Today, I want to highlight a verb whose meaning you’ll probably instantly recognize, but whose uses you may be unfamiliar with. In English, we have the verb “to result”, but we don’t often use it in daily speech. When we do, it’s generally followed by a preposition like “in” or “from”. Examples in our language include:

  • “The famine resulted in a crisis between the two countries”
  • “The protests resulted from anger towards the president’s policies”

In Spanish, however, resultar is used a little differently. While not exactly a false friend, you can’t translate this verb literally. In English, “to result” carries the idea that something causes another thing to occur, as expressed in the first example aboveIn Spanish, however, it is incorrect to say resultar en. Native speakers would use verbs and expressions like causar, provocar, dar lugar a and tener como resultado to translate the first sentence: “La hambruna causó/provocó/dio lugar a/tuvo como resultado una crisis entre los dos países”.

The second sentence is possible with resultar, as the subject of the sentence is the effect rather than the cause: “Las protestas resultaron del enojo hacia las políticas del presidente”.

The most common use of resultar, however, parallels our English expression “it turns out that”. Examples include:

  • “Resulta que mi mamá no quiere que vaya a la fiesta” (It turns out that my Mom doesn’t want me to go to the party)
  • “Resulta que mi mejor amiga es una mentirosa” (It turns out that my best friend is a liar)
  • “La reunión resultó (ser) un desastre” (The meeting turned out to be a disaster)

When you use a verb after resultar, you need to add que (meaning “that”). When you use a noun or an adjective, you can add or omit, as you please, the verb ser.

This use of resultar is extremely common in daily speech and should be learned by any serious student. Although, in English, we could twist the verb “to result” to mean the same thing (i.e., “It results that my Mom doesn’t want me to go to the party”), no native speaker would seriously do that. This means that it’s best to treat resultar like a false “amigo”, even if its meaning isn’t completely different. Resulta que “resultar” no se usa igual en español…


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