Quick answer
"Occur" is an intransitive verb which is often translated as "ocurrir", and "happen" is an intransitive verb which is often translated as "suceder". Learn more about the difference between "occur" and "happen" below.
occur(
uh
-
kuhr
)
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
1. (to happen)
a. ocurrir
Emergencies don't occur every day.Las emergencias no ocurren todos los días.
b. suceder
Something amazing occurred today.Hoy sucedió algo increíble.
c. producirse
At that moment a change occured in social attitudes.En ese momento se produjo un cambio en las actitudes sociales.
d. tener lugar
The incident occured early in the game.El incidente tuvo lugar al principio del partido.
2. (to be found)
a. darse
This phenomenon occurs mainly in China.Este fenómeno se da principalmente en China.
b. encontrarse
This species occurs naturally in Australia.Esta especie se encuentra de forma natural en Australia.
3. (to come to mind)
a. ocurrirse
It never occurred to me to quit my job.Nunca se me ocurrió dejar el trabajo.
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happen(
hah
-
pihn
)
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
1. (to take place)
a. suceder
Everything happened too fast. Todo sucedió demasiado rápido.
b. ocurrir
I can't believe what just happened.No puedo creer lo que acaba de ocurrir.
c. pasar
Everything bad happens to me!¡Todo lo malo me pasa a mí!
2. (to occur by chance)
a. de casualidad (adverb)
If you happen to come by the office, we could get a coffee.Si de casualidad te pasas por la oficina, podemos tomar un café.
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