How to Use the Expression ‘Hacer Caso’ in Spanish
Hacer caso is a common Spanish phrase that means “to pay attention.”
Let’s explore the world of idiomatic expressions in Spanish with the example of hacer caso.
In this article, I cover all the details on its meaning and show you how to use it naturally in a conversation. I also throw in synonyms and antonyms to enrich your vocabulary. Learn more idiomatic expressions and find out how to use caso in other useful daily phrases.
Defining ‘Hacer Caso’ in English
First, here are the possible meanings of the expression, hacer caso.
In English it translates to:
- to pay attention to
- to take notice
- to listen to
- to heed one’s advice
- to obey
Keep them in mind, as I’ll cover each of them in a moment.
As I mentioned, hacer caso is an idiomatic expression. That means translating the expression word for word won’t take you far. Hacer means “to make” and caso means “case,” but the whole expression doesn’t mean “to make a case.”
Idiomatic expressions (or idioms) are groups of words with a fixed meaning that’s not related to the individual meaning of its components.
It’s a brilliant idea to incorporate learning idioms into your Spanish routine. They go beyond the language itself and help you connect with the culture. Knowing idiomatic expressions is like being part of a secret society. You understand hidden meanings and become a competent speaker.
Hacer caso a vs Hacer caso de
There’s no difference in meaning between the two expressions, hacer caso a vs hacer caso de. In the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española (Royal Spanish Academy Dictionary) you’ll find out that the entries refer to one another.
- Yo hago caso a mi madre. – I listen to my mother.
- ¿Harías caso de lo que te dijo? – Would you listen to what he told you?
Nonetheless, it’s more common to hear hacer caso a than hacer caso de, so if you want to choose one, I’d go with the former.
What’s the Meaning of ‘Hacer Caso’?
Before we take a detailed look at the meaning of this expression, let’s quickly cover its grammatical usage in a sentence.
How to Use ‘Hacer Caso’ With Indirect Pronouns
You may use hace caso by itself or combine with an indirect pronoun. In any sentence that’s not in the imperative mood, the indirect pronoun goes before the verb. For example:
- Él no hizo caso – he didn’t listen
- Él no me hizo caso – he didn’t listen to me (indirect object is me)
If the verb is an imperative mood in affirmative form, the indirect pronoun goes immediately after and attaches to the verb.
- ¡Hazme caso! – listen to me!
Note that if you use the imperative mood in its negative form, the indirect object pronoun goes before the verb.
- ¡No me hagas caso! – don’t listen to me!
4 Meanings of ‘Hacer Caso’
1. To Pay Attention To
Se lo advertí pero no me hizo caso.
I warned him but he didn’t listen to me.
No le hagas caso. Tú sabes lo que vales.
Don’t listen to him. You know what you’re worth.
Se lo dije pero ella ni caso.
I told her but she didn’t listen.
¡Háganle caso al maestro!
Listen to the teacher!
Did you notice the contraction al in the last sentence? In Spanish, the prepositions a (to) and de (of, from) unite with the definite article el.
a + el = al
de + el = del
2. To Obey
Mi perro nunca me hace caso.
My dog never listens to me.
Sus hijos nunca le hacen caso y hacen lo que quieren.
His children never listen to him and do whatever they want.
Mis alumnos no me hacen ni caso.
My students don’t even listen to me.
3. To Heed a Request
Hazme caso y siéntate ahora mismo.
Listen to me and sit down right now.
4. To Give Credibility to Rumors or News
No les hagas caso a los rumores, nunca son ciertos.
Don’t listen to rumors, they are never true.
Haz caso omiso a lo que oyes aquí, la gente habla mucho.
Ignore what you hear here, people talk a lot.
As you can see, all the above meanings are similar to each other.
Synonyms of Hacer Caso
What if you want to avoid using this idiomatic expression and prefer to substitute it with a synonym? Here are some ideas.
Acatar – To Abide By
Tienes que acatar las leyes del país donde estás.
Tienes que hacer caso a las leyes del país donde estás.
