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Quick answer
"Desgarrar" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to tear", and "romper" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to break". Learn more about the difference between "desgarrar" and "romper" 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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romper(
rrohm
-
pehr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to smash)
a. to break
Rompió el vaso por accidente.He broke the glass by accident.
2. (to destroy through use)
a. to wear out
Ella ha roto la pila de su teléfono por usarlo día y noche.She has worn out the battery on her phone by using it day and night.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
3. (to dissolve)
a. to break
Las olas rompieron contra el casco de nuestro barco.The waves broke against the hull of our ship.
4. (to start)
a. to break out
Cuando el hombre cayó muerto, la multitud rompió a gritar.When the man dropped dead, the crowd started screaming.
5. (to put an end to a relationship)
a. to break up
Felipe y Sol rompieron después de tres años de noviazgo.Felipe and Sol broke up after going out for three years.
romperse
A reflexive verb is a verb that indicates that the subject performs an action on itself (e.g. Miguel se lava.).
6. (to injure)
a. to break
En su primer partido, el futbolista se rompió la pierna.In his first game, the soccer player broke his leg.
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
7. (to smash)
a. to break
El vaso se rompió en pedazos.The glass broke into pieces.
8. (to stop functioning)
a. to break
Creo que la radio se rompió porque solo oigo interferencias.I think the radio is broken because all I hear is this buzzing.
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