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Quick answer
"In a nutshell" is a phrase which is often translated as "en pocas palabras", and "sum up" is a transitive verb phrase which is often translated as "resumir". Learn more about the difference between "in a nutshell" and "sum up" below.
in a nutshell
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
1. (general)
a. en pocas palabras
And that was my day, in a nutshell. - What a nightmare!Y ese fue mi día, en pocas palabras. - ¡Qué pesadilla!
b. en una palabra
That's Amy, in a nutshell. She's an old soul.En una palabra, así es Amy. Ella es un alma vieja.
c. en resumidas cuentas
And that, in a nutshell, is why the business failed and I'm selling it.Y eso, en resumidas cuentas, es por que el negocio fracasó y lo voy a vender.
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sum up(
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 summarize)
a. resumir
Valerie summed up in a few words what everyone was thinking.Valerie resumió en pocas palabras lo que todo el mundo pensaba.
b. hacer un resumen de
The teacher asked the students to sum up the plot of the novel.La maestro pidió que los alumnos hicieran un resumen del tramo de la novela.
2. (to form an opinion of)
a. catalogar (a person)
A glance was enough for her to sum him up as someone lacking in initiative.Le bastó una mirada para catalogarlo como alguien sin iniciativa.
b. evaluar (a situation)
Firefighters have to be able to sum up a situation in seconds.Los bomberos deben ser capaces de evaluar una situación en cuestión de segundos.
3. (to capture the essence of)
a. resumir
It could well be said that that song sums up the spirit of the times.Bien podría decirse que esa canción resume el espíritu de la época.
b. resumir la forma de ser de (a person)
That anecdote pretty much sums up my uncle for me.Para mí esa anécdota resume perfectamente la forma de ser de mi tío.
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
4. (to give a summary)
a. resumir
To sum up, we have two options.Resumiendo, tenemos dos opciones.
b. hacer un resumen
Carol, do you want to sum up before we open the floor to questions?Carol, ¿quieres hacer un resumen antes de dejar la sesión abierta a preguntas?
c. recapitular
We'll have a debate on the proposal, Mark will sum up, then we'll take a vote.Se debatirá la propuesta, Mark recapitulará, luego haremos una votación.
5. (legal)
a. recapitular
In summing up, the judge took account of the defendant's previous good record.Al recapitular, el juez hizo mención de los buenos antecedentes del acusado.
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