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Quick answer
"Despedirse" is a pronominal verb which is often translated as "to say goodbye", and "saludarse" is a reciprocal verb which is often translated as "to greet one another". Learn more about the difference between "despedirse" and "saludarse" below.
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
1. (to see off)
a. to say goodbye
Se despidió de sus amigos antes de mudarse a Perú.He said goodbye to his friends before moving to Perú.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
2. (to see off)
a. to say goodbye
Despidió a su amiga para irse a clase.She said goodbye to her friend to head to class.
3. (to be dismissed from a job)
a. to fire
Despidieron al empleado acusado de acoso sexual.They fired the employee accused of sexual harassment.
b. to lay off
Despidieron a miles de trabajadores durante la crisis financiera.Thousands of employees were laid off during the financial crisis.
4. (to emit)
a. to give off
El hedor que despedía era como el de una tumba.The stench he gave off was like that of a tomb.
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A reciprocal verb is a verb that indicates that two or more subjects perform an action on each other (e.g. Ellos se abrazan.).
1. (to exchange greetings)
a. to greet one another
Se saludan cada mañana al llegar a trabajar. They greet one another every morning when they get to work.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
2. (to acknowledge)
a. to say hello to
La saludé en la tienda.I said hello to her at the store.
b. to say hi to
Te vi en el centro comercial ayer pero no me saludaste.I saw you in the mall yesterday but you didn't say hi to me.
c. to greet
La maestra saluda a los estudiantes en la puerta.The teacher greets her students at the door.
3. (military)
a. to salute
El teniente saludó al comandante.The lieutenant saluted the major.
4. (to gesture)
a. to wave to
La princesa saludó al pueblo desde su coche.The princess waved to the people from her car.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
5. (to gesture)
a. to wave
El presidente saludó antes de comenzar su discurso.The president waved before beginning his speech.
6. (to exchange greetings)
a. to say hello
Siempre saluda.He always says hello.
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