Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ponerse al día

I'm having trouble understanding and using the phrase:

Tengo que ponerme al día con....

One "phrase of the day" website gave this one example but not futher explanation: Tengo que ponerme al día con todas mis cosas. (I have to get everything done as soon as possible.)

A post in another forum gave the explanation as: keep up-to-date; keep me updated; keep me informed. An explanation in my idioms books is: to bring up-to-date. Me puso al día. (He brought me up-to-date.)

Although, I'm still not totally sure of the use of this phrase, I'm leaning towards using the phrase as a way to say "up-to-date." Here are some of my own examples, am I on the right track?

Tengo que ponerme al día con mis actividades. (I have to stay up-to-date with my activities)

Tengo que ponerme al día con las obligaciones bancarias. (I have to stay up-to-date with the banking obligations.)

Te podré al día. (I'll bring you up-to-date.)

Your assistance and examples of the use of this phrase will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

-Sparrow 4793

Well, I think that "I have to keep/stay up-to-date" is more like "Tengo que mantenerme al día".

"Ponerse al día" is a bit different.
Here are some examples where someone might say "Tengo que ponerme al día":
  1. You're behind with your tasks (i.e. slow or late in accomplishing such tasks), and you need to work in order to get everything done (as it should have been).

    For example, you had to stay home sick for a week. When you get back to work, you see a tower of pending requests on your desk. You say, "Tengo que ponerme al día". And, when you finish all your overdue tasks, you can say "Me puse al día".

  2. You failed to know/hear/view/experience a lot of things that happened during a period while you were absent. You say "Tengo que ponerme al día", meaning I need to know everything that happened.

    For example, you were on a trip. When you come back, you find out you missed a lot of things that happened while you were away. You realize "Tengo que ponerme al día". You can ask a friend/workmate to bring you up-to-date. (Le puedes pedir a un amigo que te ponga al día)

  3. You need to be more modern with your thoughts/customs.

    For example, your daughter and her friends are listening to some modern crazy music. Then, you found out the parents of her friends also like that kind of music while you still thinks the music that you used to listen when you were young is the coolest music ever. You may think "Tengo que ponerme al día"

Now, I don't think "Tengo que ponerme al día con todas mis cosas" conveys the same meaning as "I have to get everything done as soon as possible". However, it's a bit close to meaning #1.

Finally, a friend suggested the phrase "I have a lot of catching up to do" as a pretty close translation for "Tengo que poner al día". I agree with him. Thanks Altman9999!

- Karin

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