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A punto vs. Apunto

Do you know how to use a punto as opposed to apunto? Do you know the meaning of the expression "estar a punto de"? Let's start this lesson with a little quiz. Which term would you use in the following sentences, a punto or apunto?:

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Te ______ en la lista de pacientes.

I'll write you down on the patient list.

 

What about this one?:

En 1985, Colombia estuvo ______ de conseguir la paz.

In 1985, Colombia was about to achieve peace.

 

Let's review the meaning of a punto and apunto.

 

The meaning of a punto

A punto is an adverbial phrase that can be used in the following two ways:

 

1. To indicate that something is ready for the end it has been prepared for.

2. As a synonym of "timely" or "on time". 

 

Here's one example:

 

¿Esto lo hago hasta que quede a punto de nieve? -Has'... Ah, no, eh... -Claro.

Shall I do this until it forms peaks [literally "until it looks like snow"]? -Unt'... Oh, no, um... -Of course.

Caption 9, Ricardo La compañera de casa - Part 3

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A punto de + infinitive

While the adverbial phrase a punto is used fairly often, the most common use of a punto is when it's part of the prepositional phrase a punto de + infinitive verb. In terms of its meaning, we use a punto de + infinitive verb when we want to say that something is or was about to happen. In fact, you can think of a punto de as the English equivalent "about to". Let's look at a couple of examples:

 

La señora pulpo me contó que tenía muchos hijitos a punto de nacer,

Lady octopus told me that she had many children about to be born,

Captions 21-22, Guillermina y Candelario La Señora Pulpo

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Estoy súper emocionada, pues estoy a punto de ingresar a uno de los lugares más emblemáticos

I'm super excited because I'm about to enter one of the most symbolic places

Captions 10-12, Paseando con Karen Barrio Antiguo

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Cuando estaba a punto de huir y regresar a mi casa, hubo un milagro que salvó mi bachillerato.

When I was about to flee and go back home, there was a miracle that saved my high school diploma.

Captions 18-19, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 5

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If you keep in mind the last two sentences, it is worth mentioning that most of the time in Spanish we use the verb estar (to be) before a punto de + infinitive verb. As we mentioned previously, we use this formula for sentences in the past as well as the present.

 

What about the meaning of apunto?

Now that you know how to use a punto and a punto de, we can say that apunto (one word) corresponds to the first person singular of the verb apuntar in the present tense. Apuntar can mean:

 

To point out something

To take notes or write down something

To subscribe to something

 

Let's see an example:

A cogerlos con la mano, me apunto. -Cógelo con las manos.

For taking them with my hand, I'll sign up. -Take it with your hands.

Caption 25, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 17

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So, now that we have revealed the meanings and uses of both a punto and apunto, it's time to see the answers to the quiz we used to introduce this lesson:

 

Te apunto en la lista de pacientes.

I'll write you down on the patient list.

Caption 27, Ariana Cita médica

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En mil novecientos ochenta y cinco, sucedieron muchas cosas buenas. Colombia estuvo a punto de conseguir la paz.

In nineteen eighty-five, many good things happened. Colombia was about to achieve peace.

Captions 2-3, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 2

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And that's it for now. We hope you enjoyed this lesson and don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

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