I am confused by this list of words like tener. Is it correct that DETENER means both to stop and arrest? This seems logical. MANTENER seems to mean both maintain and to keep, but what is the distinction between MANTENER and MATENER? Does SOSTENER mean both to support and to maintain? Does it also mean to sustain?
Yes, these verbs have more than one meaning, depending on how they are used. For example:
¡Detén al hombre que está corriendo!
Stop the man who is running!
El policía detuvo al ladrón.
The police officer arrested the thief.
Mantuvo al herido caliente con una manta.
He kept the wounded [person] warm with a blanket.
Él mantenía a una familia de 7 personas con su salario.
He maintained/supported a family of 7 with his salary.
Yo soy la que sostiene a la familia.
I am the one who maintains/supports the family.
No pude sostener la bandeja porque pesaba mucho.
I couldn't hold the tray because it was very heavy.
Note that "matener" was a typo. It was meant to say "mantener" again.
So, you can see how the different of these verbs change depending on how you use them.
Hope it helps
Thanks for the explanation, Inma
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