Spanish language Now or Right Now!

This article was written by Dave Clark for US Institute of Languages and is republished here with permission.

In Spanish the word for "now" is ahora (listen). We are going to talk a little this week about the importance of ahora. Let's say you are conversing at work with a Spanish speaking person and you tell them about something that needs to be done ahora. What will likely happen is that they will get around to the task in an hour or two or possibly even sometime later in the day. This can be very frustrating if you need something done "now." You may wonder why they are taking so long to complete the task. Understanding this term completely and the culture behind it will help you avoid frustration and bridge culture gaps that may exist in this area.

For a Spanish speaking person, the word
ahora actually means "now, or any time today." So if you tell a Spanish speaking person that something has to be done ahora it will probably get done sometime today.

So, how do you let someone know that something really needs to be done "now"? Many native speakers will tell you that the word for "right now" in Spanish is
ahorita. But even that term means within the next hour or so. For example, many native speakers will leave and say they'll be coming back ahorita. This means they'll return within the next hour or less.

The way to say "right now" is
ahora mismo. This literally means "the same now". By understanding this concept, you can avoid many potential misunderstandings. Be sure you understand this term well and start using it ahora mismo!

Copyright © 1999-2005 US Institute of Languages All rights reserved.


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