A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
transitive verb
1. (to communicate)
a. contar
You mustn't tell anyone what I'm about to tell you.No debes contarle a nadie lo que estoy a punto de contarte.
b. decir
Do you swear to tell the truth?¿Jura decir la verdad?
2. (to discern)
a. distinguir
I cannot tell the twins apart.No sé distinguir a los gemelos entre sí.
3. (to know)
a. saber
You can tell by the look in her eyes that she loves you.Puedes saber por su mirada que te quiere.
4. (to count)
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
The nun tells her rosary beads every evening.Todas las noches, la monja reza el rosario.
There were a hundred guests all told.Había cien invitados en total.
5. (to be ordered)
a. ordenar
The soldier was told to watch the prisoner.Al soldado le ordenaron vigilar al prisionero.
b. mandar
You were told to clean your room.Te mandaron que limpiaras la habitación.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
intransitive verb
6. (to divulge)
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
I won't tell Mom on you if you do me a favor.No me chivaré de ti a mamá si me haces un favor.
The agent asked her if she saw anything, but she was not willing to tell.El agente le preguntó si había visto algo, pero ella no lo quería decir.
7. (to be revealing)
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Age tells when running a marathon.La edad pesa cuando corres un maratón.
Every answer tells in a job interview.Cada respuesta cuenta en una entrevista de trabajo.
8. (to know)
a. saber
How can I tell if she loves me?¿Cómo puedo saber si me quiere?
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A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
transitive verb
1. (say)
a. decir
2. (story, joke, secret)
a. contar
to tell somebody something, to tell something to somebodycontarle algo a alguien
to tell the truth/a liedecir la verdad/una mentira
to tell you the truth…a decir verdad…
can you tell me the way to the station?¿me puede decir cómo se va a la estación?
we are told that…se dice que…
I told you so!¡te lo dije!
you're telling me!¡a mí me lo vas a contar!
let me tell you, I was frightened!te confieso que estaba asustado
to tell the timeindicar or dar la hora
to tell somebody the timedecir la hora a alguien
his expression told us the answerla expresión de su cara nos reveló la respuesta
3. (discern; attitude, mood)
a. ver, saber
we couldn't tell if he was angry or notno se sabía si estaba enfadado, enojado o no
you can tell she's lived abroadse nota que ha vivido en el extranjero
there's no telling what she'll do nextno hay manera de saber qué hará a continuación
4. (distinguish)
a. distinguir
to tell two people/things apartdistinguir entre dos personas/cosas
to tell right from wrongdistinguir lo que está bien de lo que está mal
I can't tell the differencene veo la diferencia
5. (order)
to tell somebody to do somethingmandar a alguien hacer algo, decir a alguien que haga algo
do as you are told!¡haz lo que te dicen or mandan!
I'm not asking you, I'm telling you!no es una petición or
she wouldn't be toldno hacía caso de lo que le decían
6. (politics)
a. escrutar (count)
all tolden total
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
intransitive verb
7. (say)
please don't tell!¡no te chives!
that would be telling!¡eso sería contar demasiado!
8. (discern)
it's difficult or hard to telles difícil de saber
it's too early to telles demasiado pronto para saberlo
you never can tellnunca se sabe
9. (have effect)
a. hacerse notar
tell [tel] told (past)
transitive verb
1 [+story, experiences] contar; [+truth] decir; [+secret] contar; divulgar (formal); (formally) comunicar; informar
to tell sb sth decir algo a algn; to tell sb whether/how/why etc decir a algn si/cómo/por qué etc; to tell sb that ... decir a algn que ...; I have been told that ... me han dicho que ...; se me ha dicho que ... (formal); I am pleased to tell you that ... me complace comunicarle que ...; me es grato comunicarle que ...; I tell you it isn't! ¡te digo que no!; let me tell you, I didn't enjoy it si te digo la verdad, no me gustó nada; there were three, I tell you, three había tres, ¿me oyes?, tres; I tell myself it can't be true digo para mí que no puede ser verdad
I told him about the missing money le dije lo del dinero que faltaba; le informé acerca del dinero que faltaba (formal)
tell me all about it cuéntame todo; I'll tell you all about it te (lo) diré todo
tell me another! ¡cuéntaselo a tu abuela! (informal)
he's no saint, I can tell you! ¡no es ningún santo, te lo aseguro!
so much happened that I can't begin to tell you pasaron tantas cosas no sé por dónde empezar a contarte
I cannot tell you how pleased I am no encuentro palabras para expresarle lo contento que estoy
I could tell you a thing or two about him hay cosas de él que yo me sé
don't tell me you can't do it! ¡no me vayas a decir or no me digas que no lo puedes hacer!
to tell sb's fortunetell sb the future decir a algn la buenaventura
to tell a lie mentir
you're telling me! ¡a quién se lo cuentas!; ¡a mí no me lo vas a contar!
I told you so! ¡ya lo decía yo!
didn't I tell you so? ¿no te lo dije ya?
(I) tell you what, let's go now sabes qué, vámonos ya
I tell you what! ¡se me ocurre una idea!
2 (order)
to tell sb to do sth decir a algn que haga algo; mandar a algn a hacer algo
do as you are told! ¡haz lo que te digo!
he won't be told no acepta consejos de nadie; no quiere hacer caso de nadie
I told you not to te dije que no lo hicieras
3 (indicate) [+sign, dial, clock] indicar
to tell sb sth indicar algo a algn; there was a sign telling us which way to go una señal nos indicaba el camino; the clock tells the quarter hours el reloj da los cuartos de hora
4 (distinguish) distinguir
I couldn't tell them apart no sabía distinguirlos
to tell the difference between A and B distinguir entre A y B
I can't tell the difference no veo la diferencia
to tell right from wrong distinguir el bien del mal
5 (know, be certain) saber
you can tell he's a German se (le) nota que es alemán
you can tell a horse's age by its teeth la edad de un caballo se sabe por los dientes; how can I tell what she will do? ¿cómo voy a saber lo que ella hará?; you can't tell much from his letter su carta nos dice bien poco
I couldn't tell how it was done no sabía cómo se hizo
there is no telling what he will do es imposible saber qué va a hacer
6 (count)
to tell one's beads rezar el rosario; 400 all told 400 en total
intransitive verb
1 (speak)
to tell (of) hablar de; the ruins told of a sad history las ruinas hablaban de una triste historia
"did you love her?" — "more than words can tell" —¿la amabas? —más de lo que pueda expresar con palabras
it hurt more than words can tell dolió una barbaridad; dolió lo indecible
I hear tell that ... dicen que ...
I hear tell of a disaster he oído que ha ocurrido una catástrofe; I have never heard tell of it no he oído nunca hablar de eso
2 (sneak, tell secrets)
please don't tell! ¡no vayas contándolo or soplándolo (informal) por ahí!; he told on me to my parents se chivó de mí a mis padres (informal); (Esp) that would be telling! ¡es un secreto!
3 (know, be certain) saber
how can I tell? ¿cómo lo voy a saber?; ¿yo qué sé?; I can't tell (me) es imposible saberlo; no le puedo decir; no sabría decirle
we cannot tell
who can tell? ¿quién sabe?; there is no telling no se puede saber; you never can tell nunca se sabe
4 (have an effect)
every blow told cada golpe tuvo su efecto; stamina tells in the long run a la larga importa or vale más la resistencia; blood will tell la sangre cuenta
to tell against sb obrar en contra de algn
the strain is beginning to tell on him la tensión está empezando a afectarle
Collins Complete Spanish Electronic Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers 2011
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