Me dije que no volvería a empezar a fumar.I told myself that I wouldn't start smoking again.
b. to say to oneself
Me dije a mí misma, esto no sienta bien.I said to myself, this doesn't feel right.
c. to think to oneself
Me sigo diciendo, ¿qué hubiera pasado si hubiera aceptado ese trabajo?I keep thinking to myself, what would have happened had I taken that job?
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
14. (to label)
a. to call
En Puerto Rico a la basura se le dice "zafacón".In Puerto Rico, the trash is called "zafacón."
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hablar(
ah
-
blahr
)
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
1. (to articulate words)
a. to speak
Los bebés comienzan a hablar a los 18 meses.Babies start speaking at around 18 months.
b. to talk
Escucho a alguien hablando, pero no sé de dónde viene.I can hear someone talking, but I don't know where's it coming from.
2. (to converse)
a. to talk
¿Necesitas a alguien con quien hablar?Do you need someone to talk to?
b. to speak
¿Podemos hablar en privado?Can we speak in private?
3. (to give a speech)
a. to speak
Habló un buen rato de las reformas que había propuesto el gobierno.He spoke at length about the reforms the government had proposed.
4. (to speak on the phone)
a. to call
Buenas tardes, ¿se encuentra la Sra. Martínez? - ¿Quién habla?Good afternoon, may I speak with Mrs. Martinez? - Who is calling?
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
5. (to be able to communicate in)
a. to speak
Hablo cinco idiomas y leo diez.I speak five languages and can read ten.
6. (to deal with)
a. to discuss
Eso tienes que hablarlo directamente con el principal.You need to discuss that directly with the principal.
b. to say
¿Verdaderamente no tienes nada de qué hablarme?You really don't have anything to say to me?
7. (to call)
Regionalism used in Argentina
(Argentina)
Regionalism used in El Salvador
(El Salvador)
Regionalism used in Mexico
(Mexico)
a. to phone
Ahora que tienes su número, ¿le vas a hablar?Now that you have her number, are you going to phone her?
An impersonal verb is a verb with no apparent subject (e.g. Llueve en España.).
8. (to have a conversation)
a. to speak
No se habla de otra cosa.We speak about nothing else.
hablarse
A reciprocal verb is a verb that indicates that two or more subjects perform an action on each other (e.g. Ellos se abrazan.).
9. (to have a conversation)
a. to speak to each other
Se hablan de mala manera.They speak to each other rudely.
b. to be on speaking terms
Los primos no se hablan después de la pelea sobre la herencia.The cousins aren't on speaking terms after the fight over the inheritance.
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