Spanish Lessons


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.


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.


El Zodiaco 101

What is el Zodiaco (the zodiac)? In la astronomía (astronomy) and la astrología (astrology), this word (or its alternative spelling, Zodíaco) refers to a band in el cielo (the sky) that los cuerpos celestes (celestial bodies) like el Sol (the Sun), la Luna (the Moon), and los planetas (the planets) appear to move through when viewed from la Tierra (the Earth). This band includes twelve constelaciones (constellations) named for los signos del Zodiaco (the zodiac signs), which said celestial bodies are said to be "in" when moving into the portion of this band that includes them. One's zodiac sign is thus determined by the constellation the sun was in on his or her fecha de nacimiento (birthdate in Spanish).


Signos y fechas (Signs and Dates)

Armed with this understanding, let's take a look at the Spanish names for the twelve signs of the zodiac, as well as the date ranges for each (you might want to review this lesson on the months in Spanish):


Aries21 de marzo al 19 de abril

                (Aries: March 21st to April 19th)


Tauro: 20 de abril al 20 de mayo

                (Taurus: April 20th to May 20th)


Géminis:  21 de mayo al 20 de junio

                (Gemini: May 21st to June 20th)


Cáncer:  21 de junio al 22 de julio

                (Cancer: June 21st to July 22nd)


Leo: 23 de julio al 22 de agosto 

                (Leo: July 23rd to August 22nd)


Virgo: 23 de agosto al 22 de septiembre

                (Virgo: August 23rd to September 22nd)


Libra: 23 de septiembre al 22 de octubre 

                (Libra: September 23rd to October 22nd)


Escorpio/Escorpión23 de octubre al 21 de noviembre 

                (Scorpio: October 23rd to November 21st)


Sagitario: 22 de noviembre al 21 de diciembre 

                (Sagittarius: November 21st to December 19th)


Capricornio: 22 de diciembre al 19 de enero 

                (Capricorn: December 22nd to January 19th)


Acuario: 20 de enero al 18 de febrero 

                (Aquarius: January 20th to February 18th)


Piscis19 de febrero al 20 de marzo 

                (Pisces: February 19th to March 20th)


Types of Signs

The twelve zodiac signs are furthermore grouped into four elementos (elements): aire (air), agua (water), fuego (fire), and tierra (earth). Let's take a look at which signs fall into each of these categories:


Los signos de fuego (The Fire Signs): Aries, Leo, Sagitario


Los signos de aire (The Air Signs): Géminis, Libra, Acuario


Los signos de agua (The Water Signs):  Cáncer, Escorpio, Piscis


Los signos de tierra (The Earth Signs): Tauro, Virgo, Capricornio


What's Your Sign?

So, how do you ask someone what his or her sign is in Spanish? The most common way is "¿Qué signo eres/es?" or "What sign are you?" with tú (informal "you") or usted (formal "you"). The answer might be Yo soy Tauro (I'm a Taurus), etc. However, you might notice that in some countries like Argentina, they tend to use the preposition de (of/from) to ask and answer this question, as in the following examples:


¿Y de qué signo sos? Yo, de Sagitario

And what is your sign? Me, Sagittarius.

Captions 82-83, Muñeca Brava 3 Nueva Casa - Part 8

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Sí, la madre superiora es de Aries ¡y la verdad que tiene un humor! Es re agreta. 

Yes, the Mother Superior is Aries and the truth is that she has a temper! She is so grumpy.

Captions 80-81, Muñeca Brava 36 La pesquisa - Part 10

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Horoscopes and Astrological Charts

As we can see from the second quote above, specific astrological signs and elements tend to be associated with certain rasgos de personalidad (character traits). Of course, as not all members of a particular sign can be exactly alike, a tool for predecir (predicting) a person's personality in a more detailed fashion is una carta astral (astrological chart):


Nos valemos de la carta astral, que es la fotografía que se toma del cielo en el momento en que alguien nace, para ver la ubicación que tenían los planetas en ese momento 

We use the astrological chart, which is the photograph that is taken of the sky at the moment in which someone is born, to see the location that the planets had at that moment

Captions 5-7, Conversaciones con Luis Astrología

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And, in addition to predicting a person's character, one's future is thought, by proponents of astrology, to be predecible (predictable) based on his or her chart. Said predictions are called los horóscopos (horoscopes), and more generalized versions for the twelve signs can often be seen in newspapers and magazines:  


Cáncer: Hoy habrá problemas en casa. 

Cancer: Today there will be problems at home.

Caption 1, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 6: El día de la Primitiva - Part 5

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However, just like you can't generalize about personalities, you certainly can't predict con exactitud (accurately) what's in store for each sign: 


Los horóscopos son una aproximación a una predicción signo por signo pero no son tan precisos puesto que no hay una carta específica de una persona, sino es en general para los signos

Horoscopes are an approximation of a prediction sign-by-sign, but they are not so accurate since there isn't a chart specific to a person, but rather it is in general for the signs.

Captions 30-32, Conversaciones con Luis Astrología

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All that said, whether you view astrology as a reliable science or a fun hobby, we hope you've learned some useful vocabulary to be able to converse about it in Spanish. And don't forget leave us your suggestions and comments



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