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Quick answer
"Unen" is a form of "unir", a transitive verb which is often translated as "to join". "En" is a preposition which is often translated as "in". Learn more about the difference between "en" and "unen" 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 put together)
a. to join
Unió los cables para que alcanzaran hasta el escenario.She joined the cables so they reached the stage.
b. to unite
Las mismas creencias nos unen a todos en mi iglesia.The same beliefs unite everyone at my church.
c. to bind
Los lazos que nos unen como familia son muy fuertes.The ties that bind us as a family are very strong.
2. (to link to a place)
a. to connect
Ahora tenemos el sistema de ferrocarril que nos une a la ciudad.Now we have the railway system that connects us to the city.
3. (to associate)
a. to combine
Su poema une el ritmo yámbico con un juego de palabras inteligente.Her poem combines iambic rhythm with clever wordplay.
4. (culinary)
a. to mix
Une la leche con los huevos y los otros ingredientes con un batidor.Mix the milk with the eggs and the other ingredients with a whisk.
5. (to bring together)
a. to unite
Es el único que puede unir al pueblo.He's the only one who can unite the people.
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
6. (to cooperate)
a. to join together
Las dos tribus se unieron para luchar contra su enemigo común.The two tribes joined together to fight against their common enemy.
b. to come together
Si no nos unimos, nunca podremos solucionar los problemas de nuestra comunidad.If we don't come together, we'll never be able to solve the problems of our community.
c. to unite
Cuando se unieron los campesinos, por fin consiguieron derrocar al rey.When the peasants united, they finally managed to overthrow the king.
7. (to become a member)
a. to join
Me he unido a un club de lectura porque me cuesta un poco motivarme a leer.I've joined a book club because I have a little bit of a hard time motivating myself to read.
8. (to converge)
a. to meet
Los dos caminos se unen en la falda de la montaña.The two roads meet at the foot of the mountain.
9. (to combine)
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Ese tipo es un trabajador fantástico. En él se unen la confianza y la habilidad.That guy's a fantastic worker. He's the epitome of confidence and skill.
La comida maravillosa del restaurante se une a la decoración modernista lujosa.The restaurant's fantastic food is complemented by their luxurious modernist decor.
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