Quick answer
"Dificultar" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to hinder", and "impedir" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to prevent". Learn more about the difference between "dificultar" and "impedir" below.
dificultar(
dee
-
fee
-
kool
-
tahr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to complicate)
a. to hinder
La presencia de osos polares en la zona dificultó el desarrollo de nuestra investigación en el Ártico.The presence of polar bears in the area hindered the progress of our research in the Arctic.
b. to hamper
El mal tiempo dificultó nuestra subida a la cima.Our climb to the summit was hampered by bad weather.
c. to make difficult
Los imprevistos dificultaron el trabajo de investigación que yo llevaba a cabo.The unforeseen events made the research work I was doing difficult.
d. stand in the way of
La falta de fondos dificulta el progreso de los avances tecnológicos en el país.The lack of funds stands in the way of the country's progress in technological advances.
2. (to impede)
a. to obstruct
Las ramas caídas dificultaban el acceso a la propiedad.The fallen branches obstructed the access to the property.
3. (to limit)
a. to restrict
Las faldas de tubo ajustadas dificultan el movimiento al caminar.Tight pencil skirts restrict movement when you walk.
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impedir(
eem
-
peh
-
deerr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to keep from happening)
a. to prevent
El gorila impide que entre cualquiera al bar.The bouncer prevents just anyone from entering the bar.
b. to stop
La tapa impide que se derrame el líquido.The top stops the liquid from spilling.
2. (to make difficult)
a. to hinder
Django tenía los dedos anular y meñique paralizados, pero esto no le impidió tocar la guitarra.Django's ring and little fingers were paralyzed, but it didn't hinder his ability to play the guitar.
3. (to obstruct)
a. to block
Esa maleta gigante en el pasillo está impidiendo el paso.That giant suitcase in the hallway is blocking the way.
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