Looking for Accelerated Spanish? We've rebranded!

Click here to learn more.


Sometimes words don’t mean what they seem to mean! Let’s use our Spanish vocabulary to create new meanings by combining them into non-literal phrases we call idioms — such as ya que and ya está.

Full Podcast Episode


Let’s put our words together into some new idioms.

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today we’re going to get a lot of practice with all our uses of Ir and Haber that we’ve been working on this week.

Before we do, let’s learn a few more things we can do with our vocabulary. A language isn’t just about words; it’s about how those words are put together into blocks of meaning. Rather than just translating between languages one word at a time, part of thinking in Spanish is learning how to combine Spanish words in ways that English words aren’t combined. And that means learning idiomatic phrases.

One very simple idiom is todo bien, literally “all well”. So to say “all is well” in Spanish, you say todo está bien. But if you’re meeting up with someone, and you’re talking with them in a casual context, it’s common to ask “all good?” after asking them how they are. So here’s how you would say:

How are you? All good?

¿Cómo estás? ¿Todo bien?

Next let’s learn some idioms that use the word ya. As we discussed in Episode 39, this word can mean “anymore”, “already”, or sometimes “now”, but it’s also used in some very nuanced ways, particularly in idioms that don’t easily translate between languages.

A good example of this is ya está. This literally means “now it is”, almost as if you’re saying “now it is present”. But it’s used to mean that something is now better than it was before, or now done, or now ready.

For example:

All done, I’ve done it.

Ya está, lo he hecho.

Here’s another way to translate it:

It’s ready now, they left.

Ya está, se fueron.

In our quizzing, for now, we’ll use “all done” as the English translation, so be ready to translate that as ya está on today’s quiz once or twice.

Now, in that idiom, the word ya is still being used to indicate something related to time, implying that something has recently changed. That’s NOT the case in the idiom ya que. This idiom is extremely common in Spanish, and it’s impossible to translate literally, but basically it means “since” in logical statements. But be careful — in English, we use the word “since” in two different ways. This idiom, ya que, specifically means “since” when “since” basically means “because”. So compare these two sentences:

We haven’t done it since that day.

We haven’t done it, since he has done it.

In the first case, “since” is being used to describe a length of time. There’s a totally different word in Spanish for that. But in the second case, you could replace “since he has done it” with “because he has done it”, so that is a case where we’d use ya que.

We haven’t done it, since he has done it.

No lo hemos hecho, ya que él lo ha hecho.

Let’s practice ya está and ya que with a couple more examples.

We are leaving since she is leaving.

Nos vamos ya que ella se va.

No, since we haven’t been there.

No, ya que no hemos estado ahí.

All done, he will leave.

Ya está, él se irá.

Now let’s talk for a second about the word a. We mentioned before that this is sometimes used to talk about time; for example, “at one o’clock” is “a one o’clock”, literally “to one o’clock”.

But we can also talk about time in relation to actions. See if you can make any sense of this sentence:

Ella irá al hacer eso.

Literally “she will go to the doing that.” What we’ve done here is we’ve put al before the infinitive hacer. And whenever this happens, we’re actually talking about time. Al hacer eso could be translated into English as “when she does that” or “upon doing that”. So let’s hear that sentence again, along with the English translation:

She will go upon doing that.

Ella irá al hacer eso.

So once again we’re using a to talk about time, but the time that we’re talking about isn’t an hour in the day; instead it’s the time that something else happens.

Let’s practice this with a couple of examples.

I am going to do that upon being here.

Voy a hacer eso al estar aquí.

They are going to go upon being friends(m).

Van a ir al ser amigos.

They are going to be friends upon going there.

Van a ser amigos al ir ahí.

I know that the English here is awkward; in real life I would rarely say “upon being friends”, I’d probably just say “when they are friends”. But that implies the translation cuando sean amigos. In Spanish, using al before an infinitive is quite common when you’re talking about when something happens, so to make it clear that that’s the Spanish you should predict, I’ll keep using this antiquated use of “upon” in these cases.

Our last little idiomatic thing to learn involves the word por. We’ve been using this word in many contexts to mean things like “by” or “because of”. Check out this particular sentence template:

She has done it because of him.

Lo ha hecho por él.

So she’s done it “because of” him. But how often do we actually say that in English? Let’s think of a situation where this might make sense. Maybe we’re in an office setting, and this guy has the responsibility of doing something at work, but he is slacking on the job, so “she” has decided to do it instead. So the reason she’s doing it is because of him.

Another way we might translate this same situation into English is like this: “She has done it for him.” Now, this can be confusing, because we’ve generally been translating the word “for” as para. But remember that para specifically refers to doing something in a way that’s intended for someone else. In this case, she’s not doing it so that he’ll receive something. Instead, she’s doing it on his behalf. This is actually a very common use of por.

So whenever you see “for” in English, make sure to check whether something is intended for someone else, as the direct beneficiary, which would indicate para, or if it’s “on behalf of” them, which would indicate por.

Let’s practice with a few examples.

She has done his chores for him.

Ella ha hecho sus chores por él.

Ella ha hecho sus tareas por él.

I have gone there on behalf of them(m)

He ido ahí por ellos.

Are they going to do this for me if I am not present?

¿Van a hacer esto por mí si yo no estoy?

Let’s practice all these new idiomatic translations, as well as everything we’ve been learning recently, using today’s final quiz.


