Dejar vs Dejarse

There is often confusion about whether to use the verb dejar or dejarse. They have different meanings depending on how they are used.

When referring to things

1. dejar (algo a alguien) = to lend

When you lend something to someone:

Daniel le dejó la bici a su hermano.
Daniel lent his bike to his brother.

Nuestros abuelos nos dejaron su chalé para pasar las vacaciones.
Our grandparents lent us their chalet to spend our holidays.

Bear in mind that in this case you will often find an indirect object pronoun (le, nos) to indicate who the thing is lent to. These are not reflexive pronouns, but rather indirect object pronouns.

2. dejarse (algo en algún lugar) = to leave [something behind) 

To express that you forget something / leave something behind, somewhere, by accident.

¡Me he dejado el monedero en casa!
I left my change purse at home!

¡Nos hemos dejado los documentos en la oficina! Tendremos que volver a recogerlos.
We left the documents in the office! We'll have to go and get them.

Here we need the reflexive pronouns: me, te, se, nos, os, se

When referring to people

1. dejar (a alguien) = to leave/abandon (someone)

The person who is abandoned is indicated with a + person or a direct object pronoun (me, te, lo, la, nos, os, los, las).

Marcos dejó a su mujer después de su luna de miel.
Marcos left his wife after their honeymoon.

Nuestras mujeres nos dejaron por otros hombres más jóvenes y guapos.
Our wives left us for other younger and more handsome men.

2. dejar (a alguien hacer algo) = to let /allow (someone do/to do something)

Notice that this meaning always requires a direct object or direct object pronoun (me, te, lo, la, nos, os, los, las) indicating who is allowed to do something. 

Sara tenía solo 14 años pero sus padres la dejaron hacerse un tatuaje.
Sara was only 14 but her parents let her get a tattoo.

Los dejaron sentarse en primera fila. ¡Qué suerte!
They let them sit in the first row. What luck!

Al final, mis padres dejaron a mi hermana ir a la fiesta.
In the end, my parents let my sister go to the party.

3. dejarse = to let yourself go (to neglect your appearance)

We use dejarse to express that someone has neglected his/her appearance. It often comes accompanied by words like "mucho", "un poco", "completamente".

Después de su cuarto embarazo, Marina se dejó por completo. Ahora está mucho más gorda.
After her fourth pregnancy, Marina let herself go completely. Now she is a lot fatter.

Mira a Carlos. Últimamente se ha dejado un poco. Hace 10 días que no se afeita.
Look at Carlos. He has let himself go recently. He hasn't shaved for 10 days.

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Daniel le dejó la bici a su hermano.
Daniel lent his bike to his brother.


¡Me he dejado el monedero en casa!
I left my change purse at home!


Nuestras mujeres nos dejaron por otros hombres más jóvenes y guapos.
Our wives left us for other younger and more handsome men.


¡Nos hemos dejado los documentos en la oficina! Tendremos que volver a recogerlos.
We left the documents in the office! We'll have to go and get them.


Marcos dejó a su mujer después de su luna de miel.
Marcos left his wife after their honeymoon.


Después de su cuarto embarazo, Marina se dejó por completo. Ahora está mucho más gorda.
After her fourth pregnancy, Marina let herself go completely. Now she is a lot fatter.


Al final, mis padres dejaron a mi hermana ir a la fiesta.
In the end, my parents let my sister go to the party.


Sara tenía solo 14 años pero sus padres la dejaron hacerse un tatuaje.
Sara was only 14 but her parents let her get a tattoo.


Nuestros abuelos nos dejaron su chalé para pasar las vacaciones.
Our grandparents lent us their chalet to spend our holidays.


Los dejaron sentarse en primera fila. ¡Qué suerte!
They let them sit in the first row. What luck!


Mira a Carlos. Últimamente se ha dejado un poco. Hace 10 días que no se afeita.
Look at Carlos. He has let himself go recently. He hasn't shaved for 10 days.


Q&A Forum 1 question, 1 answer

LilouC1Kwiziq community member

olvidar/olvidarse

Hello, could you make a lessn for olvidar and olvidarse please ? It's quite difficult for me to know when I must say olvidar and when I must say olvidarse.

Thank you very much !

Asked 2 weeks ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Lilou

Yes, noted.

Gracias

Inma

olvidar/olvidarse

Hello, could you make a lessn for olvidar and olvidarse please ? It's quite difficult for me to know when I must say olvidar and when I must say olvidarse.

Thank you very much !

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