Have you felt uncomfortable when you don’t know how to answer”¿para llevar o para comer acá?” This article is for you dear hungry and now confused tourist!
This is a very frequent question when you buy empanadas, arepas or another Colombian food in the street. And it gets worse because in Spanish we have a similar verb: traer. What is the difference then, if both verbs have similar uses? To begin, the verb llevar means “transfer or move an object (or person) to any place (there); for example, “mañana vamos a llevar cervezas a la casa de mi amigo para ver el partido” (tomorrow we are going to bring beers to my friend’s house to watch the game). In this case “cervezas” goes from point A to point B.
On the other hand, the verb traer express the transfer or moving of an object (or person) to the place; where the speaker is (here). In the sentence “mañana mis amigos van a traer cervezas para ver el partido). In this case “las cervezas” comes from point B to point A.
There is another way to identify the difference between these actions of llevar and traer in Spanish through the next expressions:
So next time you hear “¿para llevar?” think for a second, if you are hungry, the answer will be “no para acá”, but if you have enough time, and perhaps you want some privacy or to eat it later, then you can say “sí para llevar por favor y con ají”.
Identify when is used “llevar” or “traer” in the following phrases:
Audio to practice
Check our article Why the Verb “Tocar” in Spanish Makes You Feel Lost in Translation for another related topic.
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Written by Cami, profesor at Whee.