I’m looking at myself and nobody is so tall.

Me estoy looking y nadie es tan tall.

Me estoy mirando y nadie es tan alto.

I’ll give him this if he comes this afternoon.

Le I’ll give esto si he comes esta tarde.

Le daré esto si viene esta tarde.

You hadn’t seen us.

No nos habías seen.

No nos habías visto.

The truth is that they are that way.

La verdad es que son así.

All done, now she is leaving.

Ya está, ella ya se va.

This time my friend(m) and I will be there.

Esta vez mi amigo y yo estaremos ahí.

Is there a house where you were?

¿Hay una casa donde estabas?

She is about to finish, so she’ll have finished by tonight.

Está por to finish, so habrá finished para esta noche.

Está por terminar, así que habrá terminado para esta noche.

The women have a lot of things.

Las mujeres tienen muchas cosas.

The lady is going to go with her friends.

La señora va a ir con sus amigos.

I won’t go to that house, but I’ll go to this one.

No iré a esa casa, pero iré a esta.

Your friends didn’t tell us the truth.

Tus amigos no nos told la verdad.

Tus amigos no nos dijeron la verdad.

I have never been there and I only want to go.

Nunca he estado ahí y solo I want ir.

Nunca he estado ahí y solo quiero ir.

Did you go? I think she had gone too.

¿Fuiste? I think que ella había ido too.

¿Fuiste? Creo que ella había ido también.

Have they been there?

¿Han estado ahí?

I think she wasn’t going to go.

I think que no iba a ir.

Creo que no iba a ir.

Good evening! I hope you(formal) go to the party that day!

¡Buenas noches! ¡I hope que vaya a the party ese día!

¡Buenas noches! ¡Espero que vaya a la fiesta ese día!

All done! I always do my homework.

¡Ya está! Siempre I do mi homework.

¡Ya está! Siempre hago mi tarea.

You(formal) were doing what they had already done.

Usted estaba haciendo lo que ellos ya habían hecho.

Good afternoon! Is that phone(m) your phone?

¡Buenas tardes! ¿Ese phone es tu phone?

¡Buenas tardes! ¿Ese teléfono es tu teléfono?

What do you think that there will be with him?

¿Qué do you think que habrá con él?

¿Qué crees que habrá con él?

Actually, there is a house there where we went.

En verdad, hay una casa ahí where fuimos.

En verdad, hay una casa ahí donde fuimos.

You’re welcome! Do you want to do it now?

¡De nada! ¿Tú lo want hacer ahora?

¡De nada! ¿Tú lo quieres hacer ahora?

If you look at yourself in the mirror, we will look at ourselves.

Si te you look en the mirror, nosotros nos will look.

Si te miras en el espejo, nosotros nos miraremos.

Good day! I’ll be happy upon eating lunch, since I’m hungry.

¡Buen día! Estaré happy al eating lunch, ya que I’m hungry.

¡Buen día! Estaré feliz al almorzar, ya que tengo hambre.

Thank you for doing that!

¡Gracias por hacer eso!

Hi! All good in the house?

¡Hola! ¿Todo bien en la casa?

I want to do it this year in case I’m going to Argentina.

Lo I want hacer este año por si voy a Argentina.

Lo quiero hacer este año por si voy a Argentina.

She was there on behalf of him.

Ella estaba ahí por él.

There was someone else with you all.

Había alguien más con ustedes.

I have done it better!

¡Yo lo he hecho mejor!

I hope we are better people upon being with them.

I hope que seamos better people al estar con ellos.

Espero que seamos mejores personas al estar con ellos.

The young lady was here during the day, but not during the night.

La señorita estuvo aquí por el día, pero no por la noche.

My friend(f) is more intelligent than him.

Mi amiga es más intelligent que él.

Mi amiga es más inteligente que él.

We(f) aren’t doing it, since we’re not well.

Nosotras no lo estamos haciendo, ya que no estamos bien.

She will be there when we go.

Ella estará ahí cuando vayamos.

They are happy when they see me.

Están happy cuando me they see.

Están felices cuando me ven.

We are what we want to be.

Somos lo que we want ser.

Somos lo que queremos ser.

She is nice and that’s why she has gone there.

Ella es buena y por eso ha ido ahí.

Hi, good morning! Please come with me.

¡Hola, buenos días! Por favor come conmigo.

¡Hola, buenos días! Por favor ven conmigo.

How was he that day? All good?

¿Cómo estaba ese día? ¿Todo bien?

There is going to be someone because she went there.

Va a haber alguien porque ella fue ahí.

Really, they would be there if they saw her.

De verdad, estarían ahí si la they saw.

De verdad, estarían ahí si la vieran.

The man is going on behalf of his friend.

El hombre va por su amigo.

The gentleman has a nice life.

El señor tiene una buena vida.

You were going to go to see to the movie by the Mexican director.

Ibas a ir to see the movie por the Mexican director.

Ibas a ir a ver la película por el director mexicano.

You all left with a woman.

Ustedes se fueron con una mujer.

Yes, SHE was here, but why were YOU here?

Sí, ella estaba aquí, pero ¿por qué tú estabas aquí?

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/50.

Next week, we’re going to learn another verb, Tener, as well as some numbers and other adjectives.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Ximena Lama-Rondón. Our music was provided by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

Get the Free Podcast Materials
Sign up for instant access to the free course that goes with the podcast!
Access the Free Materials