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  • Writer's pictureSpanishWithDaniel

So many meanings for "que"!

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

My students' reaction to the word que reminds me of my own reaction to the word get when I started studying English. It is everywhere! “How can it means this if three minutes ago it meant something very different?!”, they tell me. “Wait and you will see what happens in another three minutes”, I answer enjoying my cruelty. They are right, que means several things and often times it does not translate to a specific word in English. But tranquilo, it's nothing you can't learn! Let's see the different meanings.

What ¿Qué te gustaría comer hoy?

What would you like to eat today?

No entiendo lo que está pasando. *(a relative pronoun:"the thing that")

I don’t understand what is happening.

How ¡Qué bonito!

How pretty!

That Creo que Alejandro está equivocado.

I think (that) Alejandro is wrong.

Than Mi hija ya es más alta que yo.

My daughter is already taller than me.

Who Tengo un amigo que trabaja en este hospital. *(relat. pron.)

I have a friend who works in this hospital.

Which Viste la carta que vino hoy? *(relat. pron.)

Did you see the letter which came today?

Whom Vi a un hombre con el que solía trabajar. *(quien also works)

I saw a man with whom I used to work.

Because Apúrate, que no tenemos todo el día. *(optional. We just love que!)

Hurry, (because) we don't have all day.

(I hope) Que tengas un buen fin de semana. *(a conjunction + subjunctive)

(I hope you) have a good weekend.

Common phrases that use the word que:

Él es igual que yo. He is just like me.

Antes de que te vayas. Before you leave.

Después de que ganemos. After we win.

A no ser que llueva. Unless it rains.

Ya que estás acá, festejemos. Since you're here, let's celebrate.

Tengo que llamarla pronto. I have to call her soon.

Para que sepas que te quiero. So you know I love you.

No tiene nada que ver con eso. It has nothing to do with that.

Por mucho que leo, no entiendo. As much as I read, I don't understand

See what I mean?! A different que for every minute of the day!

If you enjoyed this article please share it with friends and give my page a like on Facebook! I’m a Spanish teacher based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since 2007 I have been exclusively teaching Spanish to people from all over the world. Whether looking for an online Spanish tutor, or in person while visiting Buenos Aires, please reach out to me with any questions you might have!

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