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Quick answer
"Esperanzas" is a form of "esperanzar", a transitive verb which is often translated as "to give hope to". "Expectativa" is a noun which is often translated as "expectation". Learn more about the difference between "esperanzas" and "expectativa" below.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to cause to be hopeful)
a. to give hope to
La doctora no esperanzó al paciente porque algo podría salir mal.The doctor didn't get her patient's hopes up because it was possible something could go wrong.
El hecho de que un señor de 70 años pueda escalar el Everest debería esperanzar a todos los mayores de 60 años.The fact that a 70-year-old man can climb Everest should give hope to all over-60s.
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
2. (to become hopeful)
a. to be encouraged
Los resultados de investigaciones recientes nos llevan a esperanzarnos. Puede haber una cura para esta afección.We are encouraged by the results of recent research. A cure for this condition may be possible.
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A feminine noun is almost always used with feminine articles and adjectives (e.g. la mujer bonita, la luna llena).
1. (aspiration)
a. expectation
La expectativa es que me den el trabajo para irme a vivir con mi novio.The expectation is that I'll get the job and then move in with my boyfriend.
b. hope
María tiene pocas expectativas de aprobar el examen sin haber estudiado.Maria has little hope of passing the exam without having studied.
2. (likelihood)
a. prospect
El doctor dijo que la expectativa de que se produzca una pronta mejoría es alta.The doctor said that the prospect of a speedy recovery was high.
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