Siempre is the Spanish translation of ‘always’. However, in conversational Spanish, you may notice that ‘siempre’ doesn’t always seem to follow this meaning. As a result, many Spanish learners wonder how to use ‘siempre’ in Spanish.
On top of being translated as ‘always’, in conversational situations, siempre can be used with other elements to:
- Express a change in mind from a previous situation – Siempre no
- Talk about conditions – Siempre y cuando
- Express habits and routines – Como siempre
- Ask / Talk about dates – ¿Siempre…?
Even though it’s the direct translation of ‘always’, siempre has other useful meanings that you can apply in your conversations. Therefore, in the following sections, we’ll discuss the different contexts, uses and meanings of this word.
By the end of this, you’ll know how to use ‘siempre’ as a native Spanish speaker.
1. Talking about conditions – Siempre y cuando
In Spanish, the expression siempre y cuando is commonly used in conversations to talk about conditions. In other words, this phrase expresses that some requirements must be met in order for something to happen. As a result, ‘siempre y cuando’ can be translated as: ‘as long as’, ‘provided that’.
Here are some examples as well as phrase structure that you can follow to use this meaning of ‘siempre’:
[Result] + siempre y cuando + [condition]
Mañana vamos ir a correr siempre y cuando no llueva
Tomorrow we’re going to run as long as it doesn’t rain
Voy a venir a tu casa siempre y cuando no inventes a María
I’m coming to your house as long as you don’t invite Maria
Mejoraré mi español siempre y cuando practique todos los días
I’ll improve my Spanish provided that I practice every day
Mariana y Noe irán a México siempre y cuando encuentren boletos
Mariana and Noe will go to Mexico as long as they find tickets
When using this phrase notice that ‘siempre y cuando’ introduces the condition that must be met for you to do an action. Additionally, this action or result you want to perform is placed at the beginning of the sentence.
2. Expressing changes in mind – Siempre no
In Mexico, ‘siempre’ can also be used to express a change of mind or conditions from a previous situation. In order to do this, we use the phrase siempre no. ‘Siempre no’ doesn’t have a direct translation, but in some contexts, it’s closer in meaning to ‘on second thought’ or ‘anymore’.
With this meaning, ‘siempre no’ introduces the action or condition that has changed. Here are some simple examples:
Ana, siempre no voy a poder ir a tu fiesta
Ana, I won’t be able to go to your party anymore
Javier me dijo que siempre no va a poder ayudarnos
Javier told me that he won’t be able to help us
¿Sabes qué? Siempre no quiero pastel de chocolate
You know what? On second thought, I don’t want chocolate cake
Notice that these previous examples imply that at some point the speakers wanted to perform these actions, but for some reason, they couldn’t or they changed their mind. Using ‘siempre no’ for this type of situation is very common in conversational contexts.
Take Note: ‘Siempre no’ is very similar to ‘ya’ and ‘todavía’ in the sense that it also talks about past situations that have changed. Keep in mind that you can also use ‘siempre no’ as a way to answer their previous proposal.
|Tu mamá: ¿Todavía quieres pastel?||Your mom: Do you still want cake?|
|Tú: Mmmm, siempre no, gracias.||You: Not anymore, thank you.|
3. Confirming dates or events – ¿Siempre…?
Another way to use ‘¿siempre…?’ in conversational contexts is to confirm dates or that an event/action is still happening. In this situation, the main purpose of ‘siempre’ is to intensify the sentence, as a result, its translation can vary depending on the sentence. Generally speaking, in this situation, ‘¿siempre…?’ can be translated as ‘so’ or ‘still’.
¿Siempre + [verb / question word] + [information]?
Ally, ¿siempre vamos a ir al cine?
Ally, are we still going to the movies?
Oigan, ¿siempre cuándo se estrena la película?
Hey, you guys, so when is the movie going to be released?
Oye, mamá, ¿siempre qué quieres que traiga de la tienda?
Hey, mom, so what do you want me to bring you from the store?
Mañana es el cumpleaños de Nate, ¿siempre sí vamos a hacerle una fiesta?
Tomorrow is Nate’s birthday, so are we still throwing him a party?
Take Note: In this type of sentence, the only purpose of ‘siempre’ is to emphasize the information. As a result, if you remove this word, you won’t affect your statement.
4. Talking about habits or behaviors – Como siempre
Como siempre is another popular expression with ‘siempre’