Quiero decir "The Olympic Games are taking place". ¿Hay alguna diferencia entre las siguientes posibles traducciones?

  1. ¿Está acaeciendo los Juegos Olímpicos?
  2. ¿Está efectuando los Juegos Olímpicos?
  3. ¿Está efectuandose los Juegos Olímpicos?


  • Do you mean taking place in the sense of happening right now or in the sense of clarifying where they are happening (normally followed by in a place name)? It might make a difference.
    – mdewey
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 15:28
  • Actually I just want to understand the usages of these 3 verbs because in the dictionary they all mean "happen" or "taking place". But I believe they would be different.
    – user468
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 15:34
  • Notice that you just include 2 verbs, not 3. Acaecer and Efectuar Maybe you would like to edit your question if you have a third verb in mind.
    – DGaleano
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 16:58

2 Answers 2


Firstly, los juegos olímpicos is a plural noun so you need the plural form of the verb estar. Second, your first and third sentences are grammatical and sound, although none of them sound quite right. This answer isn't about grammaticality but about how both verbs "sound", so there's a significant element of personal opinion that should be taken into account.

  1. Acaecer

¿Están acaeciendo los juegos olímpicos? isn't grammatically wrong but it sounds a bit stilted. Acaecer is a rather formal verb, not found too often except for certain nouns with wich it is commonly paired, such as hechos, eventos, sucesos, situaciones, fenómenos or acontecimientos, especially in journalese:

Cinco personas --tres de ellas niños-- que resultaron heridas en el accidente múltiple acaecido este jueves en la A-4 a su paso por Manzanares (Ciudad Real) continúan ingresadas en (...).


It may also be found with a subordinate clause introduced by que working as the subject of the sentence in literary contexts:

Pero acaeció que, mientras tanto, las tres hijas del rey estaban sentadas precisamente detrás de una cortina de la sala de recepción y oían aquellas palabras.

Blasco Ibáñez, Vicente (c 1916). Traducción de Las mil y una noches.

It is also found with noun phrases with the structure Lo + adjetivo:

Gussmann llevaba el germen de un arte moderno (...). Y acaeció lo inevitable. Gussmann creó escuela (...).

Badrinas y Escudé, Antonio (1917). Otto Gussman.

I can't tell you why, but with los juegos olímpicos it just doesn't sound right.

In case you are interested, the verb acontecer works just like acaecer and is probably a tad more common.

  1. Efectuar/efectuarse

Efectuar means "to effect", "to execute" or "to bring about", not so much "to happen", so ¿están efectuando los juegos olímpicos? doesn't really make sense. Now, it is also true that if something is effected, executed or brought about, it happens, so the middle voice for efectuar (efectuarse) should work. ¿Se están efectuando los juegos olímpicos? is actually what sounds best to me from your three options, but I still find it unnecessarily formal. I would expect to find sentences like Los juegos olímpicos se efectuarán según lo planeado on the news or in a newspaper, but not in a conversation. For many real life examples, you can change your google settings to Spanish, look up efectuar and click on Noticias.

All in all, a verb that means to take place and is used in colloquial Spanish as well as formal Spanish is tener lugar. Your sentence sounds incomplete with any verb I can think of, but you can say things like

Este año, los juegos olímpicos tuvieron lugar en Río.

and sound perfectly natural.

  • I regularly use acaecer, but it definitely sounds way off with Juegos Olímpicos, even acontecer doesn't really sound good to my ears. But like you, I can't really put my figure on why. It doesn't sound as bad if I use a durante, though, estos Juegos Olímpicos acaecieron durante una plena crisis política. Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 21:18
  • @guifa I see what you mean, but in your sentence acaecer makes it quite formal. If you "force" an informal context, it doesn't sound right anymore: Las fiestas que acaecen en mi casa durante el verano son una locura. Your sentence sounds perfectly fine, but I would only expect it to hear it on the news, in formal conversations or in a book.
    – Yay
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 21:34
  • yeah, definitely. Was just agreeing that the acaecer for some reason in the initial sentence sounds not just overly formal but wrong (for whatever reason) to someone who uses it with startling regularity :-) Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 21:36
  • ¡Gracias! >Acaecer is a rather formal verb, not found too often except for certain nouns with wich it is commonly paired, such as hechos,eventos, sucesos, situaciones,fenómenos or acontecimientos.. Do you mean usually it's paired with these words or these cases?
    – user468
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 6:12
  • I don't think I've ever heard the verb acaecer for events that are not in the past. Anyway, there are other verbs with similar meanings that do not sound right here either, even if they are not too formal, such as suceder and pasar. ¿Qué está pasando en Río? (sounds good). Los Juegos Olímpicos están pasando en Río (wrong). There is something subtler going on here.
    – Gorpik
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 8:30

You can use "tomar lugar". It is just like English. I was surprised when I came across this in my textbook a couple of weeks ago.

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