Quick answer
"Obey" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "obedecer", and "serve" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "servir". Learn more about the difference between "obey" and "serve" below.
obey(
o
-
bey
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to follow)
a. obedecer
If you refuse to obey the rules, you will be kicked out.Si te niegas a obedecer las reglas, serás expulsado.
b. seguir (instructions or ideas)
Obey your thoughts and ideas, and you'll be truly free.Sigue tus pensamientos y tus ideas, y serás verdaderamente libre.
c. reponder a (controls)
Be careful, the drone obeys any touch on the controller, and you may crash it.Cuidado, el dron responde a cualquier movimiento del mando y lo puedes estrellar.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
2. (to follow)
a. obedecer
They obey out of fear, not because they are loyal.Obedecen por miedo, no porque sean leales.
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serve(
suhrv
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to give out)
a. servir
They serve dinner at six in the hotel.Sirven la cena a las seis en el hotel.
What time will we serve dinner?¿A qué hora vamos a servir la cena?
2. (to work for)
a. servir a
He has served his country since he enrolled in the army when he was 19 years old.Ha servido a su patria desde que se alistó en el ejército con 19 años.
3. (to be useful to)
a. servir
Her bedroom also serves her as an office.Su dormitorio le sirve también de oficina.
4. (to complete)
a. cumplir (a prison sentence)
The scammer will serve a couple of years in prison before he can get probation.El estafador cumplirá un par de años en la cárcel antes de obtener la libertad condicional.
b. hacer (one's apprenticeship)
His father was a carpenter, so he served his apprenticeship in his father's studio.Su padre era carpintero, así que él hizo su aprendizaje en el taller de su padre.
5. (to help a customer)
a. atender
Can you answer the phone, please? I'm serving a customer at the moment.¿Puedes contestar la llamada, por favor? Estoy atendiendo a un cliente ahora mismo.
6. (to be enough food for)
a. ser para
This recipe serves five people.Esta receta es para cinco personas.
7. (tennis)
a. servir
He served the ball at 120 miles an hour.Sirvió la pelota a 120 millas por hora.
b. sacar
It was her turn to serve the ball.Le tocaba a ella sacar la pelota.
8. (legal)
a. entregar a
I was caught cheating on my wife with another woman, so she served me with divorce papers the next day.Me pillaron engañando a mi esposa con otra mujer, así que ella me entregó los papeles del divorcio al día siguiente.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
9. (to carry out duty)
a. servir
He went to prison because he refused to serve in the army.Lo encarcelaron porque se negó a servir en el ejército.
10. (to help customers)
a. atender
No one seemed to be serving, so I left the shop.Parecía que no había nadie atendiendo, así que me marché de la tienda.
11. (to be useful)
a. servir
I only have colored paper, but that will probably serve for what I need to print.Solo tengo papel de colores, pero creo que servirá para lo que necesito imprimir.
12. (tennis)
a. servir
In tennis, serving doesn't need to be much harder for left-handed players.En tenis, servir no tiene por qué ser mucho más complicado para jugadores zurdos.
b. sacar
I'm not used to serving on clay courts.No estoy acostumbrado a sacar en pistas de tierra batida.
A noun is a word referring to a person, animal, place, thing, feeling or idea (e.g. man, dog, house).
13. (tennis)
a. el servicio
(m) means that a noun is masculine. Spanish nouns have a gender, which is either feminine (like la mujer or la luna) or masculine (like el hombre or el sol).
The serve of a tennis player is his biggest weapon.El servicio de un jugador de tenis es su arma más poderosa.
b. la saque
(f) means that a noun is feminine. Spanish nouns have a gender, which is either feminine (like la mujer or la luna) or masculine (like el hombre or el sol).
She has a very strong serve.Su saque es muy fuerte.
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