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Quick answer
"Estar a punto de" is a transitive verb phrase which is often translated as "to be about to", and "o" is a conjunction which is often translated as "or". Learn more about the difference between "estar a punto de" and "o" below.
estar a punto de(
ehs
-
tahr
 
ah
 
poon
-
toh
 
deh
)
A transitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and requires a direct object (e.g. Take out the trash.).
transitive verb phrase
1. (to be very close to)
a. to be about to
Estábamos a punto de pedir unas pizzas. ¿Tú quieres?We were about to order some pizza. Would you like some?
b. to be on the point of
Natalia estaba a punto de decir algo importante cuando sonó el teléfono.Natalia was on the point of saying something important when the telephone rang.
c. to be nearly
Unos cuantos bancos están a punto de quebrar.Quite a few banks are nearly bankrupt.
d. to be almost
La madre no paraba de gritar al niño, que estaba a punto de echarse a llorar.The mother wouldn't stop shouting at the kid, who was almost crying.
e. to be on the verge of
El plan de la empresa no puede fracasar; cientos de personas están a punto de perder sus empleos.The company's plan just cannot fall through; hundreds of people are on the verge of losing their jobs.
f. to be on the brink of
La economía del país andino estaba a punto de caer en una fuerte recesión.The economy of the Andean country was on the brink of falling into a deep recession.
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o(
oh
)
A conjunction is a word that connects words, phrases, clauses, or sentences (e.g. The cat and the dog slept.).
1. (used to give alternatives)
a. or
¿Qué color prefieres, verde o azul?What color do you prefer, green or blue?
2. (used in a correlation; "o" is used before each alternative)
a. either...or
Terminarás tu tarea o por las buenas o por las malas.You're going to finish your homework either the easy way or the hard way.
3. (otherwise)
a. o
Haz lo que te digo o no vamos al parque.Do as I say or we won't go to the park.
4. (in other words)
a. o
La residencia del presidente de los Estados Unidos, o Casa Blanca, fue construida en 1790.The residence of the President of the United States, or the White House, was built in 1790.
A feminine noun is almost always used with feminine articles and adjectives (e.g. la mujer bonita, la luna llena).
5. (letter)
a. o
La o va antes de la p en el abecedario.O comes before p in the alphabet.
An abbreviation is the shortened form of a word or group of words (e.g. "UFO" = "unidentified flying object"; "p." = "page").
abbreviation
6. (West)
a. W
¿Cuáles son las coordenadas? - 28°37'N y 106°5'O.What are the coordinates? - 28°37'N and 106°5'W.
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