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How do you say TAKE in Spanish?

Mar 14, 2013

Lately, all my students learning Spanish have been asking the same question. How do you say “take” in Spanish?In English, “take” has tens of meanings. Double that if it’s followed by a preposition (on, in, off, up…).

So I asked my students to make a list of ten sentences with “take” that they want to learn in Spanish. This way, I was able to narrow down the uses of “take” to three main ones.

  • Take as in “grab” or “catch”
  • Take as in “carry something” or “accompany somebody” somewhere
  • Take as in “use as much time as needed” to do something.

So how do you use it in Spanish?

1. Take as in “grab” or “catch” = COGER

This is probably the most widely used meaning of “take”. You can coger una manzana (take an apple), coger un taxi, un autobus (take a cab, a bus), coger una chaqueta (take a jacket), coger mi mano (take my hand), coger un número (take a number),coger un frisbee (no need to translate this one ;-).

2. Take as in “carry something” or “accompany somebody” = LLEVAR

If you want to take your daughter to her dance class you can say: Te llevo a la academia de baile (I’ll take you to the dance school).

If you have to take your dress to the laundry you can say: tengo que llevar mi vestido a la lavandería.

As my young students would say, Easy breezy lemon squeeze!

3. Take as in “use time” = TARDAR

"Take time" is actually an expression in English, as you can’t really *take* time. I decided to include this meaning, though, as it was the third most popular question.

If you want to say that it takes an hour from Malaga to Marbella you can say: tarda una hora de Málaga a Marbella.

There’s a twist, though.

While in English you say “IT takes HER an hour to get dressed” to specify that SHE needs an hour to get ready, in Spanish you use ella (she) in the first position:

Ella tarda una hora en vestirse (literally: she takes an hour to get dressed).

And, of course, you also have to change the verb accordingly.

Yo tardo 5 minutos en maquillarme (It takes ME 5 minutes to do my make-up).

Tu tardas 4 horas en hacer los deberes (It takes YOU 4 hours to do your homework).

4. Other highly requested uses of “take”.

  • Take a picture = Sacar una foto
  • Take a nap = Echar/dormir una siesta (very useful if you visit Spain)
  • Take a look = Echar un vistazo (good when you're shopping)
  • Take a holiday = Tomarse vacaciones (always good!)
  • Take a job = Aceptar un trabajo
  • Take a trip = Ir de viaje

Tell me what you think

Did you like it? Do you agree or disagree? I'd love to hear from you.

The blog

I write mainly about Montessori, parenthood, and multilingualism. Here are some recent posts.

Montessori
One day a few years ago my husband came home and said, "Why don't we put a mattress on the floor in the baby room? It'd be much more natural". "Never" was my reply. That's how our Montessori journey started. Since then we've been living, breathing and applying the philosophy at home day in and day out, starting from ourselves. Because educating children starts from the parents.
Bean and seed mosaic
I'm not perfect. I'm aware
DIY yoga cards for kids
Children at the restaurant: let's recalibrate expectations
Don't ask your children to share their toys
Those "good job" that erode our children's confidence
Our Montessori birthday
Two alternatives to screens that my kids love
Using fear and threats to control children is never right!
"Stop crying!" doesn't work
Living sustainably
Living sustainably for me doesn’t only mean to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It means to make decisions that are sustainable for our planet, the people on it, but also for our life, our lifestyle, and our happiness. It means to take any daily chance to evolve and be happier, healthier, kinder, more responsible and more caring human beings—the only sustainable way for a meaningful future.
Face yoga is an act of self love
Why you should wear the same outfit twice on Instagram
The power of creating habits (and why you should do it, even if you then break them!)
Responsible eating is the diet of the future (Would you like to teach it to your kids?)
The power of NOT complaining: can you do it for a whole month?
Clean up your planet, please!
Infographic: 8 steps to switch to cloth nappies (a guide for reluctant parents)
A personal note on happiness
A personal note on social media
A change of life always widens your horizons
New to La Tela?
I’ve prepared collections on various topics that I’ve written over the years. Perhaps you’ll find one that interests you.

Travel

We sold everything to travel the world for two years. We're currently in New Zealand.

Books

In 2020 I wrote 4 books for the Italian collection “Gioca and Impara con il metodo Montessori” curated by Grazia Honegger Fresco. The collection is a project by Il Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport.

We also implemented the workshops of the last 15 volumes of the collection with Oliver and Emily.

Podcast

On my podcast, “Educare con calma”, I talk about various topics, from Montessori to sustainability. Only in Italian!

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Why La Tela di Carlotta?
I dreamed of the name La Tela di Carlotta. One morning I woke up and in my dreams I had created a blog named just like the American novel (Charlotte's Web). Many years and endless ups and downs later, this web of thoughts and stories is my work. It took me a long time to understand what kind of online presence I wanted and today I know: I'm transparent, I show real life, I don't advertise, I only recommend sustainable brands (and not only because they pay me) and I believe in the value of my blog and my courses—because if we don't believe in the value of our work, no one will believe in it for us.
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