All the uses of Y in Spanish (Hint: There are LOTS!)

You NEED to KNOW this super important Spanish Word!

¿Y entonces? ¿Y Ale?
(And then? And Ale?)

¿Y yo qué sé? Habrá que preguntarle.
(And what do I know? We’ll have to ask her.)

That’s a confusing dialogue or what? “Y” tends to work as a filler word in Spanish. Sometimes it’s necessary to use it, sometimes it’s not. And, sometimes, it’s very informative!

Yo soy Maura, de Spring Spanish. Let’s figure out 6 ways to use “Y” so you won’t be confused by it ever again! ¡Empecemos!

1. Using ¿Y entonces? (And then?) in Spanish

Me dijo que prefería que nos diéramos un tiempo. ¡Como si eso significara algo!
(She told me she’d rather we took some time off. As if that meant anything!)

¿Y entonces?
(And then?)

Nada, le dije que era una inmadura y entonces se puso a llorar y se fue.
(Nothing, I told her she was immature and then she started crying and left.)

¿Y ahora? ¿Terminaron y ya?
(And now? Are you broken up (Lit.: finished) and that’s it?)

Antes de pasar a los chunks (Before we get to the chunks), there’s a link in the description ready to give you access to our free Essential Spanish Chunking kit. If you haven’t done it yet, make sure to download it! It’s filled with our top everyday chunks!

In this dialogue, we have three different chunks we should go over:

  • ¿Y entonces? (And then?): Just as it does in English, you can use this to ask someone to continue with their story. It’s like asking: ¿y entonces qué pasó? (and then what happened?)
  • Y entonces (And then): if it’s not a question, this y entonces would serve to continue recounting a set of events.
  • ¿Y ahora? (And now?): this might work as a synonym for ¿y entonces? but it also implies: what is the result of this you’re telling me?

As usual, depending on your tone these can mean something different. Revisemos algunas otras circunstancias. (Let’s check out some other circumstances.)

  • Daring someone who’s being aggressive to you: ¿Y entonces? (And then?)

This ¿y entonces?, instead of meaning “please continue with your story”, means “what are you going to do about it?”

  • Adding drama and suspense: Y entonces…

After this, you’d have to say something worth the intrigue. Like: Y entonces… la empujé fuera de la vía y evité el accidente. (And then… I pushed her off the track and avoided the accident. )

  • To reprimand or complain: ¡¿Y entonces?! (And then?!)

This is what I would hear from my mother if she caught me doing something I wasn’t supposed to.

  • Expressing worry: ¿Y ahora?

This is not even a real question. It mostly means something bad happened and you don’t know how to proceed. Imagina lluvia intensa en una boda en el jardín. (Imagine heavy rain at a garden wedding.)

2. Using ¿Y si…? (And if…?) in Spanish

Do you happen to know that “y” has to be “e” sometimes? We’ll talk about that at the end of this video. Make sure to stick around for it!

Yo creo, pero no lo sé. La llamo y no me contests.
(I think, but I don’t know. I call her and she doesn’t answer.)

¿Y si te apareces por su casa? Es intenso, pero tampoco puedes quedarte así.
(And if you show up at her house? It’s intense, but you can’t stay that way either.)

¿Y si está con alguien más y me la topo de frente? No, ¡qué miedo!
(And if she’s with someone else and I run into her head-on? No, how scary!)

¿Y si no? Estos “y sis” no van a resolver nada. Tienes que actuar.
(And if not? These “what if’s” are not going to solve anything. You have to act.)

Here things start to deviate more from English, since most of these would be a “what if”.

  • ¿Y si te apareces por su casa? (And if you show up at her house?): this is an actual proposition to do something for real. Not so much a question. Another proposition could’ve been:
    • ¿Y si le mandas un mensaje con algún conocido? (What if you send a message through an acquaintance?)
  • ¿Y si está con alguien más y me la topo de frente? (And if she’s with someone else and I run into her head-on?): this is proposing a reason not to act. Otra razón podría ser: (Another reason could be:)
    • ¿Y si se fue a casa de su mamá como lo hace cuando está molesta? (What if she went to her mom’s as she does when she’s upset?)
  • ¿Y si no? (And if not?): use this to refute someone’s reasons.
  • Y sis (What if’s): with this I just wanted you to know that it works the same as in English. You can turn this chunk into a thing and make it plural by adding an “s”.

3. Using ¿Y + nombre? (Y + name) in Spanish

¿Y Maxi? ¿Qué van a hacer con él?
(What about Maxi? What are you going to do with him?)

¡Ni me hables de eso! Maxi era originalmente su perro, así que supongo que no tengo mucha opción.
(Don’t even talk to me about it! Maxi was originally her dog, so I guess I don’t have much choice.)

Esto es bastante simple (This is pretty simple), but maybe not exactly how it would usually work in English. Every time you want to ask about someone, you can use this “y” plus their name. It would work with things as well.

