This week we are going to take a look at polysemic verbs, the ones that give us so many headaches and drive us crazy, because they have so many meanings.

As always happens in these cases, the best way to learn them is to use them. Remember that the best way to learn Spanish is to take a walk (dar un paseo) through Valencia and practice what you have learnt in class.

Let’s see if we hit the nail on the head (damos en el clavo) with some, but not all, of the meanings of the verb dar in Spanish. If you are curious, you can take a look at the dictionary of the Real Academia and the 54 meanings of the verb dar.

  • Dar: The first of the meanings, and perhaps the one you learn first when studying Spanish, is to give. A sentence with this meaning would be: “Elena has given an envelope to Miguel”. As we can see in this sentence, the verb dar has the meaning of giving something to someone. In this case, Elena gives an envelope to Miguel.
  • Dar una conferencia: Here the meaning of the verb dar is to give a lecture. It is used when referring to lectures, but also talks and other events where there is an audience to be addressed.
  • Dar una mano de pintura:This expression is not to be confused with the expression“dar la mano”. Here it means “to give a coat of paint”. On the other hand,“dar la mano”means to shake hands with another person as a greeting.
  • Dar la enhorabuena:This is something we do a lot in our Spanish school to all our students, i.e. congratulating them for successfully completing their Spanish course 😊. As you know, here the expression with dar indicates to communicate something to someone. Other expressions with this meaning would be:“dar el pésame”, “dar una mala noticia”, etc.
  • Dar un abrazo:Something typically Spanish, along with “dar dos besos” or “dar saltos de alegría”. In these expressions the meaning of the verb dar is to perform an action (to hug)
  • Dar la luz:On those winter days when sometimes the light stops working and then comes back, that is when we “damos la luz”(switch on the light). The meaning here is to activate a mechanism. We can also say “dar el gas”. But be very careful and don’t say “dar a luz” this expression means that a woman has become a mother, i.e. she gave birth to a baby 👶
  • Dar las cinco:Indicates that it is a specific time, that is, that the clock strikes five. Depending on the tone of the speaker, it can indicate displeasure or anger in the statement. At Christmas time, the expression you will surely hear is “dar las campanadas”
  • “Me va a dar algo”:Here the meaning of dar is similar to that found in expressions such as “dar un síncope”, “dar frío”, “dar dolor”. These uses refer to something happening or starting to affects somebody, such as cold or pain. As for the expression “dar algo”, it means that the person feels that something bad is going to happen to him or her. It does not always have a literal meaning. Sometimes it means that the person is surprised by something. For example: If we watch a horror movie, we can use the expression “casi me da algo” “indicating that you were very scared. As a complement to this phrase, we can also hear “me va a dar un ataque al corazón”(I’m going to have a heart attack), indicating that the scare has been very big.
  • Dar una fiesta:Surely you have heard this phrase at some point, you may even have used it. Here the meaning is to throwing a party, celebrate an event, whether it is a dinner, a dance party, etc…
  • Me da que…: Many times, the complete expression is “me da en la nariz” or simply “me da a mí que…”indicating that the person is foreshadowing something that is going to happen or that he or she believes will happen. For example:“Me da que mañana va a llover” is like saying “I think it is going to rain tomorrow” or “it is possible that it will rain tomorrow”. All these deductions are the result of our observations.
  • Dar con alguien o algo: In expressions like “he dado con la solución” (I’ve found the solution), “he dado con Antonio en el jardín”(I’ve found Antonio in the garden), the meaning of dar is to find.

We don’t want to bother you (dar la lata), so we hope you will do your best (dar la talla) and learn some of these expressions.