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Quick answer
"Descender" is an intransitive verb which is often translated as "to fall", and "subir" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to go up". Learn more about the difference between "descender" and "subir" below.
descender(
deh
-
sehn
-
dehr
)
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
1. (to decrease)
a. to fall
La tasa de desempleo descendió del 6.5% al 5% en el último trimestre.The unemployment rate fell from 6.5% to 5% in the last quarter.
b. to drop
Se nota que llegó el otoño; hoy la temperatura descendió a 55 grados Fahrenheit.You can tell it is already fall; today the temperature dropped to 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
c. to go down
Durante la Gran Depresión, el precio de los activos descendió, y muchas instituciones financieras quebraron.During the Great Depression, the price of shares went down, and many financial institutions went bankrupt.
d. to come down
El precio de la gasolina estaba muy elevado, pero ahora está descendiendo.The price of gas was really high, but it's coming down now.
2. (to move downward)
a. to descend
El avión comenzó a descender; en media hora estaremos aterrizando.The plane has started to descend; we'll be landing in about 30 minutes.
b. to go down
Llegamos a la cima de la montaña; ahora tenemos que empezar a descender.We've reached the summit of the mountain; now we have to start going down.
c. to come down
Cuando se les acabó el helio a los globos de la fiesta, comenzaron a descender.When the party balloons had run out of helium, they started to come down.
3. (to alight)
a. to get off (plane, train, bus)
Luís estaba sentado en la segunda fila del avión, y por eso fue uno de los primeros pasajeros en descender.Luis was sitting in the second row of the plane, so he was one of the first passengers to get off.
b. to disembark (from ship, plane, train)
Espera hasta que el tren haya parado completamente antes de intentar descender.Wait until the train has come to a complete stop before attempting to disembark.
c. to get out (of car)
El conductor apagó el motor y descendió del carro.The driver switched off the engine and got out of the car.
4. (to be demoted)
a. to be downgraded
El huracán perdió fuerza y ha descendido a tormenta tropical.The hurricane lost strength and has been downgraded to a tropical storm.
b. to go down
Este programa estaba a la cabeza del rating, pero descendió al cuarto lugar.This TV show was at the top of the ratings, but it has gone down to fourth place.
c. to be relegated
El equipo de fútbol local tuvo un mal año y descendió a la segunda categoría.Our local soccer team had a bad year and was relegated to the second tier.
5. (to be related to; used with "de")
a. to be descended from
La mayoría de los Amish descienden directamente de inmigrantes del siglo XVIII.Most Amish people are directly descended from 18th-century immigrants.
b. to descend from
Parece que la familia de mi esposo descienden de los vikingos.It seems my husband's family descend from the Vikings.
c.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Muchos estadounidenses descienden de irlandeses, y es por esto que se celebra el día de San Patricio en ciudades como Boston y Nueva York.Many Americans are of Irish descent, and that's why Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in cities like Boston and New York.
Mi familia desciende de franceses e italianos.My family is of French and Italian descent.
6. (to be derived from; used with "de")
a. to descend from
El Halloween desciende de una celebración celta.Halloween descends from a Celtic festival.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
7. (to move down)
a. to go down
Necesitas descender cinco tramos de escaleras para llegar al primer piso.You need to go down five flights of stairs to get to the first floor.
b. to come down
Felipe descendió las escaleras rápidamente cuando nos oyó entrar.Felipe came down the stairs quickly when he heard us come in.
c. to descend
Mientras descendía la colina, me tropecé con una piedra.As I was descending the hill, I tripped on a stone.
8. (to move something down)
a. to lower
Los rescatistas descendieron una camilla desde el helicóptero para recoger al alpinista herido.The rescuers lowered a stretcher from the helicopter to recover the injured climber.
9. (to reduce in status)
a. to demote
Debido al bajo rendimiento de la empresa, Andrés fue descendido de director de finanzas a sub-director de finanzas.Because of the company's poor performance, Andrés was demoted from financial director to assistant financial director.
b. to downgrade
La guía gastronómica descendió de categoría a este restaurante; bajó de cuatro a dos estrellas.The restaurant guide downgraded this restaurant from four stars to two.
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subir(
soo
-
beer
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to ascend)
a. to go up (moving away)
Subir el monte es duro.Going up the hill is tough.
b. to come up (moving closer)
Los veo venir subiendo la cuesta.I can see them coming up the hill.
c. to climb
Los prisioneros subieron el muro y escaparon.The prisoners climbed the wall and escaped.
2. (to increase)
a. to raise
Subieron los impuestos en mi país.They raised the taxes in my country.
3. (to increase the volume, heat, etc. of)
a. to turn up
Si tienes frío, podemos subir la calefacción.If you're cold, we can turn up the central heating.
b. to raise (voice, tone)
¿Puedes subir la voz, por favor? No te oigo.Can you raise your voice, please? I can't hear you.
4. (to raise up)
a. to lift
Tira de la cuerda para subir la caja.Pull up on the rope to lift the box.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
5. (to ascend)
a. to go up (moving away)
¿Por qué no subes a ver a Alex en su habitación?Why don't you go up and see Alex in his room?
b. to come up (moving closer)
¿Subes o te quedas viendo la televisión?Are you coming up or are you watching TV a little longer?
6. (to board)
a. to get on (a bus, a plane, a train)
Si no subes al autobús ahora lo perderás.If you don't get on the shuttle now, you'll miss it.
b. to get in (a car)
Sube al coche y conduce.Get in the car and drive.
7. (to increase)
a. to go up
Todavía llueve, pero han subido las temperaturas.It's still raining, but temperatures have gone up.
b. to rise
El precio del barril de petróleo subió cinco céntimos el mes pasado.The price of a barrel of oil rose five cents last month.
subirse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
8. (to get conceited)
a. to go to somebody's head
Que no se te suban esos halagos a la cabeza.Don't let that flattery go to your head.
9. (to get drunk)
a. to go to somebody's head
La cerveza se me subió muy rápido.The beer went to my head pretty fast.
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