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Darse cuenta

The verb dar is very flexible and is used in conjunction with many other words to form idiomatic expressions both figurative and literal.

The phrase darse cuenta is used to mean to realize.

Pedro se dió cuenta que se le olividó su tarea. (Peter realized that he forgot his homework).

The word realizar does not mean to realize. It is a false friend. Realizar means to bring to pass, as in “Bill realized his life long dreams”.

When we were learning this phrase, darse cuenta, I did not realize that it would be so commonly used.

  • 1

    That is a word that could be used more in English also. Keep up the good work.

    ekpeach on August 31st, 2007
  • 2

    a colloquialism: “darse con un canto en los dientes” like in this phrase:
    Si consigues esto te puedes dar con un canto en los dientes
    If you get this, you can be satisfied


    luthien on September 2nd, 2007
  • 3

    Thank you luthien.

    “Si consigues esto…” I am surprised and pleased to find that you use that phrase in such a way. I would have translated “if you get this” to “si entiendes esto.” It is nice to know that there is at least one more strange idiomatic expression that is used in both languages.

    David on September 6th, 2007
  • 4

    I am a spanish-language student for the past few months. I came across your interesting blog just a few days ago and have been reading all the entries.

    Regarding ‘darse cuenta’, I was told by my teacher (and I noticed in the examples in the dictionary) that ‘darse cuenta’ is always followed by ‘de’. So your example should read ‘Pedro se dió cuenta de que…’. Do you agree?

    Kabir on October 23rd, 2007
  • 5

    Kabir, thank you for your comment. It seems you are right. The examples I have found all follow with a ‘de.’

    I appreciate your input. Be sure to let me know if you see anything else that might be odd. It has been a few years since I was in a Spanish class room. I get my greatest help when people point out my errors. Without that, I can’t improve.

    David on October 24th, 2007
  • 6

    […] same source or not, they mean the same thing. It is false friends which we need to be aware of and realize they are there to trip us […]

    False Friends / False Cognates on February 10th, 2011


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