Posted by: janecronin | April 29, 2018


“Sacar” is one of those verbs that Spanish language learners tend to overlook even though it is very commonly used.  Its basic meaning is “to take out” as in: “Sacó algo de la bolsa” (He took something out of the bag).  It also has one or two other meanings which we will look at later.

As verbs go, we have another standard, regular one on our hands.  None of the tenses are irregular; neither does it have any root changes or odd first person singular.  The only thing that is worthy of note about its formation is the thing I often point out, which is what I call a “spelling adjustment”.  This is when the spelling changes to keep the sound of the verb regular, and is a very common phenomenon in Spanish.  As with other verbs that have “c” or “g” at the end of the root, we have to adjust the spelling when the following vowel makes it necessary.  The sound of the “c” throughout all the forms of this verb sounds like a “k”.  However, if we keep the “c” spelling when the next letter is an “e”, in Spanish phonetic terms we have turned the “c” into a “th” sound (as “c” followed by “e” is pronounced “th”).  So, in those positions we have to change the “c” to a “qu” to keep the correct phonetic spelling.  That’s such a long-winded explanation, but I do hope you understand what I mean!  This happens in the first person singular of the preterite tense which is spelt “saqué” and also in the present subjunctive.  I think I’ve said enough about that for now.

Moving on to expressions which use “sacar” we have “sacar a la luz” which is to bring something to light.  When people talk about their struggle to bring up a family or bring a project into fruition, they often use the phrase “sacar adelante” which has the idea of moving forward, but with considerable effort.  When school children get their exam marks they use the same verb, as they “sacar buenas notas” (get good marks) or they might ask their friends “¿Qué sacaste en el examen?” (What mark did you get in the exam?”

When something drives us mad or makes us furious we say “me saca de quicio”.  “Quicio” is a window or door frame, so I think the idea is that something is so disturbing or annoying that it pulls the door right away from its frame; something like that, anyway.  We also “sacar fotos” (take photos) and in your home you almost certainly have a “sacacorchos” (bottle opener) and a “sacapuntas” (pencil sharpener).  Finally, for all you football fans, a “corner” kick, which is sometimes referred to with the English word “corner” is also called a “saque de esquina”, “saque” being a derivative of “sacar” and for which I can´t think of a translation other than the “getting out” of the corner.

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