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Quick answer
"Comía" is a form of "comer", a transitive verb which is often translated as "to eat". "Estaba comiendo" is a phrase which is often translated as "he was eating". Learn more about the difference between "estaba comiendo" and "comía" below.
estaba comiendo(
ehs
-
tah
-
bah
 
koh
-
myehn
-
doh
)
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
phrase
1. (he, she, or it was consuming; third person singular)
a. he was eating
Juan dice que está a régimen, pero, cuando entré en la cocina, estaba comiendo chocolate.Juan says he's on a diet, but when I went into the kitchen, he was eating chocolate.
b. she was eating
Ana tuvo que ir al dentista porque estaba comiendo turrón y se le partió un diente.Ana had to go to the dentist because she was eating nougat and one of her teeth broke.
c. it was eating
¿Has visto al perro? - Sí, estaba comiendo su pienso en la caseta.Have you seen the dog? - Yes, it was eating his dry kibble in the kennel.
d. was eating
Luis estaba comiendo cacahuetes cuando llegué. Luego dirá que no quiere cenar porque no tiene hambre.Luis was eating peanuts when I arrived. He'll then say he doesn't want to have dinner because he isn't hungry.
2.
A word or phrase used to refer to the second person formal “usted” by their conjugation or implied context (e.g. usted).
(formal)
(you were consuming; second person singular)
a. you were eating
¿Dice que tiene el estómago revuelto desde esta mañana? Pues si hace un momento estaba comiendo papas.So, are you saying you've had an upset stomach since this morning? Well, you were eating chips a moment ago.
3. (I was consuming; first person singular)
a. I was eating
Estaba comiendo un bocadillo cuando vino una gaviota y me lo quitó.I was eating a sandwich when a seagull came and took it away.
4. (he or she was having the midday meal; third person singular)
Regionalism used in Mexico
(Mexico)
Regionalism used in Spain
(Spain)
a. he was having lunch
Ayer vi a Ramiro. Estaba comiendo en un restaurante cerca de mi oficina.I saw Ramiro yesterday. He was having lunch in a restaurant near my office.
b. she was having lunch
Cuando llamé a Marga, estaba comiendo en un restaurante del centro.When I called Marga, she was having lunch in a restaurant downtown.
c. was having lunch
La última vez que vio a Pedro, Rosa estaba comiendo con unas amigas en una cafetería y él entró.The last time she saw Pedro, Rosa was having lunch with some friends in a café, and he came in.
5.
A word or phrase used to refer to the second person formal “usted” by their conjugation or implied context (e.g. usted).
(formal)
(you were having the midday meal; second person singular)
Regionalism used in Mexico
(Mexico)
Regionalism used in Spain
(Spain)
a. you were having lunch
Si estaba comiendo, yo puedo volver más tarde.If you were having lunch, I can come back later.
6. (I was having the midday meal; first person singular)
Regionalism used in Mexico
(Mexico)
Regionalism used in Spain
(Spain)
a. I was having lunch
¿Estabas en ese restaurante? - Sí, estaba comiendo allí con unos compañeros de trabajo.Were you in that restaurant? - Yes, I was having lunch there with some colleagues.
7. (he or she was having the evening meal; third person singular)
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
a. he was having dinner
A Óscar le había tocado la lotería y estaba comiendo con su novia en un restaurante de cinco tenedores.Oscar had won the lottery and he was having dinner with his girlfriend at a five-star restaurant.
b. she was having dinner
Llamé a Eva y me dijo que estaba comiendo con unos amigos, y que después irían al cine.I called Eva and she told me she was having dinner with some friends, and that they'd go to the movies afterward.
c. was having dinner
El abuelo estaba comiendo y empezó a sentirse mal, así que se acostó temprano.Grandpa was having dinner when he started feeling unwell, so he had an early night.
8.
A word or phrase used to refer to the second person formal “usted” by their conjugation or implied context (e.g. usted).
(formal)
(you were having the evening meal; second person singular)
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
a. you were having dinner
No hacía falta que viniera enseguida. Si estaba comiendo, debería haber terminado.There was no need for you to come immediately. If you were having dinner, you should have finished.
9. (I was having the evening meal; first person singular)
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
a. I was having dinner
No respondí al teléfono porque estaba comiendo con mi familia.I didn't answer the phone because I was having dinner with my family.
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comer(
koh
-
mehr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to ingest food)
a. to eat
Me gusta comer manzanas.I like to eat apples.
2. (to eat for lunch)
Regionalism used in Mexico
(Mexico)
Regionalism used in Spain
(Spain)
a. to have for lunch
Tengo ganas de comer un sándwich de rosbif.I feel like having a roast beef sandwich for lunch.
3. (to eat for dinner)
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
a. to have for dinner
Vamos a comer espagueti con albóndigas.We're going to have spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.
4. (to make disappear)
a. to hide
Ese sombrero te queda demasiado grande. ¡Te come la cara entera!That hat is too big for you. It hides your entire face!
b. to swallow up
Siento que estas gafas de sol me comen la cara.I feel like these sunglasses swallow up my face.
5. (to consume)
a. to eat up
El pago de la hipoteca de la casa me come la mayoría del sueldo.The mortgage payment on my house eats up most of my paycheck.
6. (chess)
a. to take
Me comieron todos los peones.All my pawns were taken.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
7. (to ingest food)
a. to eat
No quiero comer ahora mismo; no tengo hambre.I don't feel like eating right now. I'm not hungry.
8. (to eat lunch)
Regionalism used in Mexico
(Mexico)
Regionalism used in Spain
(Spain)
a. to have lunch
Comieron rápido porque tenían una reunión a la 1 pm.They had lunch quickly because they had a meeting at 1 pm.
9. (to have a meal in the evening)
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
a. to have dinner
Comimos en un restaurante mexicano nuevo.We had dinner at a new Mexican restaurant.
comerse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
10. (to ingest food)
a. to eat
Ella se comió el pastel entero.She ate the whole cake.
11. (to wear away)
a. to eat away
El óxido se come el metal.Rust eats away metal.
b. to fade
El sol se comió la pintura del carro.The sun faded the paint on the car.
c. to corrode
La lluvia ácida se come las estatuas de bronce.Acid rain corrodes bronze statues.
12. (to use up)
a. to eat up
¡Los impuestos se me comen la mayor parte de mi sueldo!Much of my pay is eaten up by taxes!
b. to blow through
El chico se comió todos sus dulces de Halloween en una noche. The boy blew through all his Halloween candy in one night.
13. (to chew on)
a. to bite
Le pusieron un ungüento para que no siguiera comiéndose las uñas.They put an ointment on his nails so that he wouldn't bite them.
14. (to omit)
a. to miss
Te comiste toda la puntuación.You missed all the punctuation.
b. to swallow
Se comió las palabras cuando estaba hablando con su enamorada.He swallowed his words when he was talking to his crush.
15. (to collide with)
a. to hit
Se comió el techo con la cabeza.He hit his head against the ceiling.
b. to crash into
Nos comimos la puerta del garaje cuando dimos marcha atrás.We crashed into the garage door when we reversed.
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