Forum Rocket Spanish Spanish - Grammar Multiple meanings of the verb 'hacer'.

Multiple meanings of the verb 'hacer'.


I've reached lesson 4 and I've already seen it to mean: to make, to do, to be, to go. Under what circumstances should it be used for each meaning?


Hacer is a word with a variety of uses.  My recommendation is to purchases a Spanish only dictionary.  I have 3 such dictionaries and between them there is around 15 definitions-uses given including the reflexive hacerse.  Obviously several of the uses are similar, but they are still listed separately as the context is slightly different.

​This brings us to the real answer to your question:  the context will determine the meaning.  

​I don't remember the "to be" idea, but the "to go" is probably from "hacer compras" meaning to go shopping.  However, it really means to make purchases.  It's translated as ​to go shopping ​because that's the Spanish phrase used in place of the English to go shopping.  Although ​i​ can usually be used for to go​ in almost all situations there are a few exceptions like it ​going shopping or going crazy.  

Not sure if this helps or not.  Maybe someone will have a better answer.


the 'to do' is in 2.1 : "Quiero hacer un tour con mi familia" i want to do a tour with my family -

I think care should be given in explaining alternate meanings when it's likely to get lost in the translation; as in above 


"To do" is one of the main meanings of hacer. What I found interesting is that in Spanish, a person doesn't take a tour, he does a tour or makes a tour.  Some of this is just learned from practice and time.  Don't get discouraged over it if you can't make it fit exactly with English wording.

​​What I don't remember is what you say about hacer ​ meaning "to be."

​As far as alternate meanings, I'm not sure what you mean.  I only attempted to explain what hacer ​ really means in the context of "going shopping" in order to answer the question of when hacer​  should be used for what meaning.  It doesn't mean "to go" and as far as I can tell it never will.  It's just that the English phrase can not be translated directly and so RS uses a thought for thought translation here (something common in language learning) giving you the ability to communicate "go shopping" in Spanish.

​If this isn't helpful, please feel free to ignore it.  If the "to be" idea is obscure, please post the context here and I or someone else will try to help you with it.


Here is a link that may help :


One of the most valuable things that I have learned is that words don't stand for words in another language. They stand for ideas. Jeff's comment about "hacer compras" illustrates this point perfectly. We "go shopping" in English, but "hacer compras" or "make purchases" en español. Obviously, some words stand for the same words (ideas) in both languages, such as part of the sentence in your example:

"un tour con mi familia" "a tour with my family" translates directly. I like to think of these direct translations as bonuses that are easy to figure out, but thinking about ideas instead of direct translations is a good habit to form.



"thinking about ideas instead of direct translations is a good habit to form"
¡Exactamente! Bien dicho Dan.



Excellent comments Dan. 

​I just talked with my Peruvian friend here and at least in Peru, ​alguien puede tomar un tour  ​and also, puede ir de compras.  ​What was interesting was that in that moment another friend joined us.  So Julian looked at him and asked ¿vas de compras? ​to which the newcomer replied, ​No. ¿por qué?
​So, here in Peru these forms are also used and easily understood by the natives.

​Sigamos aprendiendo.


Thank you for this thread. As a new beginner I am finding that direct translations are not always there I like the idea that language is an idea. I think we even have this in English where our British friends call windshield  a wind screen and yet we are able to understand. Thanks for everyone's input. It helps me!

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