Did you know that mastering one simple word in Spanish can greatly improve your language abilities?
Yes, that’s right, one word!
I haven’t made any mistakes here. I am really talking about one single word.
That word is the short, cute, amazing and also problematic word así in Spanish.
Are you ready to learn about this Spanish game-changer word?
Well, alright, here we go!
A Little Word with a Lot of Meanings: Así
We normally learn new words by learning their one, two or maybe three meanings.
Take the word casa. It means house. End of story.
Or the word banco. It can mean bank, bench and shoal.
But from time to time we meet a word that appears to be the stuff of nightmares.
The English language is full of these words. Take the word set for example, which is one of the most polysemic words in the English language with about 30 different meanings!
Spanish doesn’t have any word close to being as difficult to master as set, but it does indeed have its fair share of above-average-complicated words.
Like our little friend today: the word así.
If you look in a Spanish-English dictionary, it’ll tell you así can mean like this, that, this way, that way, even if, so and I hope, among other meanings.
Hazlo así. (Do it like this.)
Nosotros lo cocinamos así. (We cook it this way.)
Así me quede ciego, no dejaré de mirar. (Even if I get blind, I won’t stop looking.)
¡Así te arruines! (I hope you go bankrupt!)
Following these main dictionary definitions, you’ll be presented with a long list of expressions and sample sentences that will try to show you how native Spanish speakers use this word. But do we really use them all? Do we really talk like that?
This post will help you to separate the chaff from the wheat.
You’ll learn how native Spanish speakers really use así, with which expressions and in which contexts.
Problems and Mistakes with Así
As short and cute as it is, así can be a bit of a headache for learners because of its many different meanings.
The word así is actually not a difficult word to learn in and of itself. It only has three letters, and I bet it’ll only take you around five seconds to memorize it.
The problem with this word is all the different meanings it has, all the situations where it appears and how native speakers often use it as some kind of filler word.
As you’ll see in this post, depending on the word following or preceding así, its meaning can change dramatically.
But translation problems aside, así isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be.
If you learn its basic meanings and the expressions it’s commonly used in, you can kiss your nightmares about así good night for good.
The Así-Así Mystery
At some undetermined point in time, something very strange happened regarding the word así and the English expression so-so.
Somehow, as if out of nowhere, Spanish language books and even Spanish language teachers decided that the Spanish translation of so-so is así-así.
I’m a native Spanish speaker and I’ve been teaching Spanish as a second language for almost 20 years now, and I’ve never, ever neither said that nor heard any native around me utter it.
This direct mistranslation miraculously entered the Spanish-learning world and caught on and spread like a wildfire.
The truth is you’ll never hear a native Spanish speaker say así-así as an answer to ¿Cómo estás? And, you shouldn’t use it. Ever. Please.
If you want more insider intel into native-sounding Spanish, you should check out FluentU.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
With FluentU, you’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken and avoid words like así-así.
19 Ways to Use Así in Spanish
If you’re reading this post, then you’re probably having some trouble with this little fella.
Indeed, many Spanish language students seem to get overwhelmed the first few times they encounter así.
But the suffering ends here and now, my friend!
Así Uses and Expressions
1. Así + subjunctive (even if)
If así is followed by a verb in the subjunctive, it can mean one of two things: either así means even if, or the speaker is making a wish (likely a bad wish, a curse or a threat).
Así llueva a cántaros, iremos a la playa. (Even if it rains cats and dogs, we’ll go to the beach.)
In this case, así can be substituted by aunque.
No compraré uno nuevo así sea millonario. (I won’t buy a new one even if I’m a millionaire.)
¡Así te parta un rayo! (May lightning strike you!)
¡Así te quedes ciego! (I hope you go blind!)
2. Así pues (so)
Hacía frío, así pues, no salí de la cama. (It was cold, so I didn’t get out of bed.)
3. Así que (so)
This has the same meaning as así pues, but it’s much more commonly used.
Hacía frío, así que no salí de la cama. (It was cold, so I didn’t get out of bed.)
4. Así como (just like, just as, as, and)
Quiero una así como la tuya. (I want one just like yours.)
Así como tú estudias español, yo estudio japonés. (Just as you study Spanish, I study Japanese.)
Es un chico muy guapo, como todos los polacos. (He’s a very handsome guy, as are all Polish guys.)
Yo me comeré el mío así como tú te comerás el tuyo. (I’ll eat mine and you’ll eat yours.)
5. Así se hace (that’s how you do it, well done)
Así se hace. ¡Muy bien! (That’s how you do it. Very well!)
¡Así se hace! ¡Enhorabuena! (Well done! Congratulations!)
6. Así se dice (that’s the way you say it)
Perfecto, así se dice en español. (Perfect, that’s the way you say it in Spanish.)
7. Así se habla (well said!)
¡Así se habla, Pedro! (Well said, Pedro!)
8. Seguir así (go on, carry on, keep it up)
Si seguimos así, terminaremos muy pronto. (If we go on like this, we’ll finish very soon.)
Buen trabajo, María. ¡Sigue así! (Good job, María. Keep it up!)
9. Aun así (even so, still)
Estaba cansado pero, aun así, fue a la fiesta. (He was tired, but he still went to the party.)
10. Así es (that’s right, that’s it)
—La amas, ¿verdad? (“You love her, don’t you?”) —Así es. (“That’s right.”)
11. Que así sea (amen, so be it)
Si quiere seguir mintiendo, que así sea. (If he wants to keep on lying, so be it.)
¡Que así sea! (Amen to that!)
12. Asimismo (as well, also, likewise) / así mismo (the same way)
Asimismo, me gustaría… (Likewise, I’d like to…)
Así mismo se lo haré saber. (I’ll let him know the same way.)
13. Algo así (something like this/that, along the lines)
Necesito algo así. (I need something like this.)
Algo así dijo. (He said something along those lines.)
14. Cómo así (how so)
—Te dejo. (“I am leaving you.”) —¿Cómo así? (“How so?”)
15. Así es la vida (that’s life)
16. Si eso es así (if that’s the case)
Si eso es así, lo compro. (If that’s the case, I’ll buy it.)
17. No es así (that’s not like that, that’s not the way it is) / ¿no es así? (aren’t you?, isn’t it so?)
Eso no es así. Di la verdad. (That’s not the way it is. Tell the truth.)
Estás casado, ¿no es así? (You’re married, aren’t you?)
18. No se hace así (that’s not how you do it)
Eso no se hace así. Deja que lo haga yo. (That’s not how you do it. Let me do it.)
19. Él/ella es así (that’s who he/she is)
Ella es así, no la vas a cambiar. (That’s who she is, you won’t change her.)
Now you know everything you need in order to use the word así in Spanish.
Remember this word is mainly used in expressions, so learn those expressions and try to use them as often as possible with your friends or in class.
¡Así es como se aprende español! (That’s how you learn Spanish!)
And One More Thing…
If you've made it this far that means you probably enjoy learning Spanish with engaging material and will then love FluentU.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.