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Quick answer
"Equilibrar" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to balance", and "mantener el equilibrio" is an intransitive verb phrase which is often translated as "to keep one's balance". Learn more about the difference between "equilibrar" and "mantener el equilibrio" below.
equilibrar(
eh
-
kee
-
lee
-
brahr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to reach equilibrium)
a. to balance
Para equilibrar la balanza los dos platillos deben sostener el mismo peso.In order to balance the weighing scale, the two plates must bear the same weight.
2. (to recover)
a. to restore
En la clase de economía aprendimos de qué formas se puede equilibrar la balanza de pagos de un país.In my economics class we learned how to restore a country's payment balance.
equilibrarse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
3. (to reach equilibrium)
a. to balance oneself
El yoga me ayudó a equilibrarme emocionalmente tras todos los cambios que viví el año pasado.Yoga helped me to balance myself emotionally after all the changes I went through last year.
4. (to be equal)
a. to be in balance
Cuando el salario de hombres y mujeres se equilibre, seremos una sociedad más igualitaria.When the salary of both men and women are in balance we will be a more equal society.
5. (to neutralize)
a. to counterbalance
El sabor amargo de la mezcla se equilibra agregando azúcar.The sugar will counterbalance the sour flavor of the mix.
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mantener el equilibrio(
mahn
-
teh
-
nehr
 
ehl
 
eh
-
kee
-
lee
-
bryoh
)
An intransitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and does not require a direct object (e.g. Everybody please stand up.).
intransitive verb phrase
1. (not to fall)
a. to keep one's balance
No era fácil mantener el equilibrio en cubierta en mitad de la tormenta.It was hard to keep one's balance on deck in the middle of the storm.
b. to maintain one's balance
A los niños muy pequeños les cuesta mantener el equilibrio.Toddlers find it hard to maintain their balance.
2. (to find a middle ground)
a. to strike a balance
Es importante mantener el equilibrio entre oferta y demanda.It's important to strike a balance between supply and demand.
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