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Flashcards in Sentence starters . . . Deck (16)

Well, . . .

Well, I'm going now.

Bueno, . . .

Bueno, ya me voy.

Prefaces comments and tends to tone down their hastiness or prepare the listener for a message. "Bueno" often insinuates a "stop" into an ongoing conversation or activity.


Well, then . . . (or "ummmm" or "let's see")

Pues . . .

It means, in short, that you are thinking about your response and would like your listener to hold on for a few seconds while you try to bring order to the mind chaos reigning in your head. Often, "pues" is accompanied by eyes rolling about, looking up, or darting off to some distant object and other telltale and foolproof signs of intense mental activity.


Then, . . .

Then, I called the police. Then, Juan hid (esconder) the you-already-know-what.

So, so then . . .

So, what do we do?

Entonces, . . .

Entonces, yo llamé la policía. Entonces, Juan escondió la tú-ya-sabes-que.

Entonces, ¿ qué hacemos?

Usually crops up on storytelling situations, as when you are relating what happened in chronological order. But you will also run across it in present-time situations where it translates more like "so" or "so then."


Then (or "later") . . .

First I'm going to take a bath, then I'm going to the store and then to your house.

Luego . . .

Primero, me voy a bañar, luego voy a la tienda y luego a tu casa.

"Luego" tends to be reserved more for time constructions and often works better as "later" than as "then." "Entonces" implies "and then (as a result)," whereas "luego" is often simply "and then (in sequence)." It works as "later" when you're putting something off into an indistinct future (hasta luego).


By the way (or "in reference to that") , . . .

It's nine o'clock. By the way, weren't you going to call Juan?

a propósito . . .

Son las nueve. A propósito, ¿ no ibas a llamar a Juan?

Usually announces a change of subject or indicates that the speaker has been reminded of something else that needs relating.


By the way . . .

By the way, isn't anyone hungry?

Por cierto . . .

Por cierto, ¿ nadie tiene hambre?

This phrase is better for changing the subject when no apparent cause for it exists.


It's that . . .

No, it's that he doesn't want to go to the store.

Es que . . .

No, es que no quiere ir a la tienda.

"Es que" often introduces a negation or qualification of a preceding statement. It doesn't always, but it does require a preceding statement of some sort to build from.


It's that . . .
(lit., "that which happens is that . . .")

Why is Juan unhappy? It's that he is enamored with Maria.

Lo que pasa es que . . .

¿ Por qué es Juan triste? Lo que pasa es que está enamorado de Maria.

This is a very typical, very natural, very unnecessary phrase to add on at the beginning of your thought to make yourself sound more fluent. It can be used in the same instances that "es que" can be used--which is to say practically anytime.


The truth is that . . . (or "the truth of the matter is") . . .

Everything O.K.? Well, the truth of the matter is that the soup is a little salty.

La verdad es que . . .

¿ Está bien? Bueno, la verdad es que la sopa es un poco salada.

This is often a good translation for "actually," which many English speakers use to start a sentence and which, as beginning Spanish speakers, they tend to translate as "actualmente." Sadly, "actualmente" doesn't mean "actually" but "at present" or "currently." So, you're left with "la verdad es que" or some other substitute.


It turns out (that) . . .
It turned out (to be) . . .

We went to the movie but it turns out that they close on Fridays.

His party turned out to be a disaster.

resulta (que)

Fuimos al cine pero resulta que cierran los viernes.

Resultó que (ser) un desastre su fiesta.


Answering questions that begin with "¿qué?" or when you repeat something.

What's up?
We're going to have an exam tomorrow.

Juan isn't at his house.
What do you say?
Juan isn't at his house.

¿Qué pasó?
Qué mañana vamos a tener un examen.

Juan no está en su casa.
¿Qué dices?
¿Qué Juan no está en su casa.


"So" at the start of a sentence.

So you wanna be a rock and roll star?
So you're really going to leave me?

Así que

¿Así que quieres ser una estrella de rock?
¿Así que de verdad me vas a dejar?


"Look . . . ". (not "mira")

Look, they're going to close the freeway tomorrow.
How about that? Robert Redford wears (uses) the same shoes as you.

Fíjate (que)

Fíjate que van a cerrar la autopista mañana.
Fíjate que Robert Redford usa los mismos zapatos que tú.


"Look!" or "Look here,"

Look, I never said you couldn't go. (Using "tú" imperfect subjunctive (pudieras) of "poder.")


Mira, yo nunca dije que no pudieras irte.


No way that . . . (subjunctive to follow)
(lit., "neither way that . . . ")

No way I'm going to tell them the truth!

ni modo que

Ni modo que les diga la verdad.


It's just as well . . .
Good thing . . .
(lit., "less bad that . . . ")

Good thing you brought an umbrella because it's going to rain.

menos mal que

Menos mal que trajiste una paraguas porque va a llover.