You have to abide by the laws of the country you are in.
Obedecer – To Obey
Obedece a tu hermana.
Haz caso a tu hermana.
Obey your sister.
Tener en cuenta – To Take Into Account
Ten en cuenta lo que tus padres dicen.
Hazle caso a lo que dicen tus padres.
Be aware of what your parents say.
Dar crédito – To Believe
No le des crédito a todo lo que oyes.
No le hagas caso a todo lo que oyes.
Don’t believe everything you hear.
Escuchar – To Listen
Mis hijos nunca me escuchan.
Mis hijos nunca me hacen caso.
My children never listen to me.
Antonyms of Hacer Caso
Let me show you some phrases that mean the opposite of hacer caso.
Hacer caso omiso a/de algo/alguien – To Disregard Something or Someone
Mi perro hizo caso omiso a mis llamadas y corrió hacia el río.
My dog ignored my calls and ran towards the river.
Ignorar – to ignore
¡No me ignores, escucha!
Don’t ignore me, listen!
Desacatar – to disregard
¿Por qué siempre tienes que desacatar todas las normas?
Why do you always have to disregard all the rules?
Desobedecer – to disobey
Mis hijos me desobedecen.
My children disobey me.
Desconfiar – to distrust
Desconfía en todo lo que oyes.
Distrust everything you hear.
More Idiomatic Expressions with ‘Hacer’
Here are some expressions with the verb hacer that you can add to your linguistic arsenal:
Hacer de menos a alguien – To Look Down on Someone
No dejes que tus amigos te hagan de menos, eres hasta mejor que ellos.
Don’t let your friends look down on you; you’re even better than they are.
Hacer por hacer – To Do Something for the Sake of It
No me apasiona, lo hago por hacer.
I’m not passionate about it, I do it for the sake of doing it.
Hacerse presente – To be Present, To Come Into Play
Después de su discurso, el optimismo se hizo presente.
After his speech,optimism was present.
Check out Hacer vs Deshacer vs Rehacer to learn more about this verb family. To learn idiomatic expressions with other verbs, read:
- 50 Spanish Idioms to Use in Everyday Conversation
- 50 Ways to Say ‘To Take’ in Spanish (Plus Common Idioms)
- 45 Idiomatic Expressions Using ‘Por’
- 30 Spanish Expressions Using the Verb ‘Dar’
- 25 Essential Ways to Use the Verb ‘Echar’ in Spanish
6 Easy Ways to Use ‘Caso’
Last but not least, let me show you how to use the word caso in other useful Spanish phrases. As noted, the literal translation in English is “a case.”
En este caso, tengo que llamar a mi madre para que me aconseje.
In this case, I need to call my mother for advice.
Many Spanish-speaking people use the following expressions with caso on a daily basis.
El caso es que – The Fact Is That
El caso es que trabajas demasiado y necesitas descansar.
The point is that you work too much and need to rest.
En caso de – In Case Of
En caso de incendio, romper el vidrio.
In case of fire, break the glass.
En caso de que (+ subjunctive) – In The Case That
En caso de que salgas, déjame las llaves debajo del tapete.
In case you go out, leave the keys for me under the mat.
En todo caso – In Any Case
Puede ser una gripe o un resfriado, en todo caso, no tienes porqué preocuparte.
It could be the flu or a cold; in any case, you have nothing to worry about.
En el mejor/peor caso – In the Best/Worst Case
En el peor caso, tendrás que pagar la multa.
In the worst case, you’ll have to pay the fine.
Ser un caso perdido – To Be a Hopeless Case
Ni le digas nada, es un caso perdido.
Don’t even say anything to him; he’s a hopeless case.
Hazme caso and Study Spanish Idioms
Congratulations! You’ve learned what hacer caso means and how to use it correctly and naturally in Spanish. You learned antonyms and synonyms to this idiomatic expression and enhanced your vocabulary with more Spanish idiomatic expressions. You’ve taken another key step on your Spanish journey and are that much closer to fluency!
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