Quick answer
"Despertar" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to wake up", and "provocar" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to cause". Learn more about the difference between "despertar" and "provocar" below.
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.
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
Despiértame antes de irte.Wake me up before you go.
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A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to originate)
a. to cause
La huelga de pilotos provocará el caos en los aeropuertos.The pilots' strike will cause havoc in the airports.
b. to start
Los bomberos están investigando para averiguar quién provocó el incendio. The firefighters are investigating to find out who started the fire.
c. to bring about
El político promete que provocará el cambio que quiere el pueblo. The politician promises that he will bring about the change that people want.
d. to spark off
El encuentro de culturas suele provocar inovación. The meeting of cultures often sparks off innovation.
2. (to incite)
a. to provoke
El discurso del dictador provocó que el pueblo se rebelara.The dictator's speech provoked the people to rebel.
b. to invite
Su libro nuevo provocó las críticas de la izquierda y de la derecha.Her new book invited criticism from the left and the right.
c. to tempt
El general intentó provocar al otro ejército para que atacara primero.The general tried to tempt the other army to attack first.
3. (medicine)
a. to induce
Ya has salido de cuentas. Hay que provocar el parto.We have passed the delivery date. We need to induce labor.
b. to bring on
Si te automedicas, puedes provocar complicaciones usando el medicamento incorrecto.If you self medicate, you can bring on complications by using the wrong medication.
4. (to arouse)
a. to rouse
Steve intentó provocar el interés de María con su perfume nuevo. Steve tried to rouse Maria's interest with his new cologne.
b. to lead on
La provocó diciéndole que estaba planeando dejar a su esposa.He led her on by telling her he was planning on leaving his wife.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
5. (to feel like)
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Me provocan unas palomitas cuando voy al cine. I feel like having some popcorn when I go to the movies.
¿Te provoca algo de comer?Would you like something to eat?
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