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Quick answer
"Estar nervioso" is an intransitive verb phrase which is often translated as "to be nervous", and "tenso" is an adjective which is often translated as "taut". Learn more about the difference between "estar nervioso" and "tenso" below.
estar nervioso(
ehs
-
tahr
 
nehr
-
byoh
-
soh
)
An intransitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and does not require a direct object (e.g. Everybody please stand up.).
intransitive verb phrase
1. (general)
a. to be nervous
Estoy nervioso porque me juego mucho en el examen de mañana.I'm nervous because there's a lot at stake for me in tomorrow's exam.
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tenso(
tehn
-
soh
)
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
1. (tight)
a. taut
La televisión se desenchufó porque el cable estaba demasiado tenso.The TV came unplugged because the cable was too taut.
2. (stressed)
a. tense
Me pongo muy tenso cada vez que tengo que hablar con mi jefe.I get very tense every time I have to speak with my boss.
3. (relating to muscles)
a. tense
Tu cuello está muy tenso. ¿Quieres que te dé un masaje?Your neck is very tense. Do you want me to give you a massage?
4. (fraught)
a. strained
Mi relación con mi hermana es muy tensa desde que murió mi madre.My relationship with my sister has been very strained since my mother died.
b. tense
A pesar del cese del fuego, la situación en la capital está muy tensa.Although there is a ceasefire, the situation in the capital is very tense.
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