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Quick answer
"Escuchar" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to listen to", and "hablar" is an intransitive verb which is often translated as "to speak". Learn more about the difference between "escuchar" and "hablar" below.
escuchar(
ehs
-
koo
-
chahr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to pay attention to)
a. to listen to
Escucha al profesor siempre que te dé instrucciones.Always listen to the teacher when you are given instructions.
Ella suele escuchar jazz de camino al trabajo.She usually listens to jazz on her way to work.
2. (to discern)
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
a. to hear
Hola, ¿me escuchas?Hello, can you hear me?
3. (to heed)
a. to listen to
¿Me escucharás si te digo que no desesperes?Will you listen to me if I tell you not to panic?
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
4. (to pay attention)
a. to listen
Nunca escucha.He never listens.
escucharse
A reflexive verb is a verb that indicates that the subject performs an action on itself (e.g. Miguel se lava.).
5. (to hear)
a. to listen to oneself
A veces me escucho y no sé lo que digo.Sometimes I listen to myself and I don't know what I'm saying.
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hablar(
ah
-
blahr
)
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
1. (to articulate words)
a. to speak
Los bebés comienzan a hablar a los 18 meses.Babies start speaking at around 18 months.
b. to talk
Escucho a alguien hablando, pero no sé de dónde viene.I can hear someone talking, but I don't know where's it coming from.
2. (to converse)
a. to talk
¿Necesitas a alguien con quien hablar?Do you need someone to talk to?
b. to speak
¿Podemos hablar en privado?Can we speak in private?
3. (to give a speech)
a. to speak
Habló un buen rato de las reformas que había propuesto el gobierno.He spoke at length about the reforms the government had proposed.
4. (to speak on the phone)
a. to call
Buenas tardes, ¿se encuentra la Sra. Martínez? - ¿Quién habla?Good afternoon, may I speak with Mrs. Martinez? - Who is calling?
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
5. (to be able to communicate in)
a. to speak
Hablo cinco idiomas y leo diez.I speak five languages and can read ten.
6. (to deal with)
a. to discuss
Eso se lo tienes que hablar directamente al principal.You need to discuss that directly with the principal.
b. to say
¿Verdaderamente no tienes nada de qué hablarme?You really don't have anything to say to me?
7. (to call)
Regionalism used in Mexico
(Mexico)
a. to phone
Ahora que tienes su número, ¿le vas a hablar?Now that you have her number, are you going to phone her?
An impersonal verb is a verb with no apparent subject (e.g. Llueve en España.).
8. (to have a conversation)
a. to speak
No se habla de otra cosa.We speak about nothing else.
hablarse
A reciprocal verb is a verb that indicates that two or more subjects perform an action on each other (e.g. Ellos se abrazan.).
9. (to have a conversation)
a. to speak to each other
Se hablan de mala manera.They speak to each other rudely.
b. to be on speaking terms
Los primos no se hablan después de la pelea sobre la herencia.The cousins aren't on speaking terms after the fight over the inheritance.
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