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Quick answer
"Improve" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "mejorar", and "detract" is an intransitive verb which is often translated as "quitar méritos a". Learn more about the difference between "improve" and "detract" below.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to make better)
a. mejorar
Our main objective is to improve working conditions.Nuestro objetivo primordial es el de mejorar las condiciones de trabajo.
b. hacer mejoras en (real estate)
If we want to increase the rent, we'll have to improve the house.Si queremos subir el alquiler, tendremos que hacer mejoras en la casa.
2. (to increase)
a. aumentar
They plan to improve the company's productivity by introducing new technology.Tienen proyectado aumentar la productividad de la empresa introduciendo nueva tecnología.
3. (to better oneself)
a. superarse
She does everything she can to improve herself.Hace lo imposible por superarse.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
4. (to get better)
a. mejorar
As you gain more experience driving, you will improve.Mejorarás a medida que adquieras mayor experiencia conduciendo.
5. (to increase)
a. aumentar
For the crop production to improve, we'd need a much better irrigation system.Para aumentar el rendimiento de los cultivos, necesitaríamos un sistema de regadío mucho mejor.
6. (to get better after an illness)
a. mejorar
Her condition has improved, but it's too soon to talk about total recovery.Su estado ha mejorado, pero es demasiado pronto para hablar de una recuperación total.
b. mejorarse
Let's hope he improves soon.Esperemos que se mejore pronto.
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An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
1. (to diminish the value; used with "from")
a. quitar méritos a
All of these unnecessary visual elements detract from the simplicity of the design.Todos estos elementos visuales innecesarios le quitan méritos a la simplicidad del diseño.
b. quitar valor a
I don't want to detract from his achievements, but he only got that job because of nepotism.No quiero quitarle valor a sus logros, pero solo consiguió ese puesto por nepotismo.
c. restar valor a
Keep your calm, because some people feel that your tone detracts from your argument.Mantén la calma, porque algunas personas creen que el tono que usas le resta valor a tu argumentación.
d. desmerecer
The editor's errors detracted from the author's high-quality writing.Los errores del editor desmerecieron la calidad de la escritura del autor.
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