¿Y tus papás?
(And your parents?)

Todavía no saben.
(They don’t know yet.)

¿Y el apartamento?
(And the apartment?)

¿Y el carro? ¿y los muebles? ¿Y Victoria, Mauricio… y todos nuestros amigos? ¡No sé nada! Esto es un desastre.
(And the car? And the furniture? And Victoria, Mauricio… and all our friends? I don’t know anything! This is a disaster.)

Chunk Alert!

¡Ni me hables de eso! (Don’t even talk to me about it!) might be a self-explanatory chunk. Still, I wanted to make sure you know this isn’t necessarily aggressive. You can tie it to any emotion. It could be:

  • Ni me hables de eso: porque me enfado. (Don’t even talk to me about it: because I get angry.)
  • Ni me hables de eso: porque me da nervios. (Don’t even talk to me about it: because I get nervous.)
  • Ni me hables de eso: porque me emociono. (Don’t even talk to me about it: because I get excited.)

4. Using Más y más (More and more) in Spanish

Ok, vamos a calmarnos. Seguir rumiando solo va a causar más y más ansiedad.
(Okay, let’s calm down. Continuing to ruminate is only going to cause more and more anxiety.)

Es verdad. Y yo me voy a ir poniendo más y más triste.
(It’s true. And I’m going to get sadder and sadder.)

O más y más molesta.  
(Or more and more upset.)

Tienes razón. Ok. Nos calmamos.
(You’re right. Ok. We calm down.)

This “más y más” is a great chunk because it always stays the same. And you can use it for anything that increases. For example:

  • El planeta se está calentando más y más. (The planet is getting warmer and warmer.)
  • Está llegando más y más gente para las navidades. (More and more people are arriving for Christmas.)
  • Me está dando más y más hambre mientras más enfría. (I’m getting hungrier and hungrier the colder it gets.)
  • Te estás poniendo más y más bonita cada vez. (You’re getting prettier and prettier everyday.)

5. When “y” has to be “e” in Spanish

Yo de verdad creo que puedes ir por tus cosas. Igual tienes las llaves.
(I really think you can go get your stuff. You have the keys anyways.)

Bueno, pero me acompañas porque la sola idea me pone loca e histérica.
(Well, but you’re coming with me because the very idea of it makes me crazy and hysterical.)

Como es de esperar. También podemos decirle a Mauricio e Irina. Así nos ayudan a cargar todo.
(As expected. We can also tell Mauricio and Irina. That way they help us load everything.)

Buena idea. ¿Les escribes tú, porfa?
(Good idea. You text them, please?)

By checking the dialogue you could infer what’s happening here. It’s really just a matter of sound.

  • Me pone loca e histérica. (It makes me crazy and hysterical.)
  • Podemos decirle a Mauricio e Irina. (We can tell Mauricio and Irina.)

Each of these “e” (which would normally be a “y”) is followed by the sound “i” in Spanish. Histérica, Irina. Recuerda que la “h” es muda en español, así que no hace ninguna diferencia. (Remember the “h” is mute in Spanish, so it makes no difference.)

The idea here is that it would be very hard to say and perceive two “i” sounds together: me pone loca y histérica. So, when the “y” is followed by the sound “i” you should change it to an “e”. More examples could be:

  • Necesito dátiles e higos. (I need dates and figs.)
  • Invita a Rodrigo e Ivana. (Invite Rodrigo and Ivana.)
  • Ellos son antipáticos e indiferentes. (They are unfriendly and indifferent.)

Now, do notice that the following word needs a clear “i” sound at the beginning. Combinations of vowels, like -ie, would change this. Like the word “hielo” (”ice”) for example. We would say: agua y hielo (water and ice). Not: agua e hielo. Because -ie is a different sound than “i” alone.

SUMMARY

Use “y entonces” in Spanish to:

Ask people to continue with their story or continue yourself with yours:

  • ¿Y entonces? (And then?)
  • Y entonces me caí. (And then I fell.)

Use “y ahora” to ask what to do:

  • ¿Y ahora? ¿Qué van a hacer? (And now? What will you do?)

Use “y si” to propose things:

  • ¿Y si salimos esta noche? (And if we go out tonight?)

and to create reasons or excuses:

  • ¿Y si llueve? Mejor nos quedamos en casa. (And if it rains? We’d better stay at home.)

Ask about people or things with “y”, like:

  • ¿Y tu hermana, viene o no? (And your sister, is she coming or not?)
  • ¿Y tu carro? ¿Lo vendiste? (And your car? Did you sell it?)

Use “más y más” talk about something that increases:

  • ¡Está haciendo más y más frío! (It’s getting colder and colder!)

Use “e” instead of “y” if the next word starts with the sound “i”:

  • No te preocupes, el rompecabezas está completo e intacto. (Don’t worry, the puzzle is complete and intact.)

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