Quick answer
"Desgarrar" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to tear", and "rasgar" is a transitive verb which is also often translated as "to tear". Learn more about the difference between "desgarrar" and "rasgar" below.
desgarrar(
dehs
-
gah
-
rrahr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to pull apart)
a. to tear
El gato desgarró la cortina de seda al subirla.The cat tore the silk curtain when he climbed up it.
b. to tear apart
Los perros desgarraron el pedazo de carne.The dogs tore apart the piece of meat.
c. to rip
Desgarré el vestido cuando me lo estaba sacando.I ripped my dress when I took it off.
2. (to upset)
a. to break
Me desgarra el corazón verlo sufrir por un amor no correspondido.It breaks my heart to see him suffering because of unrequited love.
3. (to expectorate)
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
a. to cough up
Me resfrié y no paro de desgarrar flema.I caught a cold and I can't stop coughing up phlegm.
desgarrarse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
4. (to be torn apart)
a. to tear
La camisa se desgarró en las costuras, así que fue fácil de arreglar.The shirt tore at the seams, so it was easy to repair.
b. to rip
No tires, la tela se desgarra fácilmente.Don't pull, the fabric rips easily.
5. (to get injured)
a. to tear
Messi se desgarró un ligamento y se perderá el próximo partido.Messi tore a ligament and will miss the next game.
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rasgar(
rrahs
-
gahr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to break)
a. to tear
Ten cuidado de no rasgar el papel.Be careful no to tear the paper.
b. to rip
El clavo me rasgó el pantalón.The nail ripped my pants.
c. to tear up
Rasgó la carta sin contemplaciones.She tore up the letter then and there.
2. (to play)
a. to strum
Compone sus canciones rasgando la guitarra.He writes his songs strumming his guitar.
rasgarse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
3. (to break)
a. to tear
Se me rasgó un poco la piel con la caída.My skin tore a little with the fall.
b. to rip
La tela ya está tan gastada que se rasgó.The fabric is so worn-out that it ripped.
Copyright © Curiosity Media Inc.
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