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Quick answer
"Desempeñar" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to carry out", and "jugar" is an intransitive verb which is often translated as "to play". Learn more about the difference between "desempeñar" and "jugar" below.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to execute)
a. to carry out
El becario ha desempeñado todas sus tareas de manera eficiente.The intern has carried out all his assignments efficiently.
b. to hold
Actualmente, desempeña un puesto muy importante en la empresa.Currently, she holds a very important position in the company.
2. (to retrieve valuables)
a. to redeem
Si usted no desempeña su premio, lo revenderemos.If you fail to redeem your prize, we will resell it.
3. (theater)
a. to play
Mi primo desempeña el papel de Romeo.My cousin plays the part of Romeo.
A reflexive verb is a verb that indicates that the subject performs an action on itself (e.g. Miguel se lava.).
4. (to perform functions)
a. to work as
Me desempeñé como mesera para pagar la universidad.I worked as a waitress to pay for university.
5. (finances)
a. to get out of debt
Él se desempeñó temprano porque pagó más y más cada mes.He got out of debt early because he paid a little more each month.
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An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
1. (to engage in recreation)
a. to play
Los alumnos pasaron toda la tarde jugando.The students spent the whole afternoon playing.
2. (to participate in a game)
a. to play
¿Alguien quiere jugar al tenis conmigo?Does anybody want to play tennis with me?
Me gusta jugar al bingo por el dinero.I love playing Bingo for money.
3. (to trifle with; used with "con")
a. to play with
No juegues con mi corazón.Don't play with my heart.
4. (games)
a. to move
Le toca jugar a la ficha amarilla.The yellow piece has to move.
5. (to play for money)
a. to gamble
Se pierde todo el sueldo jugando en la tragaperras.He loses his whole salary gambling on slot machines.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
6. (to gamble)
a. to bet
Fue un error jugar todo mi dinero en un solo caballo.It was a mistake to bet all my money on one horse.
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
7. (to put at stake)
a. to bet
Me juego una cena a que volverás.I bet you a dinner that you'll be back.
b. to stake
Me estoy jugando mi carrera por esa creencia.I'm staking my career on that belief.
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