There are two Spanish verbs, Caminar and Andar, which mean ‘to walk’ and/or ‘to go’. In this article, we will look at their difference between caminar and andar and theimost appropriate uses of each.
Andar is an irregular verb of movement. The word comes from the Latin root «ambulāre».
It means to move from one place to another but it acquires different connotations depending on the subject the action expressed by the verb is referring to:
When we talk of an animated being, such as a person or an animal, Andar is generally understood as the act of traveling by foot.
This case is literally translated as to walk, amble, stroll, jog, run or hike, because it refers to the act of using both feet.
This use of Andar is quite common in Spain, whereas in Latin America, Caminar is mostly preferred to talk about a pedestrian.
When we talk of an inanimate being, such as a train, a clock or a planet, Andar is understood as to be in motion, the action of transferring from one particular spot to another.
Use of ANDAR in Informal Spanish:
In colloquial Spanish, particularly in Latin America, the verb Andar has two everyday uses:
A verbal periphrasis is the association of two verbs that work as a single unit to transmit a particular idea. An aspectual verbal periphrasis adds a hue of the development of the action that is currently taking place. Thus, it has a continuous aspect.
In this case, Andar works as a “signal” to the reader or listener that the subject is doing a particular thing in that exact moment. Therefore, it is mostly found in sentences formed in the present progressive tense.
But it can also be used to talk about the past and the future.
The verbal periphrasis is formed with the auxiliary verb Andar conjugated in simple present tense and the gerund of the main verb. Remember that there is a rule of concordance of person and gender.
As you can observe from the examples below, in these occasions the verb Andar can be substituted for the verb Estar (is, are, am).
In spoken Spanish is very common (and favored) to use Andar when the action is linked to bikes and horses:
When talking about objects in motion or means of travel, it is perfectly fine to use the verb Andar. However, it is preferred to choose specific verbs for each mode of transport:
Here is a list of idiomatic expressions to add to your vocabulary!
|¡Ándale!||Go on!/Come on!|
|¿Cómo andas?||How are you?|
|¿En dónde andas?||Where are you?|
|Andar por malos pasos||To be in bad company|
|Andar con cuidado||To be careful|
|Andar en las nubes||To have your head in the clouds|
|Andar parado||To be stuck in traffic|
|Andar viendo||To be looking for viable options|
|Andar de chismoso||To be nosey|
|Andar a pie||To walk by foot|
|Andar descompuesto||To be broken down|
|Andar crudo||To be hangover|
|Andar borracho||To be drunk|
|Andar en la Luna||To be distracted|
|Andar a tientas||To be left in the dark (about a situation)|
|Andar justo de dinero||To be tight on money|
|Andar cagándola||To be messing up|
|Anda ligando||To be flirting|
|Andar jugando||To be playing around|
|Andar sin rodeos||To go straignt to the point|
|Andar de cabeza||To be losing your mind|
|Andar de un lado para otro||To run from one place to another doing errands|
|Andar loco por alguien||To be crazy about someone|
|Andar con prisa||To be in a hurry|
|Andar enamorado||To be in love|
|Andar liado||To be busy|
|Andar metido en todo||To be active and participate in everything|
|Andar detrás de algo||To be behind something (generally negative)|
In the chart below you can compare the conjugation of both verbs in different tenses for the Spanish Indicative Mood.
|SIMPLE INDICATIVE ‘ANDAR’|
|SIMPLE INDICATIVE ‘CAMINAR’|
Caminar is a regular verb that describes motion. The most common use of Caminar is literally translated ‘to walk on foot’, very straightforward!
However, in another type of scenario, the meaning of Caminar can be inferred according to the subject that the action is denoting in the sentence.
Still not clear about the difference between Caminar and Andar? Why not take a free lesson with a native Spanish certified teacher at LiveLingua.com? You will get all your questions answered and the insights of a local!
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