Spanish Lessons


The Spanish Expression "A Ver"

In simple terms, the Spanish construction a ver is the result of putting together the preposition a and the infinitive form of the verb ver (to see/look). This combination is often used in conjunction with other verbs in sentences such as the following:


Vamos a ver algunas expresiones que requieren el uso del modo subjuntivo.

Let's look at some expressions that require the use of the subjunctive mood.

Captions 9-10, Ana Carolina El modo subjuntivo

 Play Caption


¿Qué tal? -¡Hola! -¿Cómo estás? ¡Bien! ¡Qué gusto volverte a ver!

How's it going? -Hi! -How are you? Well! How nice to see you again!

Captions 32-33, Aprendiendo con Priscilla Pidiendo direcciones

 Play Caption


¡Ah! Y también fui a ver a una curandera

Oh! And I also went to see a healer,

Caption 41, Aprendiendo con Silvia Vacaciones y urgencias - Part 2

 Play Caption


However, as a fixed expression, a ver can be used in many different ways. This lesson will explore several.


To Ask Someone to Show Us Something

When you ask someone to show you something, you can use the expression a ver. Let's see that use in action:


¿Cómo, cómo se saludarían, a ver? ¡Qué pedo, cabrón!

How, how would you greet each other, let's see? What the hell's up, man?

Captions 28-29, Amigos D.F. Te presento...

 Play Caption


To Wonder or Inquire

When used in this manner, the expression a ver is often followed by question words such as qué (what), cómo (how), or cuándo (when). Let's take a look at some clips with this usage:


pero bueno, a ver qué opinas de sus condiciones generales.

but well, let's see what you think about his general condition.

Caption 20, La veterinaria "Huesos" visita a la doctora - Part 1

 Play Caption


Esperemos hasta mañana a ver qué pasa.

Let's wait until tomorrow to see what happens.

Caption 46, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 4 - Part 7

 Play Caption


To Get Someone's Attention

You might use the expression a ver to get someone's attention right before a question, command, or request.


A ver, eh... Rachel... ¿te animas?

Let's see, um... Rachel... do you want to try?

Caption 22, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 4

 Play Caption


Before the Conjunction Si to Express a Challenge or Desire

Let's see some examples of this common usage:


A ver si adivináis cuál vamos a tratar hoy.

Let's see if you can guess which one we are going to deal with today.

Caption 4, Aprendiendo con Silvia Las emociones - Part 10

 Play Caption


a ver si ella se anima y va con nosotras.

let's see if she gets inspired and goes with us.

Caption 49, Cleer y Lida Conversación telefónica - Part 1

 Play Caption


Cuando estamos planeando o queremos ver a alguien, decimos, "A ver si nos vemos pronto".

When we're planning or want to see someone, we say, "Let's see if we see each other soon."

Captions 28-29, Lecciones con Carolina Haber vs. A Ver / Si vs. Sí

 Play Caption


To Clarify Something

Although the standard translation for a ver is "let's see," sometimes the Spanish expression a ver helps us to clarify or express the real meaning of something. You might think of it as similar to such English phrases as "the thing is" or "honestly." Let's see how Amaya uses this expression to clarify what she is saying:


Bueno, os acordáis que en uno de mis vídeos os explicaba que tenía en marcha un proyecto muy bonito: un refugio de animales. A ver, en realidad es un refugio de burros.

Well, you remember that, in one of my videos, I was explaining to you that I had a very nice project underway: an animal shelter. Let's see, it's actually a donkey shelter.

Captions 2-5, Amaya Apertura del refugio

 Play Caption


That's all for this lesson. We hope you have learned something new today, and don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments.




More than Three Amigos

If you visited a Spanish speaking country during the last spring break, chances are you were invited to a party. Maybe it was a birthday party, a wedding or, most likely, just a meet-up with friends. No matter the occasion, there are some Spanish words and phrases that always come in handy at a party. Let's see a few examples:


The word salud means a lot of different things in Spanish. The basic meaning is, of course, "health," but this tiny word is also uttered as a courtesy when someone sneezes (the underlying meaning is that the person wishes that you haven't got the flu), and it's also customarily used to make a toast (the underlying meaning is that the person wishes the drink contributes to everybody's health and well-being). There are different ways to use it.
You can simply use salud as English uses the word "cheers":


¡Salud! -¡Salud!

Cheers! -Cheers!

Caption 92, Casa Pancho - vinos y pinchos

 Play Caption


If you are the person making the toast, you can also go for something like this:


Muy bien, a la salud del novio. -¡Ahí va!

Great, to the groom's health. -There you go!

Caption 21, Yago - 3 La foto

 Play Caption

In some countries, like Mexico and Ecuador, it’s very common to use an endearing diminutive:




Caption 27, Otavalo - Leche de chiva - gran alimento

 Play Caption

Another word that is also used to make a toast is provecho, which literally means "profit" or "advantage." This word is used before either drinking or eating (salud can only be used with drinks) and it means that the person speaking wishes that you "profit" from the food or beverage you are having. By the way, you can either say buen provecho or only provecho:

Buen provecho.

Enjoy your meal.

Caption 71, Cocinando con Miguelito - Pollo sudado

 Play Caption


Now, the word for party in Spanish is fiesta, sure. But this is not the only word people use. You should learn some variants, otherwise you'll be missing some great fun:
For example, your friends in many countries of Latin America may invite you to a parranda (party). If you are parrandero (a party animal) you'll probably want to show up:

Es buen amigo, parrandero y bailador

He is a good friend, he likes to party and he's a dancer

Caption 45, Alberto Barros - Mano a mano

 Play Caption

In other places, notably in Mexico City, people use the word reventón (party, literally a "blow-out"). If the party involves getting drunk then the invitation would be something like vámonos de juerga/farra/parranda (somewhat equivalent to "let's go get crazy drunk")There are, of course, many words to describe the act of drinking: chupar, pistear, libar, mamarembriagarseirse de copas (copas means "cups"), empinar el codo (literally "to raise the elbow"), ponerse hasta atrás (to get really drunk, literally "to get oneself behind") are just a few.

No hay plata pa' comer pero sí pa' chupar

There is no money to eat but there is to drink

Caption 60, ChocQuibTown - De donde vengo yo

 Play Caption

And what do you call your friends, buddies, pals, mates at a party? Well, that depends on where you are:
In Mexico City, friends are called cuates:

que te presenta a una persona, a un cuate cercano,

that introduces someone, a close buddy,

Caption 13, Amigos D.F. - Te presento...

 Play Caption

But if you are in the northern part of Mexico, we strongly recommend you avoid the use of cuates. Instead, you can use camaradacompa (short for compadre), or carnal (bro); all of these are more or less common everywhere in the country. Here's a great example of a phrase you can use to start a party anywhere in Mexico:

¡Órale compadre, échese un trago!

Come on, pal, throw down a drink!

Caption 5, El Ausente - Acto 1

 Play Caption



What about other places? Well, it's a long list. In Spain, people use tío (uncle)In Argentina, pibe (kid). In Perú, pata. In Venezuela, pana. In Cuba, asere. In Colombia, parsa. In Honduras, mara... The list goes on and on. One thing is for sure: you can use amigo safely anywhere Spanish is spoken. Maybe that's the friendliest thing to do.


Merecer la pena

The dictionary tells us that the verb "merecer" means "to deserve." 
No merezco algo así.
I don't deserve something like this.

Aléjate de mí pues tú ya sabes que no te merezco

Get away from me since you already know that I do not deserve you

Caption 18, Camila - Aléjate de mi

 Play Caption
 But songstress Julieta Venegas does not believe that living "deserves the pain" but rather that living "is worth it."

Es contigo, mi vida, con quien puedo sentir... Que merece la pena vivir

It's with you, my honey, with whom I can feel... That life is worth living

Captions 7-8, Julieta Venegas - El Presente

 Play Caption


A few more examples:

Merece la pena estudiar.
Studying is worth it.
¿Merece la pena leer este libro?
Is it worth reading this book?

Merece la pena is synonymous, though perhaps a bit more formal and poetic, with its extremely common cousin, vale la penaOur amigos in Mexico City demonstrate nicely:

Al igual que pues que tiene sus pros y sus contras y... pues aun así vale la pena. ¿OK?

At the same time it has it pros and cons and... well, even so it's still worth it. OK?

Captions 47-49, Amigos D.F. - Te presento...

 Play Caption



The verb valer commonly means "to be worth."
Una imagen vale más que mil palabras.
A picture is worth more than a thousand words. 
Also of note:

If you've ever been to Spain, you know that ¿Vale? (OK?) or Vale. (OK.) is slang that is thrown around a lot amongst Spaniards. ¿Vale?


Signup to get Free Spanish Lessons sent by email

You May Also Like