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Using 'Ganar'

Verb Usually Means 'To Earn' or 'To Win'


Ganar is a fairly common Spanish verb that has as its basic sense the idea of accomplishment. As such, it can be translated to English in a variety of ways, depending on the context: to earn, to win, to reach, to defeat, to improve. Ganar is a cousin of the English word "gain" and sometimes has that meaning as well.

In one of its most common usages, ganar is used to refer to how much money a person or business earns:

  • ¡Gana 80.00 dólares solo por suscribirte a nuestro programa! Earn $80 just for subscribing to our program!
  • Cada profesional ganará 18.450 pesos uruguayos por mes. Each professional will earn 18,450 Uruguayan pesos per month.
  • La compañía ganaba muy poco dinero. The company earned very little money.
Ganar can mean "win" in various senses:
  • Adams ganó la lotería dos veces, en 1985 y 1986. Adams won the lottery twice, in 1985 and 1986.
  • La empresa ganaba muchas veces en licitaciones internacionales. The company won often in international bidding.
  • Entre 1936 y 1951 fue la estrella de los Yankees de Nueva York, equipo con el que ganó nueve Series Mundiales. Between 1936 and 1953 he was the star of the New York Yankees, the team that won nine World Series.
  • Ganaron los Cavaliers. The Cavaliers won.
  • No ganamos la guerra contra las drogas en Sudamérica. We aren't winning the war against drugs in South America.
Ganar often conveys the sense of achievement:
  • Ganó mucho éxito escribiendo sobre los problemas de su ciudad. He had much success writing about his city's problems.
  • El Congreso ganó su objetivo principal. The Congress achieved its main goal.
  • Al menos 73 escaladores ganaron la cima el lunes. At least 73 climbers reached the summit on Monday.
Ganar en can mean "to improve" or "to gain in."
  • Perdí mi libertad, pero gané en felicidad. I lost my freedom, but I became happier.
  • Moreno y Macedo ganaron en fortaleza. Morena and Macedo improved in strength.
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