Spanish Expressions Using ‘De Repente’ and Its Synonyms
There’s a chance you’ve heard the word de repente when practicing conversational Spanish. This unique expression is part of the collection of rich Spanish idioms native speakers use in different countries, and it’s widely understood.
De repente applies for surprises or situations that happen all of a sudden, but in the true nature of Spanish expressions, it can even go beyond that. Join me as I examine its many meanings and other expressions you can use to say “de repente” in Spanish.
De Repente As A Surprise
Picture yourself in a scenario where you’ve planned out everything and an unexpected surprise catches you off guard. In the Spanish-speaking world, this situation is something that pasó de repente, meaning it was sudden and no one saw it coming.
The expression de repente in Spanish comes from the noun repente, which means “unexpected burst” or “impromptu.” Joining the noun repente with the preposition de forms the adverb de repente.
De repente in Spanish describes actions of shock, revelation, astonishment, or those that occur out of the blue and suddenly. Sentences usually include de repente as a subordinate clause. Let’s take a look at a few examples of de repente in action:
Todo iba bien y de repente se canceló el evento.
Everything was going well, and suddenly the event got canceled.
Estaba distraída y de repente saliste en la televisión.
I was distracted and suddenly you were on television.
Todos estábamos buscando la respuesta y de repente él tenía la solución.
We were all looking for the answer, and suddenly he had the solution.
De repente in Spanish is not only for positive surprises but also for shocking or unfortunate situations beyond our control. For example:
Él era un hombre sano; de repente, esta enfermedad se apoderó de él.
He was a healthy man; all of a sudden, this disease took hold of him.
Estaba ahorrando para el viaje; de repente, tuve una emergencia familiar inesperada y ya no se pudo.
I was saving for the trip; suddenly, I had an unexpected family emergency and it was gone.
De Repente as a Possibility
Different Spanish speaking countries like Perú, Chile, and Venezuela use the expression de repente in Spanish for situations that may or may not happen. In this scenario, de repente translates to “perhaps,” “possibly,” “sometimes,” or “maybe” in English.
You can use de repente in Spanish as a response to a question and as a subordinate clause. Let’s look at some examples where de repente fits into these scenarios:
De repente nos puedes acompañar hoy por la tarde en mi cumpleaños.
Maybe you can join us later today for my birthday.
¿Crees que mi papá se enojó? De repente si está molesto.
Do you think my dad got angry? Perhaps he’s upset.
¿Crees que ganes el examen? De repente y si la logras.
Do you think you’ll pass the exam? Maybe you’ll pull it off.
Pensé que si te gustaba el pastel. Pruébalo, de repente si te gusta el chocolate.
I thought you liked cake. Try it, you’ll probably like the chocolate.
These are only a few example phrases, but de repente is a good idiom for responding to questions when your answer is a possibility. Give it a try and include it in your Spanish conversations!
Is it De Repente or Derrepente?
As you can see, the expression de repente in Spanish has plenty of variants. It’s also recognized by the Royal Spanish Academy as a part of colloquial vocabulary. But when it comes to de repente, a common mistake prevails among beginners and even experienced Spanish speakers.
Some people will write derrepente, which due to the way it’s pronounced and the phonetics makes sense. However it’s important you remember that repente is a word on its own that possesses its own conjugations like repentinamente or repentino. The expression de repente, is formed by the union of the noun repente with the preposition de, so in proper Spanish it should be written separately. Keep your eyes open for that frequent error that can easily be avoided!
Other Expressions and Synonyms for De Repente
Using de repente will make you sound like a true native Spanish speaker, blending in and out of conversations naturally. Various words and phrases may replace this word. Let’s take a look at some synonyms for de repente in its two uses:
De repente as a surprise
|de la nada||out of nothing|
|de sopetón||out of the blue|
|súbitamente||all of a sudden|
|de la noche a la mañana||from overnight|
|de un solo||in one go / just|
|de un arranque||in one start|
|de golpe y porrazo||all of a sudden|
Todo iba bien y de la nada todo salió mal.
Everything was going well, and out of nowhere, things went wrong.
Los tacos estaban deliciosos hasta que de pronto me salió un pelo.
The tacos were delicious until suddenly I found a hair.
No creí que me iban a invitar a la fiesta, así que de un solo dije que sí.
I couldn’t believe I was getting an invitation, so I just said yes.
De repente as a possibility
|al rato||after a while|
|capaz||there’s a chance|
|a lo mejor||likely|
|puede que||it might|
Yo se que estas cansada pero al rato y te animas a salir conmigo.
I know you’re tired, but after a while you’ll get the energy to go out with me.
Si Andrea no viene, capaz y nadie más quiere venir.
If Andrea doesn’t come, there’s a chance nobody else will.
Busquemos una mejor opción, puede que haya más alternativas.
Let’s look for a better option, there might be more alternatives.
¡De repente ya estás listo!
How do you feel after learning more about this expression? Are you ready to include de repente in Spanish in your day-to-day vocabulary? Book a free class with one of our native Spanish-speaking teachers from Guatemala, de repente it’s just what you need to improve your skills.
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