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Quick answer
"Quicken" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "acelerar", and "speed up" is an intransitive verb phrase which is also often translated as "acelerar". Learn more about the difference between "quicken" and "speed up" below.
quicken
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to make more rapid)
a. acelerar
Come on, guys! Quicken your pace or we won't make it!¡Vamos, chicos! Aceleren el paso o no llegaremos a tiempo.
b. agilizar
Is there any way to quicken the procedure? This will take ages!¿Hay alguna manera de agilizar el procedimiento? ¡Esto va a llevar muchísimo tiempo!
c. apresurar
He looked around and quickened his step.Miró alrededor y apresuró la marcha.
2. (to cause to be enlivened)
a. estimular
These images will quicken your imagination.Estas imágenes estimularán su imaginación.
b. despertar
Sometimes, it is not easy to quicken a child's interest in some abstract subjects.A veces, no es fácil despertar el interés de un niño en algunos temas abstractos.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
3. (to become faster)
a. acelerarse
When she heard his voice, her pulse quickened.Cuando oyó su voz, el pulso se le aceleró.
4. (to become enlivened)
a. estimularse
His imagination quickened at the idea of traveling around the world.Su imaginación se estimulaba con la idea de viajar alrededor del mundo.
b. acrecentarse
The children were happy, and when they heard we were going to visit the lighthouse, their enthusiasm quickened.Los niños estaban contentos, y cuando se enteraron de que íbamos a visitar el faro, su entusiasmo se acrecentó.
c. despertarse
His interest in the project quickened when I told him who would be on board.Se le despertó el interés en el proyecto cuando le dije quiénes participarían.
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speed up
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 move faster)
a. acelerar (vehicle)
Every time I tried to pass him, the car in front sped up.El auto que tenía delante aceleraba cada vez que intentaba adelantarlo.
b. acelerarse (process)
Warm weather causes plant growth to speed up.Cuando hace calor, el crecimiento de las plantas se acelera.
c. darse prisa (person)
If you don't speed up, we'll never get there in time.Si no te das prisa, es imposible que lleguemos a tiempo.
d. apresurarse (person)
I speeded up when I realized I didn't have enough time to finish the exam.Me apresuré al darme cuenta de que no iba a tener tiempo de acabar el examen.
e. apurarse (person)
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
I wish the people in front would speed up. I hate dawdling along.¿Por qué no se apurarán los de adelante? Odio ir tan despacio.
f. apretar el paso (person on foot)
The man sped up when he realized I was following him.El hombre apretó el paso al darse cuenta de que yo lo seguía.
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
2. (to cause to move faster)
a. acelerar (process)
The government wants to speed up the implementation of the new law.El gobierno quiere acelerar la implementación de la nueva ley.
b. meter prisa a (a person or an animal)
I tried to speed the cows up by prodding them with a stick.Intenté meter prisa a las vacas dándoles con un palo.
c. apresurar (a person or an animal)
Richard won't be sped up. He likes to do things at his own pace.Richard no se deja apresurar. Le gusta hacer las cosas a su ritmo.
d. apurar (a person or an animal)
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
The builders are taking too long over this job. Is there any way we can speed them up?Los albañiles están tardando mucho en terminar el trabajo. ¿Hay alguna manera de apurarlos?
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