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Published on: Grammar Bites

Two very different Spanish equivalents of ‘to move’

The English verb ‘to move’ has many equivalents in Spanish, but today we’ll focus on the two main ones which are often confused.

To move as mover(se):

When we describe the action of being in motion or changing the location or position of something, the correct Spanish equivalent is ‘mover(se)’:

  • Mueve el cuadro un poco a la izquierda; se ve torcido. Move the painting a bit to the left; it looks crooked.
  • Cuando estás mucho tiempo sentado en la computadora, es importante moverse periódicamente. Debes mover la cabeza, los hombros, la espalda; no te quedes quieto. When you spend a lot of time sitting down on the computer, it’s important to move periodically. You have to move your head, shoulders, back; don’t stay still.
  • ¡Ellos movieron todas las cosas en la tienda y no podía encontrar nada! They moved everything around the store, and I couldn’t find anything!
  • ¡Muevete! No puedo ver la pantalla. Move! I can’t see the screen.

Notice that we use the pronoun ‘se’ when we’re talking about people changing positions or moving their entire bodies, but we don’t use it when they’re moving one specific body part (eg: mueve la cabeza vs muevete).

To move as mudarse:

When we talking about a change of residence, the correct Spanish equivalent is ‘mudarse’:

  • Cuando tenía 6 años, nos mudamos a Boston. When I was 6, we moved to Boston.
  • La próxima semana me mudo a mi nuevo apartamento y aún tengo mucho que empacar. Next week I’m moving to my new apartment and I still have a lot of packing to do.
  • ¿Te mudarías a un país diferente? Would you move to a different country?
  • Mudarse de casa es muy estresante. Moving to a new house is very stressful.
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