There are always a few words in any foreign language that pop up in multiple uses, and when you try to translate literally, you have a hard time understanding what it really means.”Ya” has been one of those words for me in Spanish.
When you first learn about “ya” it’s pretty straight forward. It means “already”, so “ya comí desayuno” means “I already ate breakfast”. Great. Got it. But “ya” also shows up in a number of other context where “already” just doesn’t fit well …
Check out the following examples to see all the different meanings we can make in Spanish with this little two-letter word …
1. Express Frustration / Exclimations
¡Basta ya! = Enough already!
¡Ya está! = That’s it!
¡Ya está bien! = That’s plenty!
¡Ya era hora! = It’s about time!
Ya está aquí = She is here now
3. Right now
Tienes que llamar ya = You have to call right now
Lo quiero ya = I want it right now
Ya no fumo = I don’t smoke anymore
Ya no duele = It doesn’t hurt anymore
5. Added emphasis
Ya entiendo = I get it
Ya lo sé = I know!
¿La cena ya está? = Is dinner ready yet?
7. Pointing out something with emphasis
Ya que no llueve, podríamos ir a dar un paseo = Being as it’s not raining, we could go for a walk
Ya verás como todo va bien = You will see that everything will go well
9. Later (in the future)
Ya lo haré = I will do it later
10. Unbelieving / incredulous
¡Ya ya! = Yeah, sure!
So ya está! That’s it for this lesson! Now you’re equipped to use this two-letter word in lots of different contexts!