Pasar means ‘to happen.’ For example:

‘¿Qué ha pasado con los libros?’ – what happened to the books? (note the use of ‘con’).

If you add an indirect object to the sentence (pasarle) ‘what happened?’ turns into ‘what’s the matter?’


‘No llores, ¿qué te pasa?’ – Don’t cry, what’s the matter?

‘¿Qué les pasa? ¿Por qué no me hablan?’ – what’s the matter with them, why aren’t they speaking to me?

Other meanings include:


To spend time

Pasar also means ‘to spend or pass time.’ For example,

‘Ella ha pasado mucho tiempo con el proyecto’ – she has spent a lot of time on the project.


Have a good or bad time

‘Pasar un buen/mal rato’ means to have a good or bad time.


Don’t worry

Expressed with the very common phrase, ‘No pasa nada’. It can be also used to express that you decide to not do something:

‘Pasa de ir a trabajar’ – He has decided to not go to work.


To go over to another side

Finally the reflexive ‘pasarse’ means to change or ‘to go over to another side’ for example:

‘Se pasó al bando del oponente’ – He went over to the opponent’s side.

‘Pasarse’ can also mean ‘to go too far’, both when talking about distance or about somebody acting in a wrong way giving the situation:

‘Nos pasamos la salida correcta’ – We went pass the correct exit.

In this case there’s the phrase ‘pasar de largo’, which means to go pass something without stopping’.

‘Se ha pasado diciéndole que era su culpa’ – She went too far saying her it was her fault.


To forget

‘Pasarse’ can be used as a mean to express you ‘forgot to do something’.

‘Se me ha pasado ir a comprar’ – I forgot to go shopping


To say food was over-cooked

‘Se me ha pasado’ – I overcooked

‘el arroz’ – the rice

‘la pasta’ –  the pasta

‘las patatas’ – the potatoes

It usually is applied exclusively when the food is boiled.



This irregular verb is probably one of the first verbs you learnt. It means ‘to want’ or ‘to love’. To distinguish between the two meanings ‘want’ is followed by the indefinite article (un, una, unos, unas) and ‘love’ the personal ‘a’. For example:

‘Quiero ir a caminar ’ (I want to go for a walk) or ‘Quiere a su familia mucho’ (he loves his family a lot).

It also has several other meanings. These are:

 To mean

‘Querer decir’ also means ‘to mean’ as in to find the right words to express yourself. ‘Significar’ would not be the correct choice here as it is used to explain the meaning of a word or a piece of data, not what you want to say. For example:

‘Quiero decir que ser vegetariano es buena idea’– I mean that I think being a vegetarian is a good idea.

‘Quiere decir que hará el informe’ – he means that he’ll do the report.

An accident

‘Sin querer’ is also a common way to say ‘by accident.’ For example, ‘lo siento, he pisado las gafas sin querer’ (I’m sorry,I stepped on the sunglasses accidentally).

To express something happened on purpose you can also say ‘queriendo.’ For example, ‘Juan hizo eso queriendo para molestarte’ – Juan did that on purpose to annoy you.



Sacar means to take out. For example, ‘Ya he sacado la basura hoy’ – I have already taken out the rubbish today.

However, it also has many other meanings the majority of which would be expressed with ‘to get’ in English. These include:

To get a mark

School marks or grades are expressed with ‘sacar’. For example:

‘‘Mis hijos no han sacado buenas notas en los exámenes’’ – my children haven’t got good marks in their exams.

To get or have an idea

For example:

‘¿ De dónde sacas esas ideas?’ – where do you get these ideas from?

‘¿Sacaste el número de invitados?’ – did you get the number of guests?

To stick out

This meaning applies when the subject of the phrase is doing the action by their own free will. For example:

‘Sacar la lengua’ – to stick out your tongue

To draw a conclusion

For example:

‘¿Qué conclusion se puede sacar de todo esto?’ – what conclusion can be drawn from this?

To take somebody to dance

For example:

‘¿Vas a sacarme a bailar?’ – Are you going to take me out dancing?

To take care of somebody or something in a difficult situation

For example:

‘Sacaré adelate a mi hermano aunque mis padres hayan muerto’ – I will take care of my brother even if my parents died.

For detailed explanations on all Spanish grammar, including verb tenses, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, participles and the subjunctive, translation lists and a comprehensive ‘How do you say?’ section covering phrases to use in all types of conversations, buy our 5-star rated book, Spanish for Geniuses: Grammar and vocabulary to get you speaking with fluency and confidence. 


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