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Quick answer
"Escurrir" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to drain", and "colar" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to strain". Learn more about the difference between "escurrir" and "colar" below.
escurrir(
ehs
-
koo
-
rreer
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to remove liquid)
a. to drain
Después de escurrir la pasta ponle agua fría.After draining the pasta, rinse it with cold water.
b. to strain
Escurre las verduras cuando estén cocidas.Strain the vegetables when they are cooked.
c. to wring
Escurrí las playeras antes de colgarlas a secar.I wrung the shirts before hanging them to dry.
d. to wring out
La lavadora escurre la ropa al final del ciclo.The washing machine wrings out the clothes at the end of the cycle.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
2. (to lose liquid)
a. to drip
El lavabo de la cocina escurre incesantementeThe kitchen's sink drips incessantly.
b. to drain
Dejé tu suéter de lana a escurrir porque es demasiado delicado para meterlo en la secadora.I left your wool sweater out to drain, because it's too delicate to put in the dryer.
escurrirse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
3. (to lose liquid)
a. to drip
Se está escurriendo el agua de esa llave.Water is dripping from that faucet.
b. to drip-dry
¡Va a llover! Mete a la casa la ropa que está escurriéndose afuera en el tendedero.It's about to rain! Get the clothes that are drip-drying on the clothesline inside the house.
4. (to glide)
a. to slip
El vaso de vidrio se me escurrió de las manos, cayó al suelo y se rompió.The glass slipped through my fingers and smashed against the floor.
b. to slide
Se me escurrió la alianza del dedo y no puedo encontrarla.My wedding ring slid off my finger and I can't find it.
5. (to escape)
a. to slip away
Desafortunadamente, el ladrón se le escurrió a la policía.Unfortunately, the thief slipped away from the police.
6. (to say more)
a. to slip out
Se me escurrió un comentario hiriente e inmediatamente me arrepentí.A hurtful comment slipped out and I immediately regretted it.
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colar(
koh
-
lahr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to drain)
a. to strain
Cuela el caldo de pollo hasta que no le quede ningún residuo de verduras.Strain the chicken stock until there is no vegetable residue in it.
b. to filter
Prefiero moler y colar mi propio café que usar el instantáneo.I prefer to grind and filter my own coffee than to use instant.
2. (to pass off as genuine)
a. to pass
Alguien le coló un billete de cien dólares falso al cajero de la tienda.Somebody passed a fake hundred-dollar bill to the store cashier.
3. (to pretend)
a. to make up
Mi amigo nos coló el cuento de que se había ganado la lotería.My friend made up a story that he had won the lottery.
4. (to whiten)
a. to bleach
Se manchó tu camisa blanca. La voy a poner a colar.Your white shirt is stained. I'm going to bleach it.
5. (metallurgy)
a. to cast
Es preferible colar solamente aluminio nuevo para producir sartenes de alta calidad.It is preferable to cast only new aluminum in order to produce high-quality frying pans.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
6.
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
(to be believed)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Dile a tu mamá que vienes a estudiar, a ver si cuela y te deja salir.Tell your mom you're coming over to study; she may swallow it and let you go out.
Mejor invéntate otra cosa; yo creo que tu historia no va a colar.You'd better come up with something else; I think your story won't wash.
colarse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
7.
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
(to enter furtively)
a. to sneak in
Nos colamos por la puerta de atrás y vimos la película sin pagar.We sneaked in through the back door and watched the movie without paying.
b. to crash
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
La fiesta iba muy bien hasta que unos tipos desconocidos se colaron.The party was going well until some random guys crashed it.
c. to slip in
Llegué tarde a casa, pero me colé por la ventana y mis papás nunca se enteraron.I got home very late, but I slipped in through a window and my parents never found out.
8. (to move forward in a line)
a. to cut in line
Regionalism used in the United States
(United States)
¡Llevo horas haciendo fila y llega él y se cuela!I have been in line for hours, and he just gets here and cuts in line!
b. to jump the queue (United Kingdom)
Hay mucha gente antes que nosotros, ¿nos colamos?There are too many people in front of us; shall we jump the queue?
9. (to fall in love)
Regionalism used in Spain
(Spain)
a. to fall for somebody
¡Es tan guapo! Me colé por él nada más conocerlo.He is so handsome! I fell for him when we first met.
10.
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
(to make a mistake)
Regionalism used in Spain
(Spain)
a. to get wrong
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
No estudié y me colé en una sección entera del examen.I didn't study and got an entire section of the test wrong.
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