Admit it: sometimes we hear someone rambling, or nagging, or just talking too much, and we REALLY want that person to just… SHUT UP! In Spanish, just like in English, there are polite and less polite ways to communicate this to someone. In this article, I’ll teach you four phrases to ask someone to stop talking.
We’ll start calmly, but go stronger (and ruder) with every next one… so, in case they really don’t want to listen, with chunk number 4 you’re pulling out the big guns! Careful: use at your own risk… especially the last chunk. You risk a fight or being slapped in the face if you use the rude one!
1) ¡Ay, qué cosas dices! (Oh! The Things you Say!)
So, let’s say you’re meeting someone, they start talking… talk more until they say something that makes you be like WTF?!
¡Hola! ¿Qué onda? ¡Cuánto tiempo sin verte! ¡Te ves super bien!
(Hello! What’s up? Long time no see!)
¡Tú, también! ¿Bajaste de peso?
(You too! Did you lose weight?)
No, estoy normal…
(No, I’m normal…)
No, sí te ves más delgada… y como que se te ve la cara diferente, ¿no?
(No, you do look thinner… and your face looks kind of different, doesn’t it?)
So, you politely, with a full smile on your face say: ¡Ay, qué cosas dices!(Oh! The things you say!)
This is a good way to let people know that they just said something that you didn’t appreciate. It means: Don’t say these kind of things.
Pay attention to the feeling you put in the ¡Ay! Remember: in Spanish we use the interjection ¡Ay! as you might use Oh! I’m sure you’ve heard it before in one of our most famous songs, an anthem of mexicanidad (the quality of being Mexican, “Mexicanity”): Cielito Lindo…
Let’s use it one more time:
- ¡Mira, qué bien te ves con esos kilitos menos! (Look at that! You look great now that you’re thinner!)
Pay attention when you say: ¡Ay, ay! ¡Qué cosas dices! (Oh! The things you say!)… You’re pointing to the fact that something wrong was said, but you’re still willing to have the conversation —granted the person stops saying these kinds of things…
Now, let’s see how our friendly conversation continues…
No, sí estás más delgada. ¡Espérate! ¿Te hiciste algo? Definitivamente te ves menos cachetona, ¿no?
(No, you are in fact thinner. Wait a minute! Did you get something done? You definitely look less “chubby in the cheeks”, right?)
[You’re getting a bit more annoyed already… pero cuentas hasta diez, y te calmas (but you count down to 10, and you calm yourself down)… and you say:]
- Mejor cuéntame de ti. (Tell me about yourself.)
- Hay que cambiar de tema. (Let’s change the subject.)
2. Hay que cambiar de tema (Let's change the subject)
We can use this phrase when we are sure that the conversation will go to places where we don’t want it to go…
Te ves como rara, Paulísima. ¡Dime qué es! Es botox, ¿verdad?
(You look kind of weird, Paulísima. Tell me what it is! It’s Botox, right?)
Hay que cambiar de tema.
(Let’s change the subject.)
Or maybe it’s a more serious matter, like:
¿Escuchaste lo que dijo el presidente en la mañana?
(Did you hear what the President said this morning?)
Hay que cambiar el tema, por favor.
(Let’s change the subject, please.)
I love this chunk, “Hay que cambiar de tema”. It is quite direct, yet still very polite… Learn this phrase by heart, and you would have learned not only a great phrase to make people shush it, BUT you’re also helping your brain in using the Spanish equivalents of both “let’s” and “we have to” and a familiar way to bypass the harshness of an imperative… All of that without having to think about any of the grammar terms. This is how chunks work!
Okay, time to see what happens with our conversation…
¡No, dime, dime! ¡Ándale! Algo te hiciste. ¿Te pusiste Botox?
(No, no, you tell me! C’mon! You did get something. Did you get Botox?)
¡¡¡Ya, güey, ya!!! ¡En serio! Que no me he hecho nada…
(Enough already, dude! Seriously! I haven’t gotten any work done…)
3. ¡Ya, güey, ya! (Stop it, dude!)
Since the first two didn’t work, we have to get a little more direct… Inside, you really want to say: Shut up! But you don’t say it; instead, you say “¡¡ya, güey, ya!!”… What?
Ya means something like “enough already!” and güey… Well, that’s Mexican slang, equivalent to saying “dude”, “mate”, “brotha”… You get the drill, right?
You can use this when a friend of yours is teasing you, you know? Like, when we were in primary school and we would say stuff like:
¡Paulísima tiene novio! ¡Paulísima tiene novio!
(Paulísima has a boyfriend! Paulísima has a boyfriend!)
¡Ya güey, ya!
(Enough already, dude! Stop it!)
The best part of this chunk is that you can also use it to ask someone to stop it already!
You can make this chunk even stronger by adding en serio (seriously) at the beginning or at the end of the sentence. You’d be making sure they know that now you are getting serious. I mean, you were since the beginning, but now you’re even more serious.
¡Ay, ya dime! ¿Qué te hiciste?! ¡Te PUSISTE Botox!
(C’mon! Tell me! What did you do? Did you get Botox?)
¡En serio! ¡Ya, güey, ya!
(Seriously, dude! Stop it already!)
Now, at this point, your friend, who probably won’t be your friend after this encounter, notices your hostility, and says:
- ¡Ay! ¿Por qué tan agresiva? Si solo decía que hace un tiempo, pues, estabas más cachetona… y ahora te veo… ¡diferente! (Why so aggressive? I’m just saying that a while ago you were kind of more “chubby in the cheeks” and now you look, well…different!)
You’ve had enough now… Your blood is boiling… You can’t hear a another word, so you say:
- ¡Ya cállate! (Shut up already!)
4. ¡Cállate! o ¡Ya cállate! (Shut up! or Shut up already!)
Straight up: Shut up already!!! And yeah, sometimes you just have to say it…
But let’s say you’re in a situation where somebody really deserves to shut the F up… you can add this phrase at the end of Cállate or Cállate el hocico.
Uff, these are the Major Leagues, mi gente! This literally translates as “shut your snout”.
You’re calling the other person an animal… I mean, even though there’s no vulgar language, literally, this is quite offensive. I’ve never been in a situation that called for it but… I’ll use it if I have to.
This was my guide on “how to lose a friend in 10 minutes”.
With these chunks people will stop talking for sure! But what if you actually want them to talk MORE… and clarify what they’re saying? You could just ask “¿qué?”… but come on, that’s a bit boring! So, read the article where I teach you 5 ways to tell someone you don’t understand without saying “¿qué?”.