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Understanding the Colloquial Spanish Word Venga in English

Have you ever heard the word venga in Spanish? If you have been studying Spanish for a while or have ever been to Spain, you have probably heard someone say this word. But, do you really know the meaning of the Spanish word venga? In this lesson, we will teach you seven different ways to employ this very useful colloquial term.

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But first, let's establish three important things. First, the word venga is the conjugation of the verb venir in the formal imperative (for the second person singular pronoun usted, which means "you"). Let's take a look at this very simple example of the traditional use of this word:

 

¡Estoy hablando con usted, señor! ¡Venga aquí, por favor!

I'm talking to you, sir! Come here, please!

 

Second, in addition to its formal use, as venga is a word that is used colloquially in multiple ways throughout Spain, if you are planning a visit to that country, we recommend familiarizing yourself with as many of these uses as possible. 

 

And third, much of the time, the Spanish word venga is roughly translated with the English expression "Come on." That said, let's take a look at the following uses of the colloquial term venga.

 

1. Motivation or Encouragement

One of the most common uses of the Spanish word venga is to motivate or encourage someone to do something. We can see this use in the following clips from our popular series Extr@: Extra en español:

 

Venga, cuéntamelo, Sam. No pasa nada.

Come on, tell me, Sam. It's no big deal.

Caption 50, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 7: La gemela - Part 4

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Venga, díselo.

Come on, tell him.

Caption 5, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam - Part 6

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In this context, you might also use venga to dare someone to do something:

 

No vas a atreverte. ¿Cómo que no? Venga.

You won't dare. What do you mean I won't? Go ahead.

Captions 1-3, Cortometraje Flechazos

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2. Giving Orders

Sometimes, in the context of giving orders, the word venga can be used in a more decisive manner:

 

¿Hay alguien? Conteste, venga.

Is anyone there? Answer, come on.

Captions 28-29, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 2: Sam va de compras - Part 4

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3. As a Synonym for "Let's Do It"

In this context, the word venga is usually used as a call to action to do something specific:

 

¿Sí? ¡Venga va! Vamos a corregir.

Yes? Come on! Let's correct [this].

Caption 91, Escuela BCNLIP Clase con Javi: el futuro - Part 6

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Venga, vámonos.

Come on, let's go.

Caption 60, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 3

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4. Expression of Agreement

Similar to the previous use, the word venga can be used to express agreement between two people. In this case, venga would be equivalent to saying "OK" in English. Let's see an example:

 

La semana que viene sin falta, a cenar a mi casa. Vale, te llamo. -Venga,

Next week no matter what, dinner at my house. OK, I'll call you. -OK,

Captions 95-96, Blanca y Mariona Vida en general

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You may notice that this use of venga very often comes up at the end of spoken conversations, especially on the telephone when one person indicates the end of the conversation with this word and the other person repeats it:

 

Venga. -Venga. Hasta luego.

OK. -OK. Bye.

 

5. As a Synonym for "Hurry Up"

People tend to repeat the word venga when they want to encourage someone to do something quickly. Let's see this use in action:

 

Venga, venga que es noche y... y las castañas sin coger.

Come on, come on, as it's getting late and... and the chestnuts haven't been picked.

Caption 63, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 4

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6. Asking Favors or Begging

Just like we use "come on" in English, we can use the word venga to ask someone to do something for us. Let's look: 

 

Venga, Sam. Tienes que vestirte de basurero.

Come on, Sam. You have to dress as a garbage man.

Caption 37, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 6: El día de la Primitiva - Part 5

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7. Expression of Disapproval or Disbelief

Just like the English expression "Come on," the Spanish word venga can additionally be used as an interjection to express astonishment, disbelief, or disapproval about something, as in the following example:

 

Pero venga, tío. Eso no tiene sentido.

But come on, man. That doesn't make sense. 

 

That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand the many meanings of the Spanish word venga, and if you ever go to Spain, we encourage you to use it. And, ¡​venga! Don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments.

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