Monthly Word / La palabra
June 2004 ~ Spanish that Works Review
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Ya / YAH (already, now,
You can use ya (already) to make
statements and questions. The translation may vary, but the general
meaning is something that is already happening now, or has already
Ya hablo español. (I already speak
Spanish. I speak Spanish now.)
Ya hay flores en el
jardín. (There are already flowers in the
Mi amigo ya tiene trabajo. (My friend
already has a job.)
Ya he estudiado la lección.
(I’ve already studied the lesson.)
¿Ya ha comido
usted? (Have You* already eaten?)
¿La sopa ya
está? (Is the soup ready yet - already?)
*Capital letter used on “You” to indicate the
polite, professional form of address. The word
usted (You) is used here for clarification, but is not
You can use ya no (no longer) with
a present tense verb to talk about something that used to happen, but
Ya no tengo miedo. (I no longer
have fear. I'm not afraid anymore.)
Ya no hay
problema. (There's no problem anymore.)
Ya no tengo
el coche. (I no longer have the car.)
Ya no hay
flores en el jardín.
(There aren’t any flowers in the
Mi amigo ya no tiene trabajo.
(My friend no longer has a job. My friend doesn’t have work
Ya, Now and
Although it can translate as
“now,” ya is different from ahora /
ah-OHddah (now). With ya, there is an additional
meaning of “already,” or that something that has been waited for has
“finally” happened. For example:
Ya tengo el coche.
(I already have the car now. Finally!)
tengo el coche.
(I have the car now. I might not have it
later, but I have it at this moment.)
Also, the word ya can translate
as “yet” when the meaning is “already” (“Is it done yet?” “Is it done
already?”) However, you can’t use ya no to mean “not
“Not yet” means something has not happened already. The
way you say “not yet” or “still don’t” in Spanish is todavía
no / toh-thah-VEE-ah NOH. The word
todavía all by itself means that you “still do”
something. Here are some examples to illustrate this important
Todavía tengo el coche.
still have the car. I’ve had it for some time.)
Ya tengo el
(I already have the car. I have it now, but didn’t
have it before.)
Todavía no tengo el coche.
don’t have the car yet. I still don’t have the car, I never had
Ya no tengo el coche.
(I don’t have the car
any longer. I had it already, but now I don’t anymore.)
beginning, it’s best if you just learn ya as “already”
and ya no as “no longer.” Then learn some expressions
that you can use right away to help you get an intuitive understanding
of how to use ya and ya
More uses of “Ya”
Ya can convey the meaning of immediate
importance, and may translate as “at long last,” “finally,” or “enough
For example, to tell kids to behave, parents will
sometimes just say ¡Ya! (That’s enough
You can also use ¿Ya? (Are you done
yet???) as a question all by itself, when you want to know if something
Sometimes ya is used when a speaker
wants to acknowledge what you are saying, even if he or she may not be
in complete agreement with you. In these cases, it can sound like the
person is saying “yeah” in English, but the meaning is more like “I
already know that.” For example:
El coche es
bueno... (The car is good...)
(I already know that, but...)
Other popular uses of
¡Ya basta! (It’s enough
Ya lo creo. (Certainly!)
NOTE: Literal translation
is "I believe it already."
Ya le pasará. (He or she will get over it,
it’s going to pass)
Ya se acabó. (It’s finished,
it’s over now.)
Ya me voy. (I’m leaving. I’m going
NOTE: You say
this when you are leaving to go out someplace.
¡Ya voy! (I’m coming! I’m going to where you
NOTE: You say this when
someone calls to you to come from another room.
A "dicho" or popular saying with ya
Ya cayó el chivo en el lazo.
translation: The goat already fell into the trap.
sought after is now guaranteed .
English equivalent: It’s in the
Imagine yourself in a pep rally,
like the kind they have corporate team-building meetings, having to
repeat silly things and clap hands ...
Say “yeah” (“yah”)
Say “yeah” (“yah”) ‘til you
can say it no longer!
¡Ya, ya, ya,
Ya no = no longer
está! = and that’s that!
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