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How to say “get” in Spanish

How do you say “get” in Spanish? Today we’ll explore why there’s no simple translation of “get” from English into Spanish (or any other language!). But we’ll also learn the verb Conseguir, which means “to get” in some contexts, specifically when it means “to acquire”. Practice along out loud!

Full Podcast Episode


Usaré esto como ejemplo.

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today we’re going to learn the Spanish verbs that mean “to use” and “to acquire”. Let’s start with the word for “acquire”, which is Conseguir. This is spelled just like the words con and seguir put together: c-o-n-s-e-g-u-i-r. Conseguir. So for example:

I’m going to acquire a new suit.

Voy a conseguir un traje nuevo.

In modern English, it feels a bit formal to use the word “acquire”; we’re more likely to use the word “get”. So this sentence would be “I’m going to get a new suit”.

But there’s a big challenge with translating the word “get” from English into Spanish. In English, we use the word “get” to mean all kinds of things. For example, when we say “get out”, we’re not asking someone to acquire something; we’re asking them to “leave” or to “exit”.

And actually, this happens almost every time we use the word “get” in English. Usually it’s part of a phrase where it actually means something else. So just for fun, I’m going to present a few phrases that use “get”, and I want you to see if you can find an equivalent verb in English, and also an equivalent verb in Spanish.

Let’s start with “get back”. Here’s a sentence example:

I’ll call you when I get back to the city.

So is there an English verb that you can use to replace “get back”? … So yeah, we can replace this with “return”. And then that can be either Volver or Regresar in Spanish. So here’s a Spanish version of that sentence:

Te llamaré cuando regrese a la ciudad.

All right, the next one uses “get over here”.

I want him to get over here this instant.

…So yeah, we can replace “get over here” with “come”. And in Spanish, this will be Venir. So here’s the Spanish:

Quiero que venga ya mismo.

Now for a tricky one. This uses “get to”.

I get to do it every day.

…So here, we’re talking about privilege or ability. And really, another way to phrase this would simply be “I can” or “I am able to”. The Spanish equivalent is Poder. So here’s “I get to do it every day”:

Lo puedo hacer todos los días.

So as you can see, in English, “get” can be combined with other words to turn into other verbs. “Get out” means “exit” or “leave”, so the Spanish is Irse or Salir. “Get back” means “return”, so the Spanish is Volver or Regresar. “Get over here” is “come here”, so the Spanish is Venir. And “get to” means “can” or “to be able to”, so the Spanish is Poder.

There are actually dozens and dozens of more verbs that can be replaced by a “get” phrase in English. When we say “get up”, the equivalent verb is “arise”, which is its own verb in Spanish. And when we say “get by”, we mean “manage”, which again is its own verb in Spanish. Same with “get better”, which means “improve”, or “get down”, which means “descend”, and many, many more.

So the point is that the verb “get” in English doesn’t have any single equivalent in Spanish. But when we use the word “get” in its most basic sense, specifically to mean “acquire”, the Spanish verb for that is Conseguir. Here’s another example:

I had to get more things before coming.

Tuve que conseguir más cosas antes de venir.

Now let’s start conjugating this verb. The strange thing about this verb is that it’s conjugated exactly like Seguir, just with con at the beginning. Of course, the verb Seguir is a bit irregular, because instead of “sego” we have sigo, and instead of “segue” we have sigue, and so on. But it’s exactly the same with Conseguir. Here are a few examples:

I got a new dog.

Conseguí un nuevo perro.

She gets a new car every three years.

Consigue un auto nuevo cada tres años.

Note that in this example, the sense is that she actively acquires the car, not that she receives the car; there’s a different word for receiving something, such as a gift. Conseguir is more of an active verb. OK, next example:

He got a new house.

Consiguió una casa nueva.

All right, let’s get some quizzing practice with this verb. Remember that it ends just like the verb Seguir.

My cousin can’t get food.

Mi primo no puede conseguir comida.

(Formal) Get something!

¡Consiga algo!

The detective hasn’t gotten anything for the case.

El detective no ha conseguido nada para el caso.

I’m not getting a taxi.

No consigo un taxi.

Did you get what we got?

¿Conseguiste lo que conseguimos?

Get six billion!

¡Consigue seis mil millones!

If you get the game, we can play.

Si consigues el juego, podemos jugar.

He got money working with his friends.

Consiguió dinero trabajando con sus amigos.

