Ahorita in Spanish: 5 most common uses + Audio

The SINGLE MOST CONFUSING WORD in the Spanish Language: AHORITA (Do YOU Know What It Means?) ❓❓

¡Hola, mi gente! Yo soy Paulísima de Spring Spanish, and in today’s lesson I’m going to teach you the single most important Spanish word you’ll hear all the time if you are in Mexico (like, seriously, in every other sentence): ahorita in Spanish.

It’s the diminutive of an easy Spanish word: ahora (now)… but don’t let that fool you! Because every time Mexicans use it, it seems to have a different meaning, like:

• Just now
• Right now
• Not anytime soon
• In a bit
• Probably never

I’m going to show you the 5 most common situations in which we Mexicans use ahorita, and how you can recognize what we mean exactly based on our tone of voice…

What does Ahorita in Spanish mean?!

Just nowRefers to the immediate past. Example: ¡Uy! ¡Acaba de pasar! “He has just passed by!”
Right now!Indicates an urgent need to do something immediately. Example: : Niña, ¡los trastes! ¡Ven a lavarlos A-HO-RI-TA! “Come do the dishes RIGHT NOW!”
Not anytime soonUsed to express reluctance or delay in doing something. Example: ¡Ay, ma! ¡Ahorita! (Oh, mom, Ahorita!)
In a bitMeans something will be done soon but not immediately. Example: ¡Ahorita vengo! ¡Voy al Oxxo! “I’m coming in a bit! I’m going to the Oxxo!”
Probably neverIndicates that what was asked for is unlikely to happen. Example: “If someone says ahorita after you ask them 3 times in a row, it probably means never.”

1. Just Now (The immediate past)

Ahorita sometimes alludes to the immediate past, like in this conversation between Samuel and Amanda:

SAMUEL
Se me antoja un elote.
(I’m craving for a cob of corn.)

AMANDA
¡Uy! ¡Acaba de pasar!
(Oh! He has just passed by! (=the elote vendor))

SAMUEL
¿Cuándo?  
(When?)

AMANDA
¡Ahorita! 
(Just now!)

Intonation is key here!

2. Right now! (For Real!) 

If you ever hear a Mexican saying the word ahorita like dragging each syllable, they actually mean “do it right now”… No wonder it’s usually moms or dads that would use this tone. 

If you ever heard it while growing up, you knew you’d have to stop whatever you were doing and go do whatever they wanted you to do:

MOTHER: Niña, ¡los trastes! ¡Ven a lavarlos A-HO-RI-TA! (Child, the dishes! Come do them RIGHT NOW!) 

3. Not any time soon! 

So, what if we’re a little more rebellious when someone asks you to do the dishes? Then, you can also use the word ahorita to your advantage… like this:

MOTHER
Paulina, ¡ven a lavar los trastes! 
(Paulina, come do the dishes!) 

PAULINA
¡Ay, ma! ¡Ahorita! 
(Oh, mom! “Ahorita”!) 

Lo voy a hacer a mi ritmo y a mi tiempo, ¡a la mexicana! (I’m going to do it at my own rhythm and at my own time, the Mexican way!) 

Let’s see another example featuring Samuel… Remember Samuel, who still can’t roll his R’s

GRANDMOTHER
Samuel, ¿a qué hora vas a levantar tus juguetes? 
(Samuel, when are you picking up your toys?)

SAMUEL
¡Ahorita, abuela! 
(In a bit, grandmother!)

By the way, if you are ever dealing with Mexican bureaucrats, and they say something is going to happen “ahorita”, they mean this one… Not any time soon! That’s right!

4. In a bit 

Sometimes, ahorita means “in a bit”. Let’s say you’re in a restaurant, and you have to go to the bathroom, or you’re at a club and want to let your friends know that you’ll be gone for a little while and that they shouldn’t worry if your absence is noticed for 15-20 minutes tops! 

You might want to say this chunk: 

  • ¡Ahorita vengo! (I’m coming in a bit)

Let’s say you want to go to the convenience store: 

  • ¡Ahorita vengo! ¡Voy al Oxxo! (I’m coming in a bit! I’m going to the Oxxo!)

Or let’s say you’re taking the dog out and you want to let the people you live with know:

  • ¡Ahorita vengo! ¡Voy a sacar al perro! (I’m coming in a bit! I’m taking the dog out!)

¡Ahorita vengo! (I’m coming in a bit!)

ahorita in spanish explained

No, of course, I’m not going anywhere… Learn it by heart! This chunk of Spanish is going to help you communicate with ease when you’re speaking with locals! 

By the way, for more useful chunks like this, get our free Essential Spanish Chunking Kit! It gives you a collection of the most important Spanish chunks we use in our lessons.

✔️ Cheat Sheet with 54 essential Spanish Chunks you’ll hear and use yourself in ANY Spanish conversation (and example sentences). Taken from our YouTube Teacher’s most popular videos!

✔️ 2 Bonus Cheat Sheets with Travel Chunks and Dating/Relationship Chunks

✔️ A Spanish Chunking Tutorial showing you the 1 technique that’ll help you make 100% of the Spanish from our videos roll off the tongue in just 5 minutes a day (you’re probably only using 50% of our lessons’ potential right now…)

5. Never – When ahorita in Spanish means never

Lo siento, mis amigos, pero (I’m sorry, my friends, but) if somebody ever tells you ahorita after you ask them like 3 times in a row… Bad news! I don’t think that whatever you’re asking for is ever going to happen, like nunca (never)!

AMANDA
Víctor, ¿me dejas jugar? 
(Victor, would you let me play?)

VÍCTOR
Ahorita.
(“Ahorita”)

10 minutes later …

AMANDA
¿Ya me dejas jugar?
(Can I play now?)

VÍCTOR
Ahorita, Amanda. ¡Espera!
(“Ahorita”, Amanda. Wait!)

2 hours later

AMANDA
¿Ya me dejas jugar? 
(Will you let me play yet?)

VÍCTOR
Ahorita 
(“Ahorita”)

Unfortunately for Amanda, my little niece, Victor, my nephew and godson, I don’t think she will get to play at all. 

6. Bonus lesson with ahorita in Spanish

If you’re still here, congratulations! As a bonus, I want to share another way to use ahorita with you…

The infamous: ¡Ahorita es ahorita!

HUSBAND
¿Bueno?
(Hello?)

WIFE
¿Hola?
(Hello?)

HUSBAND
¡Hola, chuli!
(Hi, chuli!)

WIFE
Hola, nené. Oye, me dijiste que ya venías.
(Hello, baby. Hey, you said you were on your way.)

HUSBAND
Sí, sí.
(Yes, yes.) 

WIFE
¿A qué horas? 
(What time?)

HUSBAND
Sí, ahorita ya voy.
(Yes, I’m on my way now.)

WIFE
Ahorita es ahorita. 
(Now means now.)

HUSBAND
Sí, sí, ahorita.
(Yes, yes, in a bit.)

I love Mexican Spanish! See the translation? It’s so weird and tremendously cute! This would be like saying “little now is little now”, but it really means, “you’re serious about time now”. We double it in the sentence because: 

You understand how “ahorita” is commonly used, you understand that we’re talking about waiting between 20 minutes to 2 hours every time a Mexican says “ahorita”, so you’re not falling for that and you say:

  • ¡Ahorita es ahorita!

And then, there’s one more way to double the “ahorita”. You do this when you want to be precise about timing. You add many “ti” to the word, like this: Ahoritititita —The more “tis”, the more precise you come across!

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