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Quick answer
"Decir" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to say", and "responder" is an intransitive verb which is often translated as "to answer". Learn more about the difference between "decir" and "responder" 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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responder(
rrehs
-
pohn
-
dehr
)
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
1. (to give an answer)
a. to answer
¿Por qué no respondiste cuando te llamé?Why didn't you answer when I called you?
b. to reply
Le escribí una postal y me respondió con una carta de diez páginas.I wrote him a postcard and he replied to me with ten-page letter.
c. to give a reply
Respondiste de manera que debió haber terminado la conversación, pero no puedo dejarla así.You gave a reply that should have ended the conversation, but I can't let it end like that.
2. (to react)
a. to respond
Los perros respondieron gruñéndole a los gatos.The dogs responded by growling at the cats.
b. to respond to
Los huéspedes del hotel respondieron a la alarma evacuando.The hotel guests responded to the alarm by evacuating.
3. (to answer impertinently)
a. to answer back
La profesora lo castigó por responder.The teacher punished him for answering back.
b. to talk back
Regionalism used in the United States
(United States)
Cuando te digo que te cepilles los dientes, no necesito que me respondas.When I tell you to brush your teeth, I don't need you to talk back.
4. (to take responsibility for; used with "por" or "de")
a. to vouch for
Yo no puedo responder por Raúl.I can't vouch for Raul.
b. to take responsibility for
Ella responde de que los volantes se repartan a tiempo.She takes responsibility for getting the flyers handed out on time.
5. (to correspond to; used with "a")
a. to be in keeping with
Sus fotografías responden al tema de la exhibición.Her photographs are in keeping with the theme of the exhibit.
b. to be appropriate for
La multa que se cobró responde a los daños hechos.The fine charged is appropriate for the damage done.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
6. (to reply to)
a. to answer
El estudiante respondió que el no había sido.The student answered that he didn't do it.
b. to reply to
¿Respondiste ya el correo electrónico de tu jefa?Have you replied to your boss's email yet?
c. to respond to
A word or phrase used to refer to the second person formal “usted” by their conjugation or implied context (e.g. usted).
(formal)
Manuel respondió preguntas del comité.Manuel responded to the committee's questions.
7. (to acknowledge)
a. to answer
Mi papá no me respondió la llamada, así que tuve que irme caminando a la casa.My dad didn't answer my call, so I had to walk home.
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