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Quick answer
"Despertar" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to wake up", and "abrir" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to open". Learn more about the difference between "despertar" and "abrir" below.
despertar(
dehs
-
pehr
-
tahr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to awake from sleep)
a. to wake up
La policía vino y despertó a todo el edificio.The police came and woke up the whole building.
2. (to stimulate)
a. to arouse
Por donde quiera que vaya despierta simpatías.Wherever he goes he arouses sympathy.
3. (to conjure)
a. to awaken
Los olores despertaron viejos recuerdos de la infancia.The smells awakened old childhood memories.
A masculine noun is used with masculine articles and adjectives (e.g. el hombre guapo, el sol amarillo).
4. (start)
a. awakening
Con el despertar de la naturaleza en primavera, florecen muchas flores hermosas.With the awakening of nature in spring, many beautiful flowers bloom.
despertarse
A reflexive verb is a verb that indicates that the subject performs an action on itself (e.g. Miguel se lava.).
5. (to awake from sleep)
a. to wake up
Siempre me despierto a las seis de la mañana.I always wake up at six in the morning.
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abrir(
ah
-
breer
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to allow access through)
a. to open
Llamé a la puerta pero nadie vino a abrirla.I knocked at the door, but nobody came to open it.
2. (to unwrap)
a. to open
No había manera de abrir el envoltorio.There was no way that I could open the packaging.
3. (to uncover)
a. to open
Ten cuidado al abrir la botella que se había sacudido.Be careful opening the bottle; it has been shaken up.
4. (to extend)
a. to open
Agarra el pájaro de manera que no pueda abrir sus alas.Hold the bird so that it can't open its wings.
5. (to draw back)
a. to open
Abre las cortinas que entre la luz del sol.Open the curtains and let the sunshine in.
6. (to access)
a. to open
Abre el diccionario y busca tu palabra favorita.Open the dictionary and look up your favorite word.
7. (to clear)
a. to open
Abrieron camino en la nieve desde la entrada de su cabaña.They opened a way through the snow from the door of their cabin.
8. (to lead)
a. to open
El presidente abrió el debate con un breve discurso.The president opened the debate with a brief speech.
9. (to make eager for eating)
a. to whet
Los olores de la cocina le abrieron el apetito.The cooking smells whetted his appetite.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
10. (to set up)
a. to open
El museo abre a las 11 de la mañana los domingos.The museum opens at 11 in the morning on Sundays.
abrirse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
11. (to share one's feelings)
a. to open up
¿Por qué es tan difícil conseguir que se abra?Why is it so hard to get him to open up?
12. (to be receptive)
a. to be open
Me abro a sugerencias.I'm open to suggestions.
13. (to break open)
a. to crack
El hielo se abrió bajo nuestro peso.The ice cracked under our weight.
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