Spanish Lessons


En la medida en que | a medida que

In our new video from Spain where Leif shares his ideas about architecture, he uses the expression en la medida en que (in that, to the extent that). This phrase can be easily mixed up with another equally common expression: a medida que (as, while). Let's review a couple of examples to learn when and how to use them properly.


En la medida en que (in that, to the extent that) is used to express the degree of correspondence between different actions or processes. Let's start with Leif's example:

El arquitecto se hace en la medida en que es un proceso

An architect is made to the extent that it [architecture] is a process

Caption 20, Leif -El Arquitecto Español y su Arte

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When used with the subjunctive, en la medida en que functions as a conditional expression:

En la medida en que los demás colaboren, lo haré yo también.
As long as others contribute, I will also do so.

Sometimes people drop the preposition en. This is not correct but extremely common:

Todo está en movimiento y en la medida (en) que se aproxima la celebración, se prepara el ambiente.

Everything is in movement and as the celebration approaches, the environment is prepared.

Captions 81-83, Estado Falcón - Locos de la Vela

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In fact, by looking at the translation of the previous example you can notice that the person talking should have used a similar expression instead: a medida que (as, while),which is used to express a parallel progression of two actions:

Además, es muy bonito porque la gente, a medida que va pintando, va comentando.

Besides, it's very nice because the people, while they're painting, are commenting.

Captions 57-58, Blanca y Mariona - Proyectos para el verano

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It's very common to use a medida que to give instructions for processes that require us to do more than one thing at a time, like recipes:

Entonces queremos ir mezclando a medida que vamos agregando la harina.

So, we want to be mixing while we are adding the flour.

Caption 35, Dany - Arepas

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Finally, there are two words that can substitute the expression a medida queconforme (as) and mientras (while). In the following quote, we have substituted these alternative to demonstrate their interchangeability.

Hasta después fui aprendiendo conforme se fue haciendo el cómic.

Hasta después fui aprendiendo a medida que se fue haciendo el cómic.

Hasta después fui aprendiendo mientras se fue haciendo el cómic.

Until later [when] I started learning as the comic was being made.

Captions 40-41, Antonio Vargas - Artista ilustración

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Thanks for reading!

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