There are several basic Spanish words that translate “play” and each of them has their own specific use. This quick post will give you a general understanding of the different meanings of “play” in Spanish.
1. To play means tocar
Tocar can also mean “to touch” but in this particular case, tocar is used when referring to playing an instrument. For example:
Yo toco la guitarra.
I play the guitar.
Mis hijos tocan el piano.
My children play the piano.
2. Play means poner
Poner (and tocar) is used when you want to play music as in a record, CD, etc. For example:
¡Pon la radio, necesito música!
Put on the radio, I need music!
Cuando estoy estresado, me gusta poner un buen CD descansar.
When I am stressed, I like to put on a good CD and relax.
Cuando yo era pequeña, en mi casa teníamos un tocadiscos.
When I was growing up, in my house we had a record player.
En la radio están tocando mi canción favorita.
The radio is playing my favorite song.
3. Play means jugar
Jugar is used when referring to a game, or a child’s playtime. For example:
Mi abuelo juega aledrez en el parque todos los domingos.
My grandpa plays chess in the park every Sunday.
A los niños les encantan jugar en el parque.
The children love to play in the park.
4. A play means obra teatral
The previous three examples explain the word “play” used as a verb. But there is also “play” used as a noun when referring to “a literary work written for performance on the stage; a drama.” In that case “a play” is una obra de teatro or una obra teatral. For example:
Mi hija fue seleccionada para participar en la obra de teatro.
My daughter was selected to participate in the play.
There you go, four meanings in Spanish for “play.”
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