Quick answer
"Occur" is an intransitive verb which is often translated as "ocurrir", and "take place" is an intransitive verb phrase which is often translated as "tener lugar". Learn more about the difference between "occur" and "take place" 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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take place(
tehihk
 
plehihs
)
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
1. (to be set)
a. tener lugar
The interview took place at their New York office.La entrevista tuvo lugar en su oficina de Nueva York.
2. (to happen)
a. ocurrir
We may never know what took place that day.Puede que nunca sepamos qué ocurrió ese día.
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