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I would like a consensus on "ganar".

Came across this sentence... "Usted gana millones de dólares." (if only) lol

The given translation by a few translators was "You earn millions of dollars." However, (and I know this has come up before) I was taught on duolingo and other programs that the reflexive "se" should be in there making it "Usted se gana millones de dólares." The sentence without the "se" means "You win millions of dollars." Am I wrong? Or, is this one of those cases where either option is acceptable? TIA!

June 1, 2015

15 comentarios


Ganar as a transitive verb is used to mean both to win and also to earn. However, there is also a verb ganarse which is a pronominal verb.

In the simple meaning of earning money, it is used non-reflexive.

Él gana millones de dólares. -- He earns millions of dollars.

If you look at it this way, he did something to someone else which brought the money to him. He did not do something on himself to get that money.

However, here are a few examples that are used in reflexive.

Él se gana la vida de maestro. -- He earns his living as a teacher.

Él se ha ganado unas vacaciones. -- He has earned a vacation (deserved it)

Él se lo ha ganado -- He has earned it (deserved it)

Él se ganó la confianza de todos -- He earned the confidence of everyone.

Ref: http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/ganar


> Él se he ganado unas vacaciones.

Shouldn't this be "ha ganado" ?


si, la oracion deberia ser: El se 'ha' ganado unas vacaciones.


Yes, I am correcting the typo.


Thanks, Tolunay. So, now the obvious question: how does one distinguish between "earn" and "win"?


You win:

Un partido de algo, Una competición, un concurso , un juego, una elección, etc.

You earn:

The rest :)


Okay, but you also "win" money. :)

Suppose I say, "Acabo de ganar un millon de dólares." I just earned/won a million dollars. I guess it doesn`t matter as long as I get the money. lol


Yes, but in a lottery or as a result of a competition, gambling. Those are not "earning" activities.

Also, the difference is really when you are translating. If you are thinking in Spanish, it is all "ganar". You don't have to think which English meaning you need to map unless you are translating.


I knew we were headed towards context. So, I would have to tell someone the context to make it clear. I couldn`t just burst into a room and announce it. I would have to qualify it by saying "Acabo de ganar un millon de dólares por una competencia." or something like that.


"¿Usted se gana millones de dólares?" We never say that in Spain, maybe in Latin America. "Usted gana millones de dólares" mean "You earn millions of dollars".


Thanks, Carlos. How would you say "You win millions of dollars."? And, if it`s the same as "Usted gana millones de dólares." how do you know it means "win" and not "earn"?


Ok, we use the same verb to say "earn" and "win" (the same way you use one verb for 2 of our verbs, "ser" and "estar" that are translated as "to be"). Sometimes we say how we have earned/won the money (on the lottery, gambling, working, etc.). Anyway, when it's on the lottery, we say "me han tocado x millones en la lotería" or "me ha tocado x euros en la quiniela". That is, we say "me ha tocado" (it's touched me).


Very helpful, thanks again!


si, las dos oraciones significan lo mismo en español.


Usted gana millones de dólares = You earn millions of dollars Usted se gana millones de dólares = You (would or could) win millions of dollars

The later could be used as an advertisement. Although I don't think it's proper Spanish.

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