Spanish Lessons


The Spanish Word Entonces

Are you familiar with the word entonces in Spanish? While the common Spanish word entonces is often translated with equivalent English words like "then" or "so," the numerous meanings of this word are actually quite nuanced. Let's take a look at several of them.


1. At That Time, Moment, or Occasion

Like the English word "then," in this usage, the Spanish word entonces could generally be replaced with the English phrase "at that moment" to refer to an occurrence at a specific point in time. Let's see some examples.


At a Specific Point in the Past


entonces se escaparon. 

And then you guys escaped.

Caption 35, Guillermina y Candelario El mundo de los juguetes perdidos - Part 2

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When talking about the past, it is common to use some of the following expressions, which are usually translated as "at that time" or  "back then":


en aquel entonces

por aquel entonces

en ese entonces

por ese entonces 


Let's listen to some of these in context:


Lo que vivió Colombia en aquel entonces era realmente aterrador. 

What Colombia experienced at that time was really terrifying.

Caption 50, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 1 - Part 14

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En aquel entonces los niños todavía podían salir solos 

Back then children could still go out alone

Caption 2, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 9

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En mi urbanización, junto a la piscina, vive una amiga que por aquel entonces tenía una gata totalmente blanca y con un pelo precioso. 

In my housing complex, next to the pool, a female friend lives who back then, had a totally white cat with beautiful fur.

Captions 26-27, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata Poeska

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At a Specific Point in the Future


entonces sabremos que hemos hecho un buen trabajo. 

then we'll know that we've done a good job.

Caption 77, Ana Carolina La meditación

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Notably, entonces may be used along with the preposition solo (only) to describe a moment in time as the equivalent of the English expression "only then":


Solo entonces se sabrá quiénes son los mejores. 

Only then it will be known who are the best ones.

Caption 76, Región mundo Paso a paso - Part 5

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2. That Time, Moment, or Occasion

In this second usage, entonces is placed right after some preposition to refer to a period of time in the past. Let's examine how entonces can be used with a couple of prepositions. 


"Back Then"


In the following example, we see the preposition de  combined with entonces to mean "(from) back then":


Yo me imagino que los artistas de entonces 

I imagine that the artists back then

Caption 40, Leonardo Rodriguez Sirtori Una vida como pintor - Part 5

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"Ever Since"


The preposition desde can be combined with entonces to form the expression desde entonces, or "ever since" in English:


y esa es la razón por la cual resido aquí desde entonces

and that's the reason I've been living here ever since.

Caption 19, Adriana Mi historia con el café

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3. In That Case, Therefore, or Being So

Let's explore how the Spanish word entonces can also be used similarly to the English words "then" and "so" with various, more specific meanings.


With Conditional Sentences


In this scenario, entonces is used to describe what might happen if something else takes place first. 


Si vienes, entonces te invito a comer. 

If you come, then I'll treat you to a meal.

Caption 22, Ana Carolina Condicionales

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To Conclude What Was Previously Said


Eh... No tenía muchos órganos, no estaban desarrollados, porque había tenido poco espacio en el útero de la madre. Entonces, fue un bebé prematuro, 

Um... He didn't have a lot of organs, they weren't developed because he had had little space in the mother's womb. So, he was a premature baby,

Captions 46-48, Amaya El burrito Luz - Part 2

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To Elaborate on Something That Was Previously Introduced


Yo voy a decir unas frases, y... utilizando ustedes, y tú vas a decir la misma frase utilizando vosotros. ¿OK? Entonces comenzamos con la primera frase. 

I'm going to say some sentences, and... using "ustedes," and you are going to say the same sentence using "vosotros." OK? So, let's start with the first sentence.

Captions 52-54, Carlos y Xavi Part 2 Ustedes y Vosotros

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To Introduce a Question That Asks for Clarification


¿no es cierto? -No, tampoco es lugar para mí. Entonces ¿por qué vas? Porque estoy loco. 

isn't that right? -No, it's not a place for me either. Then, why do you go? Because I'm crazy.

Captions 63-65, Muñeca Brava 47 Esperanzas - Part 1

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To Make an Obvious Conclusion 


In this usage, the word entonces often appears within the expression pues entonces (well then). 


"¡Esto está superfrío y de todas formas no sé nadar". "Pues entonces no podemos ir allí, donde comienza el cielo", 

"This is super cold, and anyway, I don't know how to swim." "Well then, we can't go there, where the sky begins,"

Captions 40-42, Pigueldito y Federico El cielo

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With this use of the Spanish word entonces, we have reached the end of this lesson. We hope that you now feel more confident about using the word entonces in Spanish, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions¡Hasta la próxima!


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