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I've read that the verb "asumir" is a false friend, for example:

  • asumir: to accept, to take on
  • suponer: to assume

Therefore it is incorrect to use the verb "asumir" when trying to convey an assumption about something, and instead the correct verb is "suponer". However, I've heard native speakers use the verb "asumir" in that context; Google even translates the following example with it (link):

They assume he will win.

Asumen que él ganará.

Which verb should be used to assume something?

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  • 1
    "Asumir" has two meanings. I personally think it is a good idea for a Spanish learner to get in the habit of avoiding the "assume" meaning. But as you noticed, "assume" can be used with the other meaning, so it's good to be aware of that, to increase your understanding. Nov 1 '19 at 4:43
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    Here's the thing: English speakers go around saying: I assume that means etc, for example, and that is not asumir in Spanish: It's suponer. To assume the cost of something=that is asumir. So, it is partly a false friends as the main usage of assume in English is suponer in everyday parlance.
    – Lambie
    Nov 6 '19 at 23:45
  • @Lambie - I'm with you on this one. Why don't you contribute an alternative answer here? Jan 13 '20 at 3:58
  • @aparente001 Because one answer has a bunch of agrees and I don't feel like fighting the current today. Happy New Year to you. :)
    – Lambie
    Jan 14 '20 at 17:20
  • @Lambie - Igualmente. Maybe you'll feel like it later. I agree that the simple answer is suponer. Jan 14 '20 at 19:37
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"asumir" is actually used in Spanish to mean "assume" (in the sense of "suppose").

Here we can read the following:

En el siglo xix amplía sus sentidos por influjo probable del inglés y en el español actual significa también ‘adoptar o adquirir [algo no material]’: «Manchester asumió una expresión de fastidio» (Otero Temporada [Cuba 1983]); «Su piel se asedaba, asumía una tersura vegetal» (Delibes Madera [Esp. 1987]); y ‘dar por sentado o por cierto’: «Los liberales piensan de otra forma, siempre y cuando asumamos que los liberales piensan» (Información [EE. UU.] 1996).

The definition above, where "asumir" is said to mean "dar por sentado" or "dar por cierto" (take for granted / regard as true), shows that the meaning (and use) of "asumir" in Spanish is not as extended as that of "assume" in English, where it can be used in different tenses and in any case where "suppose" is used (whenever "assume" refers to a mental process). Instead, it's not always safe to use "asumir" to mean "suppose", as "asumir" is more like "presuppose".

Thus, while in English we can say.

  • I assume he's right. (meaning "I guess he's right")

in Spanish I would tend to say:

  • Supongo que tiene razón.

I would reserve "asumir" for cases where the supposition is used as a basis for some later course of action (that's why I say it is more readily associated with a premise), for example:

  • When I decided to follow his advice, I assumed he was right.

  • Cuando decidí seguir su consejo, supuse/asumí (= di por sentado) que tenía razón.

When this is the meaning that wants to be conveyed, "dar por sentado" or "dar por hecho" (take for granted or take as a fact) can be a safer way of saying "assume" in Spanish without falling back on the English cognate.

For further reference see Fundéu.

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  • I think you could strengthen this answer by preparing somehow for the last paragraph. In the context of what you wrote in the first part, that last paragraph comes rather abruptly. // You could also distinguish between the positive case and the negative case (e.g. Supongamos que etc. vs. No hay que dar por sentado/tomar por dado). Nov 1 '19 at 4:45
  • @aparente001 You're right. I've expanded my answer.
    – Gustavson
    Nov 1 '19 at 14:21
  • In English, where we say I assume whatever, in Spanish, one would say Supongo que. Unless you actually speak the languages fluently, this is not something you would pick up on. So, yes, they mean the same thing, but are used a bit differently in each.
    – Lambie
    Sep 13 at 17:27
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I think the confusion here is that the Spanish definition of "asumir" coincides in a number of situations with "assume" in English, but it definitely does not work both ways. The word "assume" in English is normally translated as "dar por supuesto" or "dar por sentado" in Spanish. They coincide in certain expressions like "assuming responsibility for something" or "taking control," but the Spanish 'asumir' doesn't take on any more meanings. False friend? Not really because they can mean the same thing. But the word "assume" in English has other meanings than the Spanish word "asumir."

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    Actually, where you say in English "I assume such and such", Spanish speakers would say: Supongo que etc. Not dar por supuesto. That's take for granted.
    – Lambie
    Sep 13 at 17:25
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It's not a 'false friend', it means the same in Spanish

  • suponer

    Supongo que sabe de lo que habla por que tiene estudios superiores en ese campo

used as a synonym of

  • asumir

    Asumo que pensaron muy bien el plan que ahora están dando a conocer

-

Also note that there are other possible ways to convey that meaning, like

  • dar por sentado o dar por hecho

    Dando por sentado [ / por hecho ] que hicieron su parte de investigación exhaustivamente, voy a dar anuncio a la reunión para que la expongan ante el directorio

and even (in the sense of consent consentir, —believe, or take something as true [creer o tener algo por cierto])

  • aceptar (como dar por cierto)

    Aceptando que hayan dejado todo en orden, les digo que pueden salir ahora

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  • It is not a false friend, but the Spanish always say suponer where we would say assume. Supongo que etc. I assume that. That is a fact.
    – Lambie
    Sep 13 at 17:26

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