A useful but confusing Spanish verb: Pasar

“Pasar” is another one of those verbs that change meaning depending on the context. Generally, it is related to movement and time. Here are the most common ways in which you can use “pasar” with examples, however there are many more.

• To spend time doing something:

Pasé dos horas en la playa. I spent two hours on the beach.
Pasamos media hora esperando el autobús. We spent half an hour waiting for the bus.

• To happen:

¿Qué pasa? What’s happening? / What’s going on?
¿Qué ha pasado? What has happened?

• To ask what the matter is:

¿Qué te pasa? What’s wrong with you?

• Movement or travel. / To go past / To cross:

Pasa por la iglesia. Go past the church.
El tren no pasa por Sevilla. The train doesn’t go through Seville.
Pasó el río. He went over the river.

• To enter a room:

You knock on someone’s door and they reply:  ¡Pasa! Come in!

• To ask someone to pass you something:

Me pasas la sal, por favor. Pass me the salt, please.

• To take the register:

Voy a pasar la lista. I am going to take the register.

• To endure/suffer:

Nunca paso hambre en su casa. I never go hungry in their house.
Hemos pasado el peor. We have passed the worst.

• To experience/get by:

No puedes pasar sin agua. You can’t get by without water.
Lo pasé bien / mal. I had a good/bad time.

• To exceed:

Pasó de las setenta millas por hora. He went over 70 miles per hour.

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