One of the most versatile words in English is “stop”. While one of the most common translations of this word in Spanish is parar, the truth is that there are a lot of different ways to say stop in Spanish, with some small nuances between them.
Let’s see what those synonyms are and in which cases we should use each of them. Also, we’ll see some common phrases that include the word stop in Spanish.
Stop in Spanish at a Glance
All the Ways to Say Stop in Spanish
Many of the synonyms that we’ll learn in this section can be literally translated as “stop” and some others have very similar meanings. With the help of the examples we’ll give you, you will realize which ones are interchangeable and which ones are meant to be used in specific situations.
The first way to say “stop” in Spanish we’re going to learn is alto . This is a word that can be used in different situations. For example, the traffic signs that say “STOP” in English, say ALTO in Spanish (or at least in most countries).
Alto is also used with the adverb ahí to make someone stop what they’re doing. In this case, we use it as an imperative.
Alto ahí, estás yendo muy rápido y no te entiendo.
Stop right there, you’re going too fast and I don’t understand you.
We can also use it with the meaning of “halt”, either as a noun or as an interjection.
- Sugerí un alto a la violencia.
- ¡Alto! El puente está en llamas.
- I suggested a halt to violence.
- Stop! The bridge is on fire.
Watch out! As you might know, alto is also an adjective, meaning “tall”.
El edificio es alto.
The building is tall.
This is probably the most common verb we use to say “stop” in Spanish. Conjugated in the formal singular “you” (usted), we get pare, which is a polite way to ask someone to stop. As with alto, you can also see traffic signs that say PARE, depending on the country.
Pare, por favor. El piso está mojado.
Stop, please. The floor is wet.
Here are some other ways parar can be used:
- La maestra paró la pelea.
- Por fin paró de llover.
- Juana paró de comer.
- The teacher stopped the fight.
- It finally stopped raining.
- Juana stopped eating.
Detener or detenerse
The verb detener is usually used to stop something (or someone) in motion. The literal translation is “to detain”. It can be used in a similar way to parar. The difference is that detener is a bit more formal, and more often used in writing. Another meaning of the verb detener is “being arrested”.
- El árbitro detuvo el partido.
- Queda detenido por exceso de velocidad.
- The referee stopped the match.
- You are under arrest for overspeeding.
In the case of detenerse, the reflexive form is used. In which case, the reflexive pronouns me, te, se, nos, os or se, are associated with detener.
- Mi corazón se detuvo.
- Debo detenerme y pensar.
- My heart stopped.
- I must stop and think.
The verb interrumpir literally means “to interrupt”. We use it to express an unexpected detention or pause on something that is happening.
Debemos interrumpir el acto por la tormenta.
We have to stop the event because of the storm.
Poner fin a
Poner fin a is an expression that literally translates to “to put an end to”. It’s generally used for more metaphorical ‒or not so literal‒ expressions.
Necesito ponerle fin a esta relación.
I need to end this relationship.
The literal translation of dejar is “leave” or “drop”. But with the preposition de, dejar de means “to stop doing something”.
María dejó de hablar conmigo.
María stopped talking to me.
The verb impedir could be literally translated as “to prevent”. It is used to talk about things we want or wish to avoid.
No puedes impedir que se vaya.
You can’t stop him from leaving.
Different ways to ask someone to stop
Now that you know how to say stop in Spanish, we’ll see a list of common ways to ask someone to stop doing something in Spanish.
|¡Basta! No lo soporto más.||Stop it! I can’t take it anymore.|
|Eso es suficiente, te vas a tu habitación.||That’s enough, go to your room.|
|¿Puedes parar con ese ruido?||Can you stop making that noise?|
|Rubén, detente, me estás molestando.||Ruben, stop it, you’re annoying me.|
|Un momento, ¿a dónde crees que vas?||Wait a minute, where do you think you’re going?|
|¡Alto ahí! No te muevas||Stop there! Don’t move.|
Expressions and phrases with stop
Let’s take a look at some of the most common phrases with “stop” in Spanish.
|Spanish phrase||English equivalent|
|Parar en seco Luis paró en seco y me miró.||To stop dead in its tracks Luis stopped dead in its tracks and looked at me.|
|Sin parar ¡Baile toda la noche sin parar!||Non-stop I danced all night, non-stop!|
|Parar la bola Ahora necesito parar la bola y descansar un rato||To stop and think Now I need to stop and calm down for a while.|
|Ir a parar ¿Dónde iremos a parar?||End up Where will we end up?|