Different meanings of perder/perderse (to lose/to get lost/to miss)

The verb perder and its pronominal form perderse can have different meanings. 

Perder algo 

Perder algo means to lose something; for example, you can lose an item, you can lose weight, you can lose control...

Ayer perdí mi anillo de compromiso.Yesterday I lost my engagement ring.

¡He perdido la cartera!I've lost my wallet!

Yo nunca pierdo nada, soy muy cuidadosa.I never lose anything, I am very careful.

Tengo que perder peso como sea en los próximos meses.I have to lose weight whatever it takes in the next few months.

Ese coche va a perder el control. ¡Mira qué rápido va!That car is going to lose control. Look how fast it's going!

This is a transitive verb with a direct object. 

 

Perder [transport/opportunity]

Perder used with transport or opportunity means to miss. For example:

Vamos rápido o perderemos el tren.Let's go quickly or we'll miss the train.

He perdido la oportunidad de verla. No sé cuándo volverá de nuevo.I missed the opportunity to see her. I don't know when she'll be back again.

The same way as with to lose, perder here is a transitive verb with a direct object expressing what is missed. 

Bear in mind that to express to miss someone, we do not use the verb perder, we use "echar de menos":

Te estoy echando mucho de menos.
I am missing you a lot.

Perderse 

To express to get lost we use perder in its reflexive form: perderse

For example:

Hola cariño, ¿te has perdido?Hello darling, did you get lost?

Si Laura es nuestra guía, es probable que nos perdamos.If Laura is our guide, we'll probably get lost.

Lleva este mapa contigo para no perderte.Take this map with you so you don't get lost.

Bear in mind that you can also say "you are lost" with the verb estar and the adjective perdido/-a:

¿Nos ayuda por favor? Estamos perdidos.Would you help us please? We're lost.

Perderse algo

To express to miss something with the specific meaning of missing out on something or missing part of something, because you were doing something else or being somewhere else, we use the verb perder in its reflexive form: perderse

-¿Visteis el espectáculo de ayer? -No, ¡qué pena! Nos lo perdimos...-Did you watch the show yesterday? -No, what a pity! We missed it...

Se acaba de perder la escena que ha montado su mujer hace unos minutos.You just missed the scene your wife made a few minutes ago.

-No, he decidido no ir a la fiesta. -Pues, ¡tú te lo pierdes!-No, I decided not to go to the party. - Oh well, your loss!

Remember that when we use perderse, we need to be careful where to place the reflexive pronoun and any other pronoun that it may have. The order to place the pronouns is the following:

First the reflexive pronoun, then any other pronoun:

  • ¡Te lo has perdido!
  • ¡Lo te has perdido!
  • ¡No quiero perdérmelo!
  • ¡No quiero perdérlome!
  • ¡No me lo quiero perder!
  • ¡No lo me quiero perder!

 See also Using the "accidental" reflexive (se) with an indirect object pronoun

 

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Examples and resources

¿Nos ayuda por favor? Estamos perdidos.Would you help us please? We're lost.
-¿Visteis el espectáculo de ayer? -No, ¡qué pena! Nos lo perdimos...-Did you watch the show yesterday? -No, what a pity! We missed it...
Tengo que perder peso como sea en los próximos meses.I have to lose weight whatever it takes in the next few months.
Lleva este mapa contigo para no perderte.Take this map with you so you don't get lost.
-No, he decidido no ir a la fiesta. -Pues, ¡tú te lo pierdes!-No, I decided not to go to the party. - Oh well, your loss!
Vamos rápido o perderemos el tren.Let's go quickly or we'll miss the train.
Yo nunca pierdo nada, soy muy cuidadosa.I never lose anything, I am very careful.
Si Laura es nuestra guía, es probable que nos perdamos.If Laura is our guide, we'll probably get lost.
Me perdí lo más interesante del documental porque llamaron a la puerta.I missed the most important bit of the documentary because someone knocked on the door.
He perdido la oportunidad de verla. No sé cuándo volverá de nuevo.I missed the opportunity to see her. I don't know when she'll be back again.
Ayer perdí mi anillo de compromiso.Yesterday I lost my engagement ring.
Hola cariño, ¿te has perdido?Hello darling, did you get lost?
Te vas a perder el principio de la película si no llegas pronto.You are going to miss [out on] the beginning of the film if you don't arrive soon.
¡He perdido la cartera!I've lost my wallet!
Se acaba de perder la escena que ha montado su mujer hace unos minutos.You just missed the scene your wife made a few minutes ago.
Ese coche va a perder el control. ¡Mira qué rápido va!That car is going to lose control. Look how fast it's going!
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