What does the Spanish phrase llevar a cabo mean in English? What are the most common translations of the phrase into English?

3 Answers 3


Llevar a cabo means "ejecutar o concluir" algo. Translated into English, it's to carry out.

There are a couple of meanings more, but they're not that much used.

  • 1
    I'd preferred to "accomplish"
    – leonbloy
    Commented Aug 5, 2013 at 12:27

The translation depends of the meaning, for example:

If the intention of the sentence is that "something is done by someone"

"La limpieza de la cocina es llevada a cabo por Juan"

I prefer to use "done"

"The kitchen cleaning is done by John"

Some Spanish synonymous are "realzar" or "ejecutar"

If the meaning of the sentence is that "something is concluded by someone"

"Juan ha llevado a cabo la limpieza de la cocina"

I prefer to use "accomplish"

"John accomplished the kitchen cleaning"
  • I disagree. The first sentence, though technically correct, sounds wrong in Spanish and not much better in English. As for the second, carry out cannot mean transport unless you insert an object between carry and out.
    – Gorpik
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 10:34
  • I use the first sentence in Spanish and for me it sounds natural. "Quién ha llevado a cabo tal cosa?". About the second, corrected.
    – Manuel
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 11:17
  • That is not the same sentence. What sounds quite unnatural is the passive form.
    – Gorpik
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 22:44

I prefer the translation: "to come to pass". The differentiation from other answers is that it doesn't imply automatically imply being completed by some*one* or some*thing*.

The event merely needs to occur.

For example:

"The destruction of Rome came to pass."

No one had to "carry out" the destruction. The destruction wasn't accomplished or completed by anyone.

It simply occurred. The destruction came to pass:

"Se llevó a cabo la destrucción de Roma."

  • -1 Quite the opposite. "Llevar a cabo" denotes a strong sense of agency that certainly implies that someone needs to carry out the task. The impersonal "se" in your last sentence is good proof that you can't escape the agent.
    – CesarGon
    Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 21:59
  • Reference? My destruction of Rome is a good example. Who is the agent? You don't know who, indeed even if there was an agent, and the sentence stands correct as it is. Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 1:44
  • Your Rome sentence is hard to assess without putting it in context, but it sounds awkward. Something like "Sucedió la destrucción de Roma" or "Ocurrió la destrucción de Roma" sounds much more idiomatic in Spanish, since you just want to describe that something happened without emphasising a particular agent. "Llevar a cabo" puts the focus on the agent.
    – CesarGon
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 8:17

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