What verbs in Spanish are used to express the concept of "getting ready" or "getting dressed" (for example, before leaving the house to go out to dinner)? I've seen alistarse, arreglarse, prepararse, disponerse, and aprontarse. What is the difference between these words? Are they all used in different regions, or do they actually imply different things?

3 Answers 3


All these words are used in any Spanish-speaking country but they are not synonyms.

Alistarse is used to indicate that you are getting ready but is also used in the context of getting dressed. You can see RAE's entry for alistar.

Preparar and Alistar, for example, have different meanings.

Me voy a preparar para el examenMe voy a alistar para el examen. The first sentence indicates that you are going to prepare (by studying) for the exam. The second sentence means that you are getting ready to take the exam.

Aprontarse means doing something without delay: Me voy a aprontar a terminar el informe. but I'd prefer Me voy a afanar a terminar el informe.

In conclusion: go get dressed --> Vístete, Go get ready --> Alístate.

  • 2
    Never heard alistarse with that sense. Alistarse in Spain means enrol, like in "alistarse en la marina".
    – CesarGon
    Commented Jan 21, 2012 at 0:37
  • @CesarGon interesting... Look at the RAE entry I linked. At least in Colombia "alístate para que salgamos" is very common.
    – Icarus
    Commented Jan 21, 2012 at 1:17
  • Fair enough. ;-)
    – CesarGon
    Commented Jan 21, 2012 at 3:25
  • alistarse is very common in my beautiful country too
    – César
    Commented Jan 21, 2012 at 14:04
  • @Icarus: It seems that in Spain we mostly use the first entry for alistar, the one coming from lista.
    – MikMik
    Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 12:35

Getting ready is prepararse (for do something). You can use arreglarse but has a little difference; when you dress with your best suit (for be handsome/pretty).

getting dressed is vestirse.

Alistarse is used, for example, Alistarse en la marina is join the Navy.

Disponer has differentes meanings, but in this context, is similar to getting ready (but not used).

Aprontarse is Prevention, have promptly. As disponer it's not a tipical word.


This is valid for Spain:

  • to get ready: preparar; to get oneself ready: prepararse
  • to get dressed: vestir: to get oneself dressed: vestirse

For example:

  • Get that report ready by tomorrow, please: Por favor, prepara ese informe para mañana.
  • I got dressed as soon as I could: Me vestí tan pronto como pude.

In general, verbs of the form "to get x" applied to oneself are constructed in Spanish reflexively, using the "-se" suffix in infinitive or the corresponding object pronoun when conjugating.

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