I got the movie.

Conseguí la película.

I don’t think she’ll get the car, but she has to get it.

No creo que consiga el auto, pero tiene que conseguirlo.

To wrap up this episode, let’s learn a very simple verb, the verb Usar, which means “to use”. Here’s a simple example:

I want to use it at home.

Quiero usarlo en casa.

This verb is completely regular, conjugated exactly like Hablar. Here are a few examples.

She doesn’t use it much.

No lo usa mucho.

She used it before I used it.

Ella lo usó antes de que yo lo usara.

I use it as a car.

Lo uso como carro.

In that last one, notice that instead of como un carro, we just say como carro. When you use something as something else, you typically don’t put an article before the thing you’re using it as. Try it yourself in this next example:

I’ll use this as an example.

Usaré esto como ejemplo.

Also note that sometimes this will be phrased as usaré esto de ejemplo, where de is replacing como. These are interchangeable, so it’s correct whichever way you translate sentences like this.

Let’s get some quizzing practice with the verb Usar.

You don’t use those things in your role.

No usas esas cosas en tu papel.

I use millions of things every week.

Uso millones de cosas todas las semanas.

I haven’t been using this.

No he estado usando esto.

They use their homework as a game.

Usan la tarea como juego.

He hasn’t used it in years.

No lo ha usado en años.

My brother used to use that phone.

Mi hermano usaba ese teléfono.

You don’t have to use it.

No tienes que usarlo.

He used money to do his job.

Usó dinero para hacer su trabajo.

He doesn’t want me to use his things.

No quiere que yo use sus cosas.

We always use forty-nine thousand dollars.

Siempre usamos cuarenta y nueve dólares.

(Formal) Use a taxi to go to the airport!

¡Use un taxi para ir al aeropuerto!

Use the green one!

¡Usa el verde!

Being honest(f), you don’t have to use it.

Siendo honesta, no tienes que usarlo.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/226. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

I got a new house.

Conseguí una nueva casa.

The owner doesn’t use it.

El dueño no lo usa.

The captain has to use eight million pesos.

El capitán tiene que usar ocho millones de pesos.

Use this to get it.

Usa esto para conseguirlo.

Get five thousand one hundred and forty dollars.

Consigue cinco mil ciento cuarenta dólares.

I always get good things.

Siempre consigo cosas buenas.

They use the things you got.

Usan las cosas que conseguiste.

We always get money in an honest manner.

Siempre conseguimos dinero de una manera honesta.

She doesn’t want me to use her car.

No quiere que use su carro.

I’ve been using this phone for three years.

He estado usando este teléfono por tres años.

I’ll get enough money and when I get it, I’m going to use it.

Conseguiré suficiente dinero y cuando lo consiga, voy a usarlo.

His coworker was there, waiting for the bus.

Su compañero de trabajo estaba ahí, esperando el autobús.

I don’t think he’ll get it, it’s seventy-eight million.

No creo que lo consiga, son setenta y ocho millones.

He hasn’t gotten a flight yet.

No ha conseguido un vuelo aún.

The sergeant talked to one million four hundred and eight soldiers.

El sargento habló con un millón cuatrocientos y ocho soldados.

I want him to use what I used to use.

Quiero que él use lo que yo usaba.

If you use the nine hundred and sixty seven billion, you can get it.

Si usas los novecientos sesenta y siete mil millones, puedes conseguirlo.

Can you get a car like the one he used to use?

¿Puedes conseguir un carro como el que él usaba?

I don’t use that, but we use this.

No uso eso, pero usamos esto.

I’ve used three thousand two hundred and ten dollars.

He usado tres mil doscientos diez dólares.

His friend didn’t get what she wanted.

Su amiga no consiguió lo que quería.

If you get a lawyer, it’ll be better.

Si consigues un abogado, será mejor.

(Formal) Get thousands of dollars for the party! Like two hundred and fifty two thousand dollars.

¡Consiga miles de dólares para la fiesta! Como doscientos cincuenta y dos mil dólares.

He never gets the one(m) that we got.

Nunca consigue el que nosotros conseguimos.

We used that for the traffic during our holidays.

Usamos eso para el tráfico durante nuestras vacaciones.

(Formal) Use my house! You can use it for the wedding.

¡Use mi casa! Puede usarla para la boda.

He didn’t use it.

No lo usó.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/226.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Ximena Lama-Rondón. Our music was performed by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

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