Spanish expressions: “Ponerse nervioso…”, “dar miedo…”, “enojarse…”

spanish expressions ponerse nervioso 1

Transitive verbs or “verbos transitivos” as we call them in Spanish are those verbs that help us express that the effect of an action relies on “something else”.

Some of these verbs are “comprar” and “dar” which aren’t quite useful if we don’t add a direct complement or a direct object to the sentence.

For example, in the sentence “mi hermana da clases”, the verb “dar” affects the direct object clases”.

If we remove the DO, the whole sentence would lose its meaning as “dar” would affect nothing.

“Ponerse nervioso”, “dar miedo”, and “enojarse” are some transitive expressions we frequently use in Spanish. They all talk about our mood or someone else’s mood. Consequently, they may help us express how we feel in some situations.

In this brief explanation, we will show you how to use all of them.

How to use “ponerse nervioso”

“Ponerse nervioso” comes from the combination of a reflexive verb and an adjective. “Ponerse” is the reflexive form of “poner”.

This expression has several meanings. But, in most cases, we use it as an equivalent to “to get nervous”.

Building sentences using “ponerse nervioso” is quite simple. We must be aware that we are using an adjective. So, we would use “nervioso” for singular masculine nouns, and “nerviosa” for singular feminine nouns.

Likewise, we would use “nerviosos” for plural masculine nouns, “nerviosas” for plural feminine nouns. Please note that using the plural form of “nervioso” will require to use of the plural form of “ponerse”.

When we say that we are nervous, it might mean two things. First, that we are irritated, and second, that we are in a tense mood or worried. Although we could use “ponerse nervioso” to express many things, we will always use almost the same formula.

The most common one is shown below:

Subject + “ponerse nervioso” + connection word + complement.

Let’s see a few examples to get a clearer picture of how to use “ponerse nervioso”:

Marcos se pone muy nervioso cuando habla en público.

Marcos gets very nervous when he speaks in public

Se puso nerviosa cuando le preguntaron por su divorcio.

She got uptight when they asked her about her divorce.

Por lo general, me pongo nervioso cuando alguien me lleva la contraria.

Generally, I get worked up whenever someone disagrees with me.

Ella es perfeccionista y se pone nerviosa si alguien se equivoca.

She’s a perfectionist and gets nervous when someone makes a mistake.

María y Juan deberían dejar de discutir de esa manera. Sus hijos se ponen nerviosos cuando los ven.

María and Juan should stop arguing like that. Their kids get agitated when they see them.

As you may see, we usually use prepositions as connection words. We can conjugate “ponerse” in any time tense depending on what we want to express.

How to use “dar miedo”

Just like “ponerse nervioso”, “dar miedo” is a transitive verb phrase. It means “to cause fear to”.

Depending on the context and the way we use it, we could translate it to “to scare” or “to frighten”. If we are having a colloquial conversation, we can even use “dar miedo” as an equivalent to “to give the chills”.

Often, we use this Spanish phrase together with reflexive pronouns. So, don’t be scared if you see them frequently.

The formula below is the one we usually apply with “dar miedo”:

Reflexive pronoun + “dar miedo” + preposition (optional) + noun or verb (infinitive)

Let’s have a look at a few examples:

Salir de noche le da miedo a Ramón.

Going out at night is scary for Ramón.

Esa casa abandonada me da miedo.

That abandoned house scares me.

Me da mucho miedo irme sin tí.

I’m really frightened of leaving without you

¿Te da miedo subir a esa montaña rusa?

Are you afraid to ride that roller coaster?

It’s also common to use DO/IO pronouns with “dar miedo”. After all, since it’s a transitive verb phrase, using a direct complement is essential.

With this expression, we can use the Spanish word “mucho” as an intensifier.

How to use “enojarse”

“Enojarse” is the reflexive form of “enojar”. We can use it as a transitive verb or as a pronominal verb. The only difference between these two is that with a pronominal verb, we always have to use a reflexive pronoun.

In general, “enojarse” is the Spanish equivalent of “to get angry”. However, just like with “dar miedo”, it may have many other translations depending on the context.

Here are some examples:

Me enojan mucho las mentiras.

I’m very angry with lies.

La subida de impuestos enojó a los trabajadores autónomos.

The tax raise angered freelance workers.

La mala calidad del césped enojó a los futbolistas.

The bad quality of the grass annoyed the soccer players.

Ese profesor se enoja muy fácil.

That teacher gets angry very easily.

No te enojes con Raul y Pedro; no saben lo que hacen

Don’t be angry with Raul and Pedro. They don’t know what they’re doing.

Me enoja mucho que alguien llegue tarde.

It makes me very angry that someone is late.

As you may realize, we also use prepositions with this reflexive verb in some situations. If we use the preposition “que”, we will end using “enojarse” as a pronominal verb.

On the other hand, if we use the preposition “a”, we would use it as a transitive verb but we need to change the structure of the sentence.

With these Spanish phrases, we can express the same idea in different ways. All we need to do is to change the structure of the sentence.

Let’s have a look at the example below:

La mala calidad del césped enojó a los futbolistas.

The poor quality of the turf angered the players.

Los futbolistas se enojaron por la mala calidad del cesped.

The players were angry about the poor quality of the turf.

In the first sentence, we are using “enojar” as a transitive verb. In the second one, we are using “enojarse” and, therefore, it’s a pronominal verb.

Important expressions

In conclusion, we can use “ponerse nervioso”, “dar miedo”, and “enojarse” to talk about our mood or someone else’s mood.

These Spanish expressions often go together with prepositions and reflexive pronouns. So, adding them to our toolbox is a must-have task.

Keep in mind that practicing is key to improving your fluency and communication skills.

Leave your fear behind and start speaking Spanish as much as you can at any time with anyone. I can guarantee that you will have no regrets.

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