Let’s learn the verb Tratar, the Spanish verb for “to try” or “to treat”, including all of its commonly used conjugations. We’ll also get lots of practice using Tratar and Tratarse in real sentence contexts.
Se trata de español.
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Today we’re going to work on the verb Tratar, which roughly means “to treat” or “to try”. This verb is conjugated exactly like Hablar.
Here’s an example where Tratar means “to treat”:
They treat him well.
Lo tratan bien.
So as you can see, in this case, Tratar simply takes a direct object, and then we added an adverb at the end. Try using Tratar to mean “treat” in this next example:
I have two sisters and I treat them well.
Tengo dos hermanas y las trato bien.
When Tratar means “to try”, you’ll always follow it with the preposition de and then an infinitive. For example:
You don’t try to understand this.
No tratas de entender esto.
Try it yourself in this next example:
We try to do those things.
Tratamos de hacer esas cosas.
All right, let’s use a mini-quiz to practice both uses of Tratar. Remember that “treat” will take a direct object, but when the meaning is “try”, you’ll conjugate Tratar and then use de and then an infinitive.
I know they don’t treat her badly.
Sé que ellos no la tratan mal.
Try to do it!
¡Trata de hacerlo!
We always treat you well.
Siempre te tratamos bien.
I will try to talk to him.
Trataré de hablar con él.
We have to try to go with that beautiful woman.
Tenemos que tratar de ir con esa mujer bella.
He’s treating her badly, but I want him to treat her well.
La está tratando mal, pero quiero que la trate bien.
We tried to go because the place was gorgeous and very calm.
Tratamos de ir porque el lugar era hermoso y muy tranquilo.
I’m trying to do it, but I want him also to try.
Trato de hacerlo, pero quiero que él también trate.
I know her and I know she was treating them well.
La conozco y sé que los trataba bien.
I was trying to talk to her, but she just wanted to look at the sky.
Trataba de hablar con ella, pero ella solo quería mirar el cielo.
Why are you trying to talk to him? He doesn’t treat you well.
¿Por qué tratas de hablar con él? Él no te trata bien.
You know her and you know what she has tried to do.
La conoces y sabes lo que ha tratado de hacer.
He tried to take my things and bring them to the countryside.
Trató de tomar mis cosas y llevarlas al campo.
I treated him well that day and now he wants me to treat him well too.
Lo traté bien ese día y ahora quiere que lo trate bien también.
Now before we go on to the final quiz, let’s wrap up by talking about the pronominal version of this verb, Tratarse. When Tratar is used reflexively, it changes meaning completely and turns into something like “to be about”. Check out this example:
This book is about the war.
Este libro se trata de la guerra.
Literally, “this book treats itself of the war”. But Tratarse, plus de, means that a book, or movie, or other form of media, is about something. Try it yourself with a few examples:
That story has not been about that.
Esa historia no se ha tratado de eso.
I think the new book is going to be about the war.
Creo que el libro nuevo va a tratarse de la guerra.
Are you going to bring the book that is about family?
¿Vas a llevar el libro que se trata de la familia?
Those stories are very cute and they are about three friends.
Esas historias son muy lindas y se tratan de tres amigos.
For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/161. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.
I try to do it only when you try to do it.
Trato de hacerlo solo cuando tú tratas de hacerlo.
I tried to be funny(m), but I won’t try to do it anymore.
Traté de ser gracioso, pero ya no trataré de hacerlo.
I want him to try to see the new office.
Quiero que trate de ver la nueva oficina.
He tries to see the bathroom and the bedroom, but he has to wait for them.
Trata de ver el baño y la habitación, pero tiene que esperarlos.
It’s strange that he’s not trying to talk to her.
Es extraño que no trate de hablar con ella.
He’s not perfect, he always takes what I leave on the table.
No es perfecto, siempre toma lo que dejo en la mesa.
The man was very poor, that’s why I was trying to do something for him.
El hombre era muy pobre, por eso yo trataba de hacer algo por él.
It’s a pretty place and she tried to go every day.
Es un lugar bonito y ella trataba de ir todos los días.
We always treat him well, but he didn’t treat us well yesterday.
Siempre lo tratamos bien, pero él no nos trató bien ayer.
Try to talk to her, please. We(f) already tried to do it.
Trata de hablar con ella, por favor. Nosotras ya tratamos de hacerlo.
He always brings that to the house.
Él siempre lleva eso a la casa.
They treat her well and she has tried to go with them.
Ellos la tratan bien y ella ha tratado de ir con ellos.
You’re not trying to listen to me!
¡No estás tratando de escucharme!
The book is about all those ideas that we like.
El libro se trata de todas esas ideas que nos gustan.
We’re going to try to pass by that building.
Vamos a tratar de pasar por ese edificio.
For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/161.
This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Michael Agudelo. 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.