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Spanish Verbs That Translate 'To Take'

If you don't know a foreign language very well, translating from your native language to the other language using a dictionary can be challenging and fraught with the risk that you will make a serious mistake. That is because there is seldom a one-to-one correspondence between words in different languages, except sometimes where one language has borrowed from another or where certain technical terms are used.

For this reason, it normally isn't a good idea to learn, for example, that one word in English "means" a certain word in Spanish. This is especially true with terms such as "to take," the focus of this lesson, which can be translated to Spanish in a variety of ways, depending on how it is used. Instead, your focus in learning should be based on meaning, not word-for-word translation. The verb in the phrase "to take a walk" doesn't have the same meaning at all as the verb in the phrase "to take pity on," even though they're represented by the same word in English. So it shouldn't be surprising that the verbs used in Spanish are different.

Here, then, are some common uses (certainly not all!) of the verb "to take" in English along with possible translations to Spanish. Of course, the Spanish verbs listed aren't the only ones available, and the choice you make will often depend on the context in which it is used.

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English phrase English synonyms or meaning Possible translations Sample sentence
to take to get possession of tomar Tomó el libro y fue a la biblioteca . He took the book and went to the library. 
to take to transport (something) and give possession to someone else llevar Le llevo el libro a Susana. I'm taking the book to Susana. 
to take to transport (a person)  llevar Llevó a Susana al aeropuerto. She took Susana to the airport.
to take to remove, to pick coger Cogieron las manzanas del árbol. The took the apples off the tree.
to take to snatch (from someone) arrebatar ¿Te arrebató el sombrero? Did he take your hat? 
to take to steal robar, quitar A Susana le robaron mucho dinero. They took a lot of money from Susana.
to take to accept  aceptar  ¿Aceptan los cheques? Do they take checks?
to take to subscribe to (a newspaper or magazine) suscribirse, abonarse Me suscribo al Wall Street Journal. I take the Wall Street Journal.
to take to hold  coger  Déjeme que le coja el sombrero. Let me take your hat. 
to take to travel by coger, tomar, ir en Tomaré el autobus. I will take the bus.
to take to require necesitar, requerir, llevar Necesita mucho coraje. It takes a lot of courage.
to take to require or wear (a certain size or type of clothing)  calzar  (said of shoes), usar (said of clothing) Calzo los de tamaño 12. I take size 12 shoes.
to take to last, to use time durar No durará mucho. It won't take long.
to take to study estudiar Estudio la sicología. I'm taking psychology.
to take a bath (shower) to bathe (shower) bañarse (ducharse) No me baño los lunes. I don't take bathe on Mondays.
to take a break, to take a rest to suspend activity in order to rest tomarse un descanso Vamos a tomarnos un descanso a las dos. We're going to take a break at 2.
to take after to chase, to go after perseguir El policía persiguió el ladrón. The policeman took after the thief.
to take after to resemble parecerse María se parace a su madre. María takes after he mother.
to take apart to disassemble desmontar Desmontó el carro. She took the car apart.
to take away, to take from, to take off to remove quitar Les quitaron los sombreros. They took their hats off.
to take away, to take off to subtract sustraer, restar Va a sustraer dos euros de la cuenta. He is going to take two euros off the bill.
to take back to return devolver No le he devuelto el coche. I haven't taken back the car to him.
to take cover to hide esconderse, ocultrse Se escondió de la policía. He hid from the police.
to take down to dismantle desmontar Desmontaron la valla publicitaria. They took the billboard down.
to take down, to take notes to write down anotar, escribir, tomar apuntes Quiero que lo anote. I want you to take it down.
to take (someone) for to believe (someone) to be tomar por Ud. no me tomaría por un chef. You wouldn't take me for a chef.
to take in to deceive engañar Me engañé por el farsante. I was taken in by liar.
to take in to understand comprender No pudo comprenderlo. He couldn't take it in.
to take in to include incluir, abarcar El parque incluye dos lagos. The park takes in two lakes.
to take in to provide lodging for acoger My madre acoge a muchos gatos. My mother takes in many cats.
to take off to go away irse Se fue como un múrcielago. He took off like a bat.
to take on to accept or assume (responsibilities) aceptar, asumir No puedo aceptar la responsibilidad. I can't accept the responsibility.
to take on to employ emplear, coger Empleamos dos trabajadores. We took on wo workers.
to take one's word for it to believe creer No voy a creerte. I'm not going to take your word for it.
to take out to remove sacar El dentista me sacó dos muelas. The dentist took out two of my teeth.
to take over to assume operations absorber, adquirir, apoderarse El gobierno se apoderó el ferrocarril. The government took over the railroad.
to take a picture tomar una foto, hacer una foto Tomé tres fotos. I took three pictures.
to take pity on to pity, to have pity on compadecerse de Me compadecé los pobres. I took pity on the poor people.
to take prisoner capturar, tomar priso El policía le capturó el ladrón. The policeman took the thief prisoner.
to take up to begin dedicarse a Se dedicó a nadar. She took up swimming.
to take a walk to go for a walk dar un paseo Voy a dar un paseo. I'm going to go for a walk.

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