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Quick question, I want to know how to say "cast a spell on [something]".

My initial thought was "lanzar un hechizo sobre [algún]" but I'm not sure if I'm being too literal with the translation from English.

Other words I came across are embrujar and hechizar, but I worry that embrujar may connote additional things (like witches or shamanism), and I wouldn't know how to form a sentence from hechizar.

To be more specific, I mean in the high fantasy / RPG sense, for example, in a video game, saying:

A wizard cast a spell on a monster, it was super effective.

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    Did it really say "*casted"? "cast" is an irregular verb (past and past participle: cast/cast) – Gustavson Mar 23 '17 at 20:47
  • @Gustavson I hadn't thought of that until now! As far as I'm aware, both are in use for preterite past and imperfect past, but there is definitely a feeling of "cast" being more correct. verbix.com/webverbix/English/cast.html – JEllis Mar 24 '17 at 10:06
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    That [algun] is a bit off on two counts: 1) if you are going to use that word, it's algún, with tilde. 2) in this case, if it's a thing it's "algo", if it's a person it's "alguien" or perhaps "alguno" (which would be more like "some guy" that like "someone". – Wences Mar 27 '17 at 4:12
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"lanzar(le) un hechizo sobre algo/alguien" is absolutely OK (the "le" is optional, the higher the register, the less frequent it becomes)

(but notice that it does not imply success... he might have "thrown" (lanzar) the spell and missed (or it might have been ineffective or whatever).

Other alternatives:

"ponerle un hechizo a algo/alguien" I can't say why, but it sounds horrible.

"hacerle un hechizo a algo/alguien" Same thing.

"hechizar algo/a alguien" Notice that the "a" preposition is used for people and animals in this case, but not for things. (elfs, fairies, angels, etc do count as people for this).

"embrujar algo/a alguien" Same thing: "a" for animate beings only. All those imply success. The victim was effectively left under the effect of the spell.

If in the context of some kind of fight or battle between sorcerers, you could also use:

"tirarle un hechizo a alguien/algo" (compulsory "a" also for inanimate)

"le tiró con un hechizo a algo/alguien" (slightly different meaning: "shot at someone/something with a spell" as if the spell were some kind of ammunition or projectile) (rather informal)

Those two don't imply success, and the last one in particular leaves ample room for failure.

Embrujo and hechizo aren't the same thing. An embrujo is always bad, evil. An hechizo could be good, it could protect someone, or make him/her look better. An encantamiento is normally good (and related to "me encanta" and "encantado/a de conocerle").

Some possible translations of the sentence you proposed:

Un hechicero lanzó un embrujo sobre un monstruo; fue extremadamente exitoso. (Now the monster will be a frog until a princess kisses it)

Un brujo hechizó a un monstruo; fue muy exitoso (Now the monster is frozen, or mesmerized...)

Un hechicero embrujó a un monstruo; fue re-exitoso <--- re-exitoso is dialectal, from Argentina and Uruguay (In need of a princess again)

Un hechicero le lanzó un encantamiento a un monstruo; fue súper exitoso (Now the lizard is competing for Miss Universe, but súper, even with the tilde on the ú is still not real Spanish)

Un mago encantó a un lagarto... etc.

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  • Well I used "exitoso" in all my translations, out of memory, but you wrote "effective" that would be better translated as "efectivo" or "eficaz". – Wences Mar 27 '17 at 4:14
  • +1 I appreciate the thorough response! I admit that I used Pokémon as a reference point and imagine that I wouldn't usually encounter "effective" as the accompanying adjective outside of a video game context. – JEllis Mar 27 '17 at 9:15
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Your initial thought is spot on

Sometimes the literal translation is simply the right one. :)

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