Echar: Advanced Spanish vocabulary for C1+ learners

Echar: Advanced Spanish vocabulary for C1+ learners

by Alison Maciejewski Cortez

Updated November 4, 2022

Advanced Spanish vocabulary isn’t all about long, complicated words. Simple words that you might learn on your first day of online Spanish class certainly have their place in the everyday professional world. That said, there are phrases and word choices that can elevate your language to business-level Spanish. When it’s time to give a a presentation or send a professional email, there are words and expressions you can use for a more polished tone. Here is some advanced Spanish vocabulary for C1+ learners using the verb echar.

Spanish definition of echar

The verb echar has multiple dictionary definitions. Google translate offers 48 English translations for this one verb. By combining echar with Spanish collocations and context, you can use it to express hundreds of different situations. The most common translations for echar are below.

  • to put (in)
  • to cast
  • to throw/fling
  • to lay (on)
  • to pour
  • to toss
  • to drop
  • to kick out/send away
  • to fall back
  • to blow (on)
  • to send forth

In my mind, I equate echar as the direct translation of the English verb to put. My mind knows how versatile this verb is: Put in, put on, put out, put up with, put over, put off, etc. This association helps me, so that in a pinch, I can easily recall professional Spanish expressions using echar.

Being so versatile, echar is a perfect verb for advanced Spanish learners to adopt for regular usage. Let’s delve deeper into the multiple idiomatic expressions that use echar. Try to incorporate these expressions into your conversations this week. 

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Echar: Spanish idioms for hospitality

I have had two major careers in my life. The first was as a professional chef and restaurant consultant. The second was as a non-profit programme manager. In both cases, the majority of my colleagues were native Spanish-speakers. Below are expressions I picked up in the food and beverage (F&B) world using echar. These are useful for C1+ Spanish learners in the service industry and other hospitality fields such as tourism or restaurant management.

  • echar a perder – to go off, ruin, spoil
  • echar una reprimenda – to give a reprimand
  • echar un discurso – to give or deliver a speech
  • echar sangre – to shed blood
  • echar para atrás – to knock you backwards (for example by a foul odour)
  • echar fuera – to throw outside (for example garbage)
  • echarse encima – to take responsibility for something (a task)

An example for a food safety presentation:

Es necesario echarnos encima de escribir siempre la fecha en los alimentos en el refrigerador. De esta manera sabemos cuándo la comida se ha echado a perder y mantenemos a nuestros clientes seguros. – It’s necessary for us to always take responsibility for writing the date on food in the refrigerator. This way we know when the food has gone off and we keep our customers safe.

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Echar: Spanish idioms for the office

When it comes to C1 language, we are talking about working competency and comprehension of abstract thoughts. In an office setting, there is professional jargon in most meetings, emails, and presentations. We already covered how to talk to your boss in Spanish. Below are Spanish idiomatic expressions using echar that I found useful in my office job. These are useful for a corporate or non-profit office with native Spanish speakers.

  • echar a – to start, begin to
  • echar a un lado – to put something aside (tabling a topic during a meeting)
  • echar en falta – to miss
  • echar flores – to flatter or sweet-talk
  • echar la bronca a uno – to give somebody a dressing down
  • echar por una dirección – to go or turn in a certain direction

An example for a strategic planning meeting:

Gracias por plantear el tema del presupuesto. Por el momento, lo vamos a echar a un lado y enfocarnos en la estrategia. En la reunión de la próxima semana echaremos por la dirección financiera. – Thank you for bringing up the topic of the budget. For the moment, we will table that topic and focus on strategy. At next week’s meeting we will be turning in a financial direction. 

Think about your last staff meeting. Which of the above idioms apply most to that conversation? Which Spanish idiom using echar will help you the most this week?

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