Spanish verb LLEVAR
Spanish Vocabulary - LLEVAR - verb usage


The verb LLEVAR is very common, very useful and trying to translate it with one word would lead to a lot of confusion. When I came to Spain it almost always occurred in the first few minutes when meeting someone. ¿Cuánto tiempo llevas aquí? (How long have you been here?) and it was very useful when I found out that to say "I'll buy it" (in a shop) was just "lo llevo". Remember that the pronunciation of "ll" is like the "y" in "yes".

Be careful not to confuse LLEVAR and TRAER
If you GO, you TAKE something
If you COME, you BRING something
Si voy a la fiesta llevaré unas botellas de vino.

If I go to the party, I'll take some bottles of wine.
Mi hermano me lleva 2 años.
Mi hermana me lleva 10 centímetros.

My brother is 2 years older than me.
My sister is 10 centimetres taller than me.
TO BEAR (name)
La universidad lleva el nombre de su fundador.

The university bears the name of its founder.
something with/on you
¿Qué llevas en el bolso?
No llevo dinero encima/conmigo

Llevaba a su hijo en brazos.

What have you got in your bag?
I don't have any money on me.

She was carrying her baby in her arms.
Le llevaré 10 euros por cambiar la cremallera de estos vaqueros.
¿Cuándo me va a llevar por arreglar esta falda?
Por eso llevo 20 euros.

I'll charge you 10 euros to repair the zip on these jeans.
How much is it going to cost me to mend this skirt?
I'll charge you 20 euros /It'll cost you 20 euros.
Esta misión lleva consigo grandes riesgos.

This mission entails huge risks.
TO HAVE (a temporary physical characteristic)
Madonna lleva un lunar.
Compared with TENER for permanent physical characteristics:
Cindy Crawford tiene un lunar.

Madonna has a beauty spot. (painted on)

Cindy Crawford has a mole.
Está muy enferma y lleva una semana en la cama.
Este museo lleva cerrado cinco años.
¿Cuánto tiempo llevas aquí?
Llevo 5 horas esperándote.
Note: This use of "llevar" is very useful because the alternative is to use "desde hace" eg:
I have been here for two days. = Estoy aquí desde hace 2 días. You could also say He estado aquí 2 días. (like English) However it is a lot simpler and probably more normal to say: Llevo 2 días aquí.
Note also the use of the "present tense" which we would never use in a "present perfect" type construction in English: Look - "Estoy aquí desde hace 2 días"
The literal translation of this is: I am here since 2 days ago and Spanish people learning English will often say things like that. Now you know why.
In these examples "llevar" is often being used like the English "spend + time"
She's very ill and has been in bed for a week.
This museum has been closed for five years.
How long have you been here?
I've been waiting for you for 5 hours.

TO HEAD (in a direction)
¿Qué dirección llevaban?

Which direction were they heading/going in?
TO LEAD (induce)
Su tono me llevó a pensar que ya lo sabía.
Ahora no trabajo y llevo una vida menos ajetreada.

His tone lead me to think that he already knew.

I don't work now and I lead a less hectic life.
TO RUN/MANAGE (business)
TO KEEP (accounts)
Tendrá que volver un poco más tarde: el hombre que lleva este asunto acaba de salir.

You'll have to come back in a while: the man dealing with that business has just gone out.
TO TAKE (time)
Me llevó 2 horas en terminar la redacción.

It took me 2 hours to finish the essay.
El padre llevó al niño de la mano y le ayudó a cruzar la calle.

The father took the boy by the hand and helped him across the street.
TO TAKE someone/something (from one place to another)
¿Me puedes llevar al aeropuerto mañana?
Llévame a casa.
El coche llevaba 4 personas cuando tuvo el acccidente.
Hay que llevar tu pasaporte al banco.

Can you give me a lift to the airport tomorrow?
Take me home.
The car was carrying 4 people when it had the accident.
You must take your passport to the bank.
Siempre lleva ropa oscura.
llevar puesto
llevar luto

He always wears dark clothes.
to be wearing
to wear black / to wear mourning clothes
Este número lleva premio.

This number has won a prize.
llevarse a alguien
Le policia se llevó al criminal a la comisaría.
to take someone away
The police took the criminal away to the police station
llevarse algo
El ladrón se llevó mi bolsa.
to make/run off with / to take
The thief ran off with my bag.
llevarse bien / mal con alguien
Me llevo bien con todos mis compañeros de trabajo.
Se llevan a matar.
to get on well / badly with someone
I get on well with all my workmates.
They really hate each other.
La lleva hecha.He's got it all worked out.
llevar la batuta / llevar la voz cantante
llevar los pantalones
En mi casa es mi madre quien lleva la batuta.
to be the boss / to rule the roost
to wear the trousers
In my house it's my mother who's the boss
llevar la contraria a alguien
Da igual lo que digo, siempre me lleva la contraria.
to contradict someone
It doesn't matter what I say, she always contradicts me.
llevar la voz cantanteto call the shots
llevar las de ganar/perder
llevar las de perder
Con un buen entrenedor, el nadador lleva las de ganar.
El proyecto llevaba todas las de perder desde el principio.
to be bound to win / lose
to be fighting a losing battle / to be unsuccessful
With a good trainer, the swimmer is bound to win.
The project was a loser from the start.
llevar su cruz
Todos llevamos nuestra cruz.
to bear one's cross
We all have our cross to bear.
llevar trazas de durar mucho
Esto lleva trazas de ir para largo.
to look as if it will last a long time
This looks as though it will drag on and on.
llevar una cara
¿Anoche saliste? porque llevas una cara hoy ...
to look sad, bad, etc.
Did you go out last night? because you look pretty bad today ...
llevar una encima
Le vi anoche en el bar y llevaba una encima.
to be extremely drunk
I saw him last night in the bar and he was really drunk.
llevar ventaja a alguien
Después de seis juegos, Sampras llevó ventaja a su rival.
to have the advantage over someone / to have the edge on someone
After six games, Sampras had the edge on his opponent.
llevarlo claro
Si espera que le den cinco días pagados de permiso en el trabajo, lo lleva claro.
to be in for a shock
If she expects them to give her five days off work with pay, she's going to be disappointed.
llevarse un susto
¡Qué susto me llevé cuando abrí la puerta!
to get a fright
What a fright I got when I opened the door!
llevarse una decepción
Me llevé una gran decepción cuando me enteré de que no había aprobado el examen.
to be a real disappointment
I was really disappointed when I found out that I hadn't passed the exam.
Lo que el viento se llevóGone with the Wind
No las lleva todas consigo.He hasn't got everyone's support.
Se llevan como perro y gatoThey fight like cat and dog.
Todos los caminos llevan a RomaAll roads lead to Rome