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Quick answer
"Ubicar" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to locate", and "colocar" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to place". Learn more about the difference between "ubicar" and "colocar" below.
ubicar(
oo
-
bee
-
kahr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to situate)
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
a. to locate
Los dueños decidieron ubicar el hotel cerca del aeropuerto.The owners decided to locate the hotel near the airport.
b. to put
Quiero ubicar la mesa junto a la ventana para tener una linda vista.I want to put the table next to the garden for a nice view.
c. to place
Los músicos ubicaron los altavoces muy cerca del escenario.The musicians placed the speakers very near the stage.
2. (to find)
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
a. to locate
El empleado de la tienda me ayudó a ubicar la sección de los productos lácteos.The store clerk helped me locate the dairy section.
b. to find
¿Ya ubicaste la casa de Martín?Did you find Martin's house yet?
c. to get hold of (person)
¿Ya pudiste ubicar a Juan Carlos?Were you able to get hold of Juan Carlos?
3. (to identify)
a. to place
¿Raúl? No lo ubico. - ¡Lo acabas de conocer!Raul? I can't place him. - You just met him!
ubicarse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
4. (to situate)
a. to be located
El pozo se ubica a un kilómetro al oeste.The well is located one kilometer to the west.
b. to be situated
El palacio de justicia se ubica entre la catedral y el hotel.The court house is situated between the cathedral and the hotel.
c. to stand
Carla se ubicó frente al grupo para hablarles de su plan de acción.Carla stood in front of the group to tell them about his plan of action.
d. to sit
Nos ubicamos en las primeras filas para poder ver mejor.We sat near the front so we could have a better view.
5. (to orient oneself)
a. to find one's way around
Es fácil ubicarse en la ciudad de Salt Lake, debido a su sistema de numeración de calles.It's easy to find your way around in Salt Lake City, due to its street numbering system.
b. to get one's bearings
El explorador salió del túnel para ubicarse.The explorer came out of the tunnel to get his bearings.
6. (to get employment)
a. to get a job
Gracias a los seis meses que hizo de prácticas, el estudiante consiguió ubicarse en la compañía.Thanks to a six-month internship, the student managed to get a job in the company.
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colocar(
koh
-
loh
-
kahr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to arrange)
a. to place
El mesero colocó los vasos sobre la mesa.The waiter placed the glasses on the table.
b. to put
Coloca estos libros en aquel estante.Put these books on that shelf.
c. to lay
Vamos a colocar una alfombra en la sala.We're going to lay a carpet in the living room.
d. to put up
Cuando mi perro se perdió coloqué carteles en todas partes.When my dog got lost, I put up signs everywhere.
e. to hang
¿Por qué no colocamos el cuadro de Van Gogh en la pared del comedor?Why don't we hang the Van Gogh painting on the dining room wall?
f. to position
Claudia colocó todos sus muñecos sobre la cama.Claudia positioned all her dolls on the bed.
g. to plant (bomb)
La policía atrapó a un joven que intentaba colocar una bomba en un carro.The police caught a young man who was trying to plant a bomb in a car.
2. (finance)
a. to place
Mark decidió colocar una fuerte suma de dinero en bienes raíces.Mark decided to place a large amount of money in real estate.
b. to invest
Si su perfil de riesgo es conservador, coloque su dinero en un fondo mutuo de renta fija.If your risk profile is conservative, invest your money in a fixed-income mutual fund.
3. (to find employment for)
a. to place
¿Cómo hizo Marta para colocar a su sobrino en la empresa de Luis?How did Marta manage to place her nephew at Luis's company?
b. to find a job for
Guillermo colocó a su hijo en el gobierno.Guillermo found a job for his son in the government.
c. to get a job for
Alonso colocó a su primo como chofer de Uber.Alonso got a job for his cousin as an Uber driver.
4.
A word or phrase that is seldom used in contemporary language and is recognized as being from another decade, (e.g. cat, groovy).
(old-fashioned)
(to find a spouse for)
a. to marry off
Mi vecino ya colocó a su hija mayor pero le quedan tres más.My neighbor already married off his eldest daughter, but he's got three more left.
5. (to land with)
a. to palm off on
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
Mis compañeros de equipo querían colocarme la responsabilidad de lo que salió mal.My teammates wanted to palm off the responsibility of what went wrong on me.
6. (commerce)
a. to place
La empresa espera colocar este producto en el mercado internacional el año entrante.The company is hoping to place this product on the international market next year.
7.
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
(to intoxicate)
a. to get high
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
Esta pastilla te colocará, amigo.This pill will get you high, buddy.
colocarse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
8. (to take a place)
a. to stand
Nos colocamos cerca de la salida para poder irnos rápido.We stood near the exit so we could leave quickly.
b. to sit
Llegamos temprano al teatro y nos colocamos en nuestros asientos.We arrived at the theater early and sat in our seats.
9. (to get a position)
a. to get a job
Fernando está tratando de colocarse como médico en el hospital general.Fernando is trying to get a job as a doctor at the general hospital.
10. (to apply)
a. to put on
¿Me enseñas a colocarme las pestañas postizas?Can you show me how to put on fake eyelashes?
11.
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
(to get drunk)
a. to get plastered
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
Todos nos colocamos en la fiesta de Alicia.All of us got plastered at Alicia's party.
12.
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
(to get stoned)
a. to get high
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
Amy y Tina se están comportando raro. - No me extraña. Se colocaron antes de la clase.Amy and Tina are acting weird. - That doesn't surprise me. They got high before class.
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