Home Expat Blogs How “To Get” Somewhere in Mexico: Part One

How “To Get” Somewhere in Mexico: Part One

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Woman bicycling near a waterfront
Credit: Gilitukha | Fotolia
Maria and Fernando Garibay Bloggers at Expats In Mexico
Maria and Fernando Garibay

In English, when it comes to get, you get a lot of things. The verb “to get” is one of the most used verbs in the English language. However in Spanish, we have a different verb for every use of “to get”. In this blog and our next blog, we’ll help you understand how “to get’ somewhere in Mexico.

It has been said that Spanish has 10,000 more words than English (or more). This is one of the reasons why communication in Mexico can be, at times, very complex. Understanding how to use different verb forms for “to get” will help you communicate better in Mexico.

Here are some examples to help you “get it” (understand- entender) in Mexico.

When you are in a restaurant ordering your meal, a common thing to say in English is “Can I get a margarita?” In Spanish we say “Me traes una margarita, por favor?” When you ask for the bill, you would say, “Can I get the bill?” While we just simply say, “La cuenta por favor?”

Here’s another example: Imagine you are walking towards a bus stop but before you get there (in Spanish “llegar allí”) the bus is there. People are getting on and off the bus. You really want to get on that bus because, as you know, it could take a while before the next bus gets there, so you want to let the driver know that you are getting on.

The best way to say it is “suben”, which means “Don’t go yet, I’m getting on, too”. The word “suben” is plural, meaning more than one person is trying to get on the bus. However, that’s the way we say it, even if it’s only one person trying to catch the bus. Then, after a nice folkloric ride where you can appreciate the whole Mexican culture at once, and with top quality seats, qualified and certified drivers giving you the best service possible, you are closer to your destination. Now you think “I want to get off the bus” but I don’t see any button to press or the one I am pressing doesn’t work”. Don’t worry, we Mexicans use a simple word to let the driver know we are getting off the bus on the next stop and the word is “bajan”. Just remember to say it out loud and you will sound like any Mexican.

Do you think you will get used to these changes in Mexico? Well, that’s another thing. For us Mexicans, the correct verb for getting used to things is “acostumbrar”, so we really “nos acostumbramos” to the changes. Many expats get used to or “se acostumbran” to the life in Mexico, and for some others it is harder to get used to, or “es difícil acostumbrarse”.

We Mexicans definitely don’t get anywhere, but don’t misunderstand us. We don’t get anywhere because we “arrive” somewhere, or better said, “nosotros llegamos”. When talking about to get to any place, the proper verb in Spanish is “llegar”. Next time you want to ask to any person on the street “How do I get to…?” you might want to ask “¿Cómo llego a …?” Don’t forget to catch his or her attention first by saying “disculpa”, then you ask him or her.

Another good example is when we ask somebody to get some milk and coffee from the shop. The verb we use in Spanish is ¨compra¨ leche o café, por favor. We don´t get the keys, ¨nosotros traemos¨ las llaves. We don´t get it, ¨nosotros entendemos¨. And if with all these examples you don’t get it, ¨no entiendes¨, then we will teach you in our next blog how to get a better understanding of the verb “to get”.

This topic is so vast that this is only a small part for you to know in Part One. We will continue in Part Two in our next blog with more examples of the verb “to get” that will help you better understand the variety of Mexican verbs to use for this one English verb.

Hasta pronto.

2 COMMENTS

  1. It´s our pleasure to help you all to GET a better undertanding of our beautiful language.
    Gracias por tu mensaje.

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