Spanish Word of the Day Archive
Monday May 7, 2007

cumplir, verb:
to be

We’ve already seen that cumplir can mean to carry out and to keep. It is also the word you use when talking about birthdays and people’s ages.

Mañana cumple treinta y siete años.
Tomorrow she’s going to be thirty-seven.

If someone tells you it’s their birthday, and you want to ask them how old they’re going to be, the question is:

¿Cuántos años vas a cumplir?
How old are you going to be?

And you use the phrase cumplir años to talk about someone having a birthday.

Hoy cumple años Eric Cantona, el futbolista.
Today is Eric Cantona, the footballer’s, birthday

The expression cumplir + time expression + de + noun is used in Latin America to mean to have been (doing) something for...

Mañana cumplo diez años de servicio para esta compañía.
Tomorrow I’ll have been working for this company for ten years.

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