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'Mandar' Can Mean 'To Send,' 'To Order'

Related Verbs Include 'Demandar,' 'Comandar'

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¿Cómo mando un paquete por correo? (How do I send a package by mail?)

Photo by Esparta Palma, licensed via Creative Commons.

The everyday Spanish verb mandar has two common meanings: to send, and to order or require. As a cognate of the English verb "mandate," mandar can also be combined with a few prefixes that sometimes have meanings similar to their English counterparts.

Mandar can be used to convey most meanings of "to send," and thus is sometimes interchangeable with enviar. Some examples:

  • ¿Cómo mando un paquete por correo? How do I send a package by mail?
  • Los padres le mandaron a la cama sin cenar. The parents sent him to bed without any supper.
  • Fue el primer lugar donde nos mandaron a por gasolina. It was the first place they sent us for gasoline.
  • Para quitarnos de dudas, el profesor mandó a Juan y Miguel que buscaran información. To get rid of our doubt, the teacher sent Juan and Miguel to look for information.

"To mandate," "to order" and "to require" are among other possible meanings of mandar:

  • La ley mandó que el currículo de las escuelas reforzara la religión nacional. The law required the schools' curriculum to reinforce the national religion.
  • El Congreso mandó a último minuto una ley para frenar el aumento de impuestos. At the last minute Congress passed a law in order to put a halt to the tax increase.
  • No quiero mandar que se queden en casa. I don't want to require them to stay at home.
  • El doctor le mandaba tratamiento para el dolor. The doctor would order treatment for the pain.

Verbs derived from mandar include:

  • Comandar usually refers to military command: El ejército francés fue comandado por el emperador Napoleón Bonaparte. The French army was commanded by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • Contramandar means to order something contrary to what was ordered previously. The word is seldom used.
  • Demandar can mean to demand, although it more often is used in a legal context to refer to the filing of a lawsuit: Dos ex empleados demandaron a la cantante y a su abogado. Two former employees sued the singer and her lawyer.
  • Desmandarse refers to the loss of control. Las cosas se desmandaron de nuevo. Things got out of control again.
  • Remandar means to send or order again. It should not be used to translate the English verb "remand," which is usually used to refer to a return to custody, in which case encarcelar de nuevo can be used. Esta foto me la remandaron por email. They sent me this photo again by email.


Sources: Sample sentences are adapted from a variety of contemporary sources including Mercado.com.ar, mx.Yahoo.com, Los Días Grisas, Filorincón, Mi Libro Zombi, El Universal (Colombia) and foros.Softonic.com.

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