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Llevar: A Verb That Wears Many Outfits

Say you're going to a Christmas party -- that is, una fiesta de Navidad. What are you going to bring? (¿Que vas a llevar?) Well, your host might suggest:


Tráiganos una botella de vino, nada más.
Bring us a bottle of wine, that's all.

And then you might respond:

Bueno. Voy a llevar vino tinto.
Ok. I'll bring red wine.

Did you notice we switched verbs there? Both llevar and traer can mean "to bring," but with a crucial difference in perspective. If you're the one doing the bringing to someone else, you use 'llevar' -which also means "to carry." If you're the one asking someone to bring something to you, you use 'traer.' Got that?

There are many definitions of the common verb 'llevar,which is why we keep returning to it again and again in our weekly missives.

In this week's videos, you'll hear llevar used in a couple of different contexts -- in a song and in a classroom. First, let's look at the heartstring-tugging lyrics sung by Axel Fernando:


Muchas veces me pregunto por qué pasa todo esto,

Many times I wonder why all this happens

por qué tus mil "Te quiero" siempre se los lleva el viento

why your thousand "I love yous" are always carried away by the wind

Captions 1-2, Axel Fernando - ¿Qué estás buscando?

 Play Caption


Here, the reflexive llevarse means "to carry away" or "to take away." The online dictionary site, provides some examples along the same lines:

¡Llévatelo de aquí!
Take it away [from here]!

Se lo llevó la corriente
The current carried it away

Remember: At a restaurant, they might ask you '¿Para llevar?' ("To take out [with you]?"). In our next video -- in Spanish school room -- we get a handy lesson in verb forms to use to offer advice. At the same time, we see our featured verb take on another shade of its meaning. Sit in the back of the classroom and listen:


"Te aconsejo que lleves una chaqueta".

"I recommend that you bring a jacket."

Caption 28, Escuela Don Quijote - En el aula

 Play Caption


Llevaría una chaqueta. -Muy bien. Yo, que tú.

I would bring a jacket. -Very good. If I were you.

Caption 31, Escuela Don Quijote - En el aula

 Play Caption



Note that llevar could also mean "to wear," and that the phrases above could possibly be talking about the "wearing" of a jacket as well. One must distinguish the proper meaning from the greater context.


Bernardo, traeme otra caja de pastillas. ¿Bernardo?

Bernardo, bring me another box of pills. Bernardo?

Caption 57, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poema

 Play Caption


Hazme un favor: Tráeme mi chaqueta.
Do me a favor: Bring me my jacket.
¿Para qué?
Quiero llevarla a la fiesta de Navidad.
I want to wear it [or possibly: to bring it] to the Christmas party.


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