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Quick answer
"Explicar" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to explain", and "permitir" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to allow". Learn more about the difference between "explicar" and "permitir" below.
explicar(
ehks
-
plee
-
kahr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to give an explanation)
a. to explain
¿Me puede explicar cómo funciona?Could you explain to me how it works?
2. (to give instruction)
a. to teach
La profesora explicó la primera lección del libro en clase.The teacher taught the first lesson of the book in class.
b. to lecture in
El profesor explicó la teoría de la relatividad.The teacher lectured in the theory of relativity.
explicarse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
3. (to give an explanation)
a. to explain oneself
¿Qué quiere decir con eso? Explíquese.What do you mean by that? Explain yourself.
4. (to make out)
a. to understand
No se explican cómo los ladrones pudieron entrar al banco.They can't understand how the thieves broke into the bank.
5. (to express)
a. to make oneself understood
Nadie está siguiendo mis instrucciones; no he conseguido explicarme.Nobody is following my instructions; I failed to make myself understood.
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permitir(
pehr
-
mee
-
teer
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to authorize)
a. to allow
Los perros no se permiten en el restaurante.Dogs are not allowed in the restaurant.
b. to let
Mis padres no me permiten salir hasta tarde.My parents don't let me go out late.
c. to permit
A los empleados despedidos no se les permite acceso al edificio.Fired employees are not permitted access to the building.
2. (used in questions or suggestions)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
¿Me permite pasar?Can I come in?
Si me permite, señora, creo que puedo arreglar la puerta.If I may, ma'am, I think I can fix the door.
3. (to make possible)
a. to allow
Esta maquinaria nos permite tener una producción mayor.This machinery allows us to increase our production.
permitirse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
4. (to grant)
a. to allow oneself
Me permito saltarme la dieta una vez por semana.I allow myself to skip my diet once a week.
5. (to have enough money for)
a. to afford
No puedo permitirme viajar más de una vez al año.I can't afford to travel more than once a year.
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