The verb tocar in Spanish has at least three common uses, with two different constructions.
The first is its use as a transitive verb.
- Tocar –> touch. It’s used mostly like the English equivalent:
- He touched the carpet –> Él tocó la alfombra
- Don’t touch me! –> ¡No me toques!
Or even figuratively:
- The song touched my heart. –> La canción me tocó el corazón.
- Tocar –> Play (an instrument). It’s used just like the English “play” for instruments:
- My brother plays the piano –> Mi hermano toca el piano.
- I used to play the trumpet, but I stopped. –> Antes tocaba la trompeta, pero lo dejé.
The other common construction is similar to the verb gustar - it’s conjugated for the thing instead of the person – and it means to have to do something, or it is one’s turn for something, or it’s just one’s luck that something is as it is. Here are some examples:
- (It was just my luck that) I had to go to work on Saturday because my co-worker called in sick –> Me tocó ir a trabajar el sábado porque mi compañero se enfermó.
- We had to wait an hour for a table –> Nos tocó esperar una hora para una mesa.