Solicitar vs Aplicar in Spanish: What’s the Difference?
Solicitar vs aplicar: that is the question.
These two words can cause some confusion depending on whether you’re studying Spanish from Spain or its Latin American version.
Originally these two words had totally different meanings. However, since all languages constantly evolve, the English influence on Spanish has made the difference less clear.
Can aplicar mean “to apply for a job”? Yes, and no. If you want to know why, keep reading!
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Solicitar Vs Aplicar – The Basics
Both solicitar and aplicar originate from Latin. Applicare in Latin means “attach to, join, connect,” and solicitare means “ask for, seek.” These Spanish words evolved from this origin and for a long time maintained their original meanings.
Similarly, the English words “to apply” and “to solicit” are also faithful to their Latin origins.
However, in 1851, the verb “apply” acquired a new meaning: to seek a job by submitting an application.
Because Latin American Spanish has been strongly influenced by American English—much more than Castilian Spanish has—the common English usage of the verb “apply,” to mean “apply for a job,” was soon considered a norm in American and Spanish-speaking countries.
In fact, this usage is still considered a mistake in Spain, but the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española recognizes that it’s correct in Latin American usage.
If you want to read more about the evolution of Spanish in Latin America, check out The Uncensored History of Romance Languages in Latin America.
And now, let’s have a detailed look at solicitar vs aplicar and see all the possible meanings and conjugation of these two verbs.
The Verb ‘Solicitar’ in Spanish
First, let’s check out the usage and conjugation solicitar.
3 Meanings of Solicitar
You will always see the Spanish verb solicitar used without a preposition, no matter its meaning.
1. To Request Something Officially
The most common usage of solicitar is as a formal synonym of pedir, meaning “to ask for” or “to request.”
El país solicitó ayuda humanitaria.
The country requested humanitarian aid.
Voy a solicitar un traslado en mi trabajo para estar más cerca de mi familia.
I will request a transfer in my job to be closer to my family.
2. To Look For
You can also use solicitar to mean “to seek” or “to look for.”
El gobierno está solicitando 4,000 enfermeras durante estos tiempos difíciles.
The government is seeking 4,000 nurses during these difficult times.
Tienes derecho a solicitar otras maneras de resolver el conflicto.
You have the right to look for other ways to resolve the conflict.
3. To Apply For
Finally, solicitar means to apply for a job, a position, or a scholarship.
Voy a solicitar este empleo.
I am going to apply for this job.
Deberías solicitar una beca para ayudar con los gastos.
You should apply for a scholarship to help with expenses.
Conjugation of Solicitar
Let’s see how the verb solicitar is conjugated in present, past, and future tenses. It’s a regular -ar verb, and is easy to learn.
Present Tense Conjugation Chart: Solicitar
Solicitar is regular in the first person of the present tense conjugation.
|yo solicito||I request|
|tú solicitas||you request|
|él, ella, usted solicita||he, she, it requests (formal you request)|
|nosotros solicitamos||we request|
|ustedes solicitan||you request|
|ellos, ellas solicitan||they request|
Los trabajadores solicitan más días de descanso.
The workers request more days off.
Preterite Tense Conjugation Chart: Solicitar
The verb solicitar is also regular in all forms of the Spanish preterite tense.
|yo solicité||I requested|
|tú solicitaste||you requested|
|él, ella, usted solicitó||he, she, it requested (formal you requested)|
|nosotros solicitamos||we requested|
|ustedes solicitaron||you requested|
|ellos, ellas solicitaron||they requested|
El año pasado los alumnos latinoamericanos solicitaron el 40% de las becas.
Last year Latin American students applied for 40% of the scholarships.
Future Tense Conjugation Chart: Solicitar
You’ll be happy to hear that solicitar is also regular in all forms of the Spanish future simple tense.
|yo solicitaré||I will request|
|tú solicitarás||you will request|
|él, ella, solicitará||he, she, it will request (formal you will leave)|
|nosotros solicitaremos||we will request|
|ustedes solicitarán||you will request|
|ellos, ellas solicitarán||they will request|
Solicitaremos ayuda en cuanto lleguemos a la costa.
We will seek help as soon as we reach the coast.
The Verb ‘Aplicar’ in Spanish
Let’s take a closer look at aplicar.
6 Meanings of Aplicar
You’ll see that all the uses of aplicar in Spanish are the same as of the English verb “to apply.”
1. To Apply, Put On
Aplicar can mean to apply a substance, such as a cream or lotion for example. You can use it with the preposition en to mean “to apply on.”
Tienes que aplicar la base antes de poner las sombras.
You have to apply the foundation before applying the shadows.
Aplica la pomada en la espalda.
Apply the ointment on the back.
2. To Administer
If you want to administer anesthetic or a procedure, use aplicar too.
Vamos a aplicar la anestesia antes de la cirugía.
We will apply anesthesia prior to surgery.
3. To Implement, Put Into Practice
If you want to implement rules, or put a method into practice, the right word in Spanish to describe it is aplicar.
No se aplicaron las reglas adecuadas.
The right rules were not applied.
Si aplicas el método científico, no hay manera de que cometas un error.
If you apply the scientific method, there is no way you can make a mistake.
4. To Impose A Punishment
You can also use aplicar to mean “to impose.”
Después de la rebelión, el gobierno aplicó fuertes sanciones.
After the rebellion, the government applied strong sanctions.
5. To Apply For A Job
Finally, here’s the controversial use, condemned by some Castilian linguists: “to apply for a job.”
Still, to use the verb aplicar in this way is correct in Latin America. It’s an intransitive verb in this usage, and you must combine it with the preposition a.
Quiero aplicar al puesto de gerente.
I want to apply for the position of manager.
Apliqué a tres universidades diferentes.
I applied to three different universities.
6. To Be Valid Or Relevant
Another meaning that is in use in Latin America is to have validity or relevance for something.
The discount does not apply to purchases made at the weekend.
The discount does not apply to purchases made at the weekend.
BONUS: Meaning of Aplicarse
And as a bonus, have a look at the pronominal verb aplicarse. If used with reflexive pronouns, this verb means “to apply oneself.” It’s usually used with the preposition a and rarely with the preposition en.
Me apliqué en los estudios.
I applied myself to my studies.
Se aplicaron a la labor de limpieza.
They applied themselves to the cleaning work.
Conjugation of Aplicar
Let’s take a look at the conjugation of the verb aplicar in present, past, and future tenses. Salir is an -ir verb with very few irregularities.
Present Tense Conjugation Chart: Aplicar
Aplicar is regular in present tense conjugation.
|yo aplico||I apply|
|tú aplicas||you apply|
|él, ella, usted aplica||he, she, it applies (formal you apply)|
|nosotros aplicamos||we apply|
|ustedes aplican||you apply|
|ellos, ellas aplican||they apply|
Aquí no aplican las reglas de tu país.
Your country’s rules do not apply here.
Preterite Tense Conjugation Chart: Aplicar
The verb aplicar is irregular in just one form of the Spanish preterite tense—the 1st person singular.
|yo apliqué||I applied|
|tú aplicaste||you applied|
|él, ella, usted aplicó||he, she, it applied(formal you applied)|
|nosotros aplicamos||we applied|
|ustedes aplicaron||you applied|
|ellos, ellas aplicaron||they applied|
Aplica la crema en el rostro por las mañanas.
Apply cream on the face in the morning.
Future Tense Conjugation Chart: Aplicar
Aplicar is regular in the future simple tense.
|yo aplicaré||I will apply|
|tú aplicarás||you will apply|
|él, ella, aplicará||he, she, it will apply (formal you will applyt)|
|nosotros aplicaremos||we will apply|
|ustedes aplicarán||you will apply|
|ellos, ellas aplicarán||they will apply|
Las reglas se aplicarán sin retraso.
The rules shall apply without delay.
Solicitar vs. Aplicar Quiz
Ready to check if you remember it all about solicitar vs aplicar? There’s only one correct option for each question.
- _________ a la universidad de California.
- _________ la ayuda del abogado.
- Las reglas no _________ aquí.
- _________ el puesto adecuado a tus talentos.
- _________ al puesto que más se adapte a tus talentos.
- Los científicos _________ la metodología adecuada.
- _________ apoyo internacional.
- _________ la beca económica.
- El castigó se _________ en todos los salones.
- _________ tu apoyo.
Keep Practicing Solicitar vs Aplicar
Great job! I’m sure you’re motivated right now to keep learning and that you have already decided if you should refer to the Castilian or Latin American version of Spanish.
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Answer Key to Solicitar vs Aplicar Quiz
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