Así es! The Ultimate Guide to Using ‘Así’ in Spanish
Así in Spanish is a cute little word that can take a long time to understand and master. Quite often it appears in combination with other cute little words and can completely change the meaning of the whole phrase.
Therefore, it’s important for us to understand how it works, and learn some basic expressions.
Beginners first learn that así in Spanish means “this way”, but you’ll see that’s only the tip of the iceberg!
I’ll show you here other meanings of así depending on its function in a sentence, and I’ll provide you with a handful of useful expressions to impress your Spanish-speaking friends.
Así que, ¡empecemos!
So, let’s get started!
What Does Así Mean?
If you start looking for a meaning of así in Spanish, you may encounter guides with unbearably long lists of apparently different meanings.
¡No es así!
It’s not true, or at least not completely true.
Así in Spanish is a polysemic word, which means that it has multiple meanings, but within the same semantic field—all with the same origin and related senses.
Sometimes, you may not find the words to be that similar, but if you dig into the history of language, you’ll find it.
It’s also not the most polysemic word in comparison to, let’s say, pasar—that, according to the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española, has 64 simple meanings without counting the expressions.
Don’t worry, I’m not here to give you a lecture on the historical grammar of así in Spanish, but I will try to make it simple for you.
To begin with, let’s cover the fact that así in Spanish can work as:
- An adverb
- An adjective
- A conjunction
- An interjection.
If you choose to brush up on the main 8 Parts of Speech in Spanish Grammar, you’ll be uniquely positioned to understand the parts of speech that I explore below. But if you’d rather not deep-dive into a thorough revision at the moment, I’ve got you covered with a quick cheat sheet below.
Así as an Adverb
You might remember that adverbs describe verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, and complete phrases. When you use así as an adverb, you can usually translate it into “so,” “in this/that way,” and “thus.”
Let’s see some specific situations and examples.
1. To Gesture the Way or Manner
If you want to emphasize the way you just gestured or are going to gesture:
¿Te gusta así el café?
Do you like your coffee this way?
Pasó así: la niña iba caminando y no vio el hoyo.
It happened this way: the girl was walking and didn’t see the hole.
2. To Graduate the Quality
When así is followed by the preposition de, you can use it to emphasize another adjective or adverb.
No te recordaba así de alto.
I didn’t remember you that tall.
3. To Show a Result or Consequence
In this situation you can translate así into “therefore” or “thus.”
Las dos eran muy trabajadoras, y así hacían unos gran proyectos.
Both of them were hardworking and thus they always did great projects.
4. To Give Examples
You can use así as a synonym to por ejemplo.
América Latina engloba países muy distintos en cuanto al clima. Así, Argentina y Guatemala en Diciembre tienen temperaturas muy diferentes.
Latin America encompasses very different countries in terms of climate. For example, Argentina and Guatemala in December have very different temperatures.
Así as an Adjective
Adjectives describe nouns, so you can also use así to describe people, animals, or objects. If you use así in Spanish as an adjective, it’ll mean “similar” or “of this/that type.”
Con personas así no se puede hablar.
You can’t talk to people like these.
Así as a Conjunction
Conjunctions are tiny words used to connect words, clauses or sentences, and you can also use así in Spanish as a linking word.
1. Meaning “Both” / “in the Same Way”
Así can be used as a synonym to tanto together with another conjunction como.
Los vegetales son muy saludables, así las zanahorias como los pepinos.
Vegetables are very healthy, both carrots and cucumbers.
2. Meaning “Even if”
Watch out, because in this meaning, así will be always followed by a subjunctive. Used like this, it is a synonym to aunque.
La haré, así tenga que trabajar todo el día.
I will do it, even if I have to work all day.
3. To Indicate Difference or Alternative
You can also use así in Spanish to link options, alternatives, or differences. If it is followed by a verb, it’ll be in a subjunctive form.
Lo encontrará, así sea dentro de una hora, así dentro de un mes.
He will find it, whether it be in an hour, or even a month from now.
Así as an Interjection
Interjection is a small word or phrase that can stand alone and which expresses the emotion or feeling of an author. If we use así as an interjection it can be compared to how we use ojalá. We use it to express strong hopes and wishes.
I hope he dies!
Useful Expressions with Así
1. Así así – so-so
A whole debate exists on whether the use of así in this way is a direct English translation of the expression “so-so,” and if it’s ever used by Spanish native speakers. Well—yes, it is. You’ll hear it quite often, and you can use it as a synonym to más o menos.
How are you?
2. Así como
Meaning “As Well As”.
You use it to introduce the last element of a list.
Vinieron sus papás, sus amigos, sus hijos, así como sus alumnos.
His parents, his friends, his children, as well as his students came.
Meaning “Just As”
You can use it to express that two things happened immediately one after another.
Así como llegó, le dio un abrazo.
Just as he arrived, he gave her a hug.
3. Así como así – Just like this
You use así como así to say that something is done without effort or ponderation, and you can substitute it with the following interchangeable expressions:
- así que sí
- así o asá
- así o así
- así que asá
- así que asado
Lo has hecho así como así, sin seguir las instrucciones.
You have done it just like that, without following the instructions.
¡No puedes tomar una decisión tan importante así que asá!
You can’t make such an important decision just like this!
4. Así de – Much
You can also use así in Spanish to emphasize a great quantity.
Aunque llegamos temprano, había así de gente.
Although we arrived early, there were so many people.
5. Así pues / así que – So, therefore
This expression is also used to indicate a consequence or a result.
Comí demasiado, así pues, no me podía mover.
I ate too much so I couldn’t move.
Hacía calor así que fuimos a la playa.
It was hot so we went to the beach.
Phew! That was a lot, wasn’t it? Well, it may seem a bit overwhelming at the beginning but if you read it closely again, you’ll see that almost all the uses of así in Spanish are close in meaning. Practice makes perfect and this is a great opportunity to try out all the above expressions in 1-on-1, real-time conversations in Spanish with our friendly native-speaking teachers.
¡Así que, manos a la obra y regístrate para una clase gratuita!
So get to work and sign up for a free class!
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