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Quick answer
"Encender" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to turn on", and "incendiar" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to set fire to". Learn more about the difference between "encender" and "incendiar" below.
encender(
ehn
-
sehn
-
dehr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to activate)
a. to turn on
Lo primero que hace cada mañana es encender la televisión.The first thing he does every morning is turn on the television.
b. to switch on
Creo que es hora de encender el aire acondicionado.I think it's time to switch on the air conditioning.
2. (to illuminate)
a. to light
Ella encendió una vela para que pudiera ver dónde caminaba.She lit a candle so that she could see where she was walking.
b. to ignite
Una vez que enciendas la llama, añade leña para aumentar el fuego.Once you ignite the flame, add kindling to build the fire.
encenderse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
3. (to ignite)
a. to turn on
Las luces se encienden cuando sienten movimiento en el cuarto. The lights turn on when they sense movement in the room.
b. to light
Se encienden las linternas antes de cada servicio. The lamps are lit before every service.
A reflexive verb is a verb that indicates that the subject performs an action on itself (e.g. Miguel se lava.).
4. (to get red)
a. to blush
Mi hermano se encendió cuando ella le dio su número. My brother totally blushed when she gave him her number.
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incendiar(
een
-
sehn
-
dyahr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to set alight)
a. to set fire to
Un pirómano incendió el bosque con gasolina y cerillas.A pyromaniac set fire to the forest with some matches and gasoline.
b. to burn down
La policía ha detenido a los vándalos que incendiaron varios contenedores.The police have arrested the hooligans who burned down some trash cans.
incendiarse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
2. (to start to burn)
a. to catch fire
La alfombra se incendió al caerle encima brasas de la chimenea.The carpet caught fire after the ember from the fireplace fell and hit it.
3. (to burn)
a. to burn down
La casa de madera se incendió tras caerle un rayo.The wood house burned down after it was hit by lightning.
b. to be burned down
Los árboles del bosque se incendiaron y solo quedaron cenizas.The trees from the forest were burned down and only ashes were left.
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