In Spanish Lessons, Spanish Vocabulary

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 another 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 / Exclamations

¡Basta ya! = Enough already!
¡Ya está! = That’s it!
¡Ya está bien! = That’s plenty!
¡Ya era hora! = It’s about time!


2. Now

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


4. Anymore

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!


6. Yet

¿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


8. Reassurance

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!


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Showing 6 comments
  • David Kingsley

    While listening to my Spanish lesson, he said “ya tu esposo tambien”. Looking at your examples of “ya”, I didn’t see where it fits in. Is this correct or did I hear it wrong?

    • Daniela

      I speak spanish and “Ya tu esposo también” is not correct. It would be ” Y a tu esposo también” which means And also to your husband 🙂
      This spanish lesson is good. Greetings from Peru 😉

      • Arlette

        I thinks it’s okay. It could mean “ok your husband too” to refer that they are going somewhere and her husband is going as well even though at first they maybe didn’t want him to come.

  • Eric Holden

    Can “ya” mean okay? I was watching a tv show in Spanish, and the guy said “ya” but it translated to “okay.” Is that wrong?

    • Happy Hour Spanish

      ¡Sí Eric! Many Spanish speakers just use ‘ya’ on it’s own to mean ‘ok’, much like how in Spain they use ‘vale’ to mean the same thing. It stems from a short version of ‘ya lo sé’. Good catch on the tv show 😉

  • ken rushe

    Excelente. Muchas gracias.

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