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Quick answer
"En" is a preposition which is often translated as "in", and "poner" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to put". Learn more about the difference between "en" and "poner" below.
A preposition is a word that indicates the relationship between a noun and another word (e.g. He ran through the door.).
1. (indicating place)
a. in
Hay comida ya preparada en el supermercado.There's ready-made food in the supermarket.
b. on
Puedes poner los cubiertos en la mesa. You can put the silverware on the table.
2. (indicating time)
a. on
En 1969, aterrizamos en la luna.In 1969, we landed on the moon.
3. (indicating mode)
a. in
Si un oso te persigue, corre en zigzag.If a bear is chasing you, run in a zig-zag formation.
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A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to place)
a. to put
¿Dónde pones las llaves?Where do you put the keys?
b. to add
Si pones más peso, se romperá.If you add more weight, it will break.
A phrase used as a figure of speech or a word that is symbolic in meaning; metaphorical (e.g. carrot, bean).
(to cause to be)
a. to put
Su renuncia me pone en una situación difícil.His resignation puts me in a difficult position.
3. (clothing)
a. to put on
Después de bañar a la bebé, hay que ponerle ropa limpia.After giving the baby a bath, you have to put some clean clothes on her.
4. (to install)
a. to put
Es lógico que pongan allí un colegio nuevo.It makes sense to put a new school there.
5. (to ship)
a. to send
El mensaje que le puso era simple.The message he sent her was simple.
6. (to grade)
a. to give
Mi profesor me puso mala nota.My professor gave me a bad grade.
7. (to produce)
a. to lay
Las gallinas ponen un huevo al día.Hens lay one egg a day.
8. (to contribute)
a. to put in
Podemos alquilar ese sitio si todos ponemos algo de dinero.We can rent the place if everybody puts in some cash.
9. (to connect)
a. to put on
Pon la televisión para ver las noticias.Put the television on to watch the news.
b. to turn on
¿Ponemos la calefacción?Shall we turn the heating on?
10. (to name)
a. to call
Si tengo un niño le pondré Manuel, que es el nombre de mi padre.If I have a boy, I'll call him Manuel, which is my father's name.
b. to give
¿Qué nombre le van a poner a la niña? - Todavía no lo sabemos.What name are you going to give your baby? - We don't know yet.
A reflexive verb is a verb that indicates that the subject performs an action on itself (e.g. Miguel se lava.).
11. (to become)
a. to get
No te pongas impaciente conmigo cuando no has hecho nada para ayudar.Don't get impatient with me when you haven't done anything to help.
b. to turn
Se pone blando cuando se cocina.It turns soft when cooked.
12. (clothing)
a. to put on
Ponte los guantes.Put your gloves on.
13. (to place oneself)
a. to move
Ponte un poco más a la derecha.Move a little more to the right.
14. (to go down)
a. to set
El sol se pone y entonces cae la noche.The sun sets and then night falls.
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