Mastering Pues in Spanish: A versatile Spanish filler word you can use in 5 different ways

Mastering the Spanish PUES: The Versatile Word you have to know

Actor 1
Entonces, para la cena de Andrea tú llevas vino y yo llevo ensalada.
(So, for Andrea’s party you bring wine and I’ll bring salad.)

Actor 2
Sí, justo así pues. Nos vemos al rato pues.
(Yes, just like that then. See you later then.)

The word pues in Spanish is a common word that serves various functions depending on its context. It doesn’t have a direct English translation, but it can be translated as “well,” “so,” “then,” or “since” depending on the situation.

Let’s explore its different uses: ¿Están listos? ¡Empecemos!

1. Use pues in Spanish as a filler word or to pause the speech, or to start a sentence

Like “um”, “uh”, or “well” in English, “pues” is often used as a filler word or pause in speech. It helps to gain time while thinking about what to say next.

Actor 1
Me dijo Andrea que ya no vas a ir a la cena. ¿Qué pasó? ¿Por qué cancelaste?
(Andrea told me that you’re no longer not going to the dinner. What happened? Why did you cancel?)

Actor 2
Pues….
(Well…)

Actor 1
¿Qué?
(What?)

Actor 2
Pues no sé si decirte, amiga.
(Well I’m not sure if I should tell you, friend.)

Actor 1
Ahora me tienes que decir. No me vas a dejar con la duda.
(Now you have to tell me. Don’t leave me in suspense (lit.: with the doubt.))

Actor 2
Bueno… es que cuando fui a comprar el vino para la cena...
(Well… it’s just that when I went to buy the wine for the dinner…)

Actor 1
¿Sí?
(Yes?)

Actor 2
Es que vi saliendo al novio de Andrea con otra chava. La iba abrazando. La acompañó hasta su auto… y pues… se besaron.
(It’s just that I saw Andrea’s boyfriend leaving with another girl. He was hugging her. He walked her to her car… and well… they kissed.)

Actor 1
Noooooooooooo. ¡No manches!
(Noooooooooooo. No way!)

As you can see, she said “pues” a few times, when she was hesitating and considering whether to tell what happened or not. That’s a perfect and natural example of using pues as a filler word.

2. Add emphasis to the meaning of a sentence

Pues can be used to add emphasis to a statement or to introduce a point in a conversation. It doesn’t always translate directly but can contribute to the tone of the conversation.

Actor 1
¡Qué fuerte, amiga!
(That’s heavy, friend!)

Actor 2
¡Pues sí!
(Yeah I know!)

Actor 1
Oye, ¿y le piensas contar a Andrea!
(Hey and are you planning to tell Andrea?)

Actor 2
Pues no sé amiga.
(Well, I don’t know friend.)

Here, she uses pues to add emphasis: ¡Pues si! Are you going to watch the video until the end? Pues of course!

What would you do? Tell me in the comments… But use the word “pues”. But before, let’s make a pause so you can subscribe to the channel in case you haven’t done it.

3. Examples to express cause or reason

Pues” can be used to indicate a reason or cause, similar to “because”.

At least in Mexico, it’s more common for people to use the word “porque” when they want to say “pues”. I think “pues” it’s used more in written speech, and not so much in regular conversations and it sounds more formal.

Actor 2
Amiga, te escribo esta carta, pues no encuentro la manera de decírtelo en persona. Primero que nada, quiero que sepas que te considero una hermana, pues siempre me has tratado de esa manera. Y como hermana, tengo que decirte una verdad muy difícil. Francisco te está siendo infiel. Solo te lo digo pues me consta de primera mano. Yo lo vi.
(Friend, I am writing you this letter, since I can’t find a way to tell you in person. First of all, I want you to know that I consider you a sister, because you have always treated me that way. And as a sister, I have to tell you a very difficult truth. Francisco is being unfaithful to you. I’m just telling you this because I know it first-hand. I saw it.)

4. Spanish filler words to express consequence or result

In this case “pues” is often be translated as “so” or “therefore”.

Chunk alert

When use pues as “therefore” it’s very common to use the phrase ”y pues”.

Actor 1
Ok… entonces mandaste el correo, ¿y qué pasó?
(Ok… so you sent the email, and what happened?)

Actor 2
Mandé el email… y pues… y pues me llamó inmediatamente Andrea.
(I sent the email… and then… and then Andrea immediately called me.)

Actor 1
¿Y luego?
(And then?)

Actor 2
Mira, yo en el email le dije que estaba a su disposición para vernos cuando ella quisiera, y pues justo eso pasó. Me pidió que nos viéramos. Y ya le volví a contar todo pero en persona, y pues se puso a llorar.
(Look, in the email I told her that I was available to see her whenever she wanted, and that’s exactly what happened. She asked to meet. And I told her everything again in person, and then she started crying.)

5. Examples of how to use pues like a native Spanish speaker

We say it all the time because it’s true: it’s better to learn a chunk rather than individual words. Pay attention to the highlighted chunks in the next part of our own little telenovela:

Actor 2
Y así… llore y llore la pobre Andrea… y pues nada. Aunque llevaban poco, ella está muy enamorada. Está devastada la pobre.
(And so… crying and crying poor Andrea… “and well, nothing”. Although they had been together for a short time, she is very in love. The poor thing is devastated.)

Actor 1
Pues sí, siempre son horribles esas traiciones. Oye ¿pero sabes si le reclamó o le dijo algo a Francisco?
(Well yes, those betrayals are always horrible. Hey, but do you know if she confronted or said anything to Francisco?)

Actor 2
Pues, parece que van a hablar hoy en la noche. Obviamente, él lo va a negar, y seguramente le va a decir que yo soy una mentirosa.
(Well, it seems like they’re going to talk tonight. Obviously, he’s going to deny it, and he’ll probably tell her that I’m a liar.)

Actor 1
Pues claro, siempre lo niegan. ¡Ay pues! ¡Qué feo! ¡(Well of course, they always deny it. Oh well! How “ugly”! Poor Andrea doesn’t deserve this!)

Actor 2
Pues, no. Amiga, me esta marcando Andrea. Ya me voy, luego te cuento el chisme.
(Well, no. Friend, Andrea is calling me. I’m leaving now, I’ll tell you the gossip later.)

Actor 1
Órale pues. Ve, ve, y me llamas inmediatamente después de que cuelgues con Andrea, ¿eh?
(Alright then. Go, go, and call me immediately after you hang up with Andrea, okay?)

Actor 2
Órale pues. Órale pues.
(Alright then. Alright then.)

Actor 1
(Chuckles)
Me da risa la expresión “órale pues”.
(The expression “orale pues” makes me chuckle.)

Actor 2
Es una frase muy común en algunas partes de México, como Guerrero y Veracruz.
(It’s a very common phrase in some parts of Mexico, like Guerrero and Veracruz.)

Actor 1
La dices mucho, bueno, en general dices mucho “pues”.
(You say it a lot, well, generally you say “pues” a lot in.

Actor 2
Sí, pues bueno, ya me voy.
(Yeah, well then, I’m going now.)

Did you get them all?

  • Pues nada. (Well, nothing.)
  • Pues sí. (Well, yes.)
  • Pues claro. (But of course.)
  • ¡Ay, pues! (Oh well!)
  • Pues no. (Not really.)
pues in spanish examples

And my favorite:

  • ¡Órale, pues! (Alright then!)

Órale pues is an enthusiastic way of showing agreement, very common in my place of origin, which is Acapulco. If you want to learn a little bit more about your Spanish teacher, AND practice your Spanish listening comprehension, check out the next lesson. See you there!

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