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Using the Verb 'Seguir'

Meanings Include 'To Continue' and 'To Follow'

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The verb seguir carries with it the idea of "to continue" or "to follow," but it can be used in a variety of ways that have other translations to English.

Standing by itself, seguir typically means "to go on" or "to continue":

  • A 20 bajo cero la vida sigue. At 20 below life goes on.
  • ¡Sigue! ¡Puedes hacerlo! Keep it up! You can do it!
Seguir is most commonly used to precede the gerund, where it functions as a type of auxiliary verb meaning "to continue" or "to keep on." In this way it is forms a type of progressive tense:
  • Tengo un crédito por minivan usada y no la puedo seguir pagando. I have a loan for a used minivan and I can't continue paying for it.
  • Siguió corriendo a pesar del dolor. He kept on running despite the pain.
  • Cuando tenga la oportunidad, seguiré estudiando inglés. When I have the opportunity, I will continue studying English.
  • Siga aprendiendo. Keep on learning.
  • La cantante chilena sigue rompiendo sus propios récords. The Chilean singer keeps on breaking her own records.
Such sentences frequently carry the connotation of "to still be (verb + ing)":
  • El actor sigue buscando la felicidad. The actor is still looking for happiness.
  • Sí, sigue nevando afuera. Yes, it's still snowing outside.
When seguir is followed by an adjective, the meaning of "to still be (adjective)" also is common:
  • Cynthia sigue feliz con su esposo. Cynthia is still happy with her husband.
  • Si la situación sigue difícil durante tres o cuatro meses, algunas operaciones se cancelarán. If the situation is still difficult for three or four months, some operations will be canceled.
  • Ella se siente feliz, pero sigue asustada. She feels happy, but she's still afraid.
Similarly, seguir en commonly means "to still be in":
  • El piloto español sigue en coma. The Spanish pilot is still in a coma.
  • Mucha gente sigue en vacaciones y llegan hasta las clases de mañana. Many people are still on vacation and will arrive in classes tomorrow.
Seguir sin often means "to still be without." An infinitive often follows, making a sentence construction quite unlike what is used to say the same thing in English:
  • Un tercio de la capital sigue sin electricidad. A third of the capital is still without electricity.
  • Seguimos sin reconocer los culpables de la crisis. We still don't recognize who is responsible for the crisis.
  • Siguen sin pagarme. They still aren't paying me.
  • Siguieron sin hacer nada productivo. They still hadn't done anything productive.
Another common meaning of seguir is "to follow," either literally or figuratively:
  • A mi casa me siguió un perrito. A puppy followed me home.
  • No me sigas, no tengo la menor idea de lo que hago. Don't follow me, I don't have the least idea what I'm doing.
  • Sigue las instrucciones que te vamos a dar. Follow the instructions that we are going to give you.
  • Hay nivel para principiantes de Guitar Hero donde sólo se necesita seguir el ritmo. There is a level for Guitar Hero beginners where all you have to do is follow the rhythm.
Note that seguir is conjugated irregularly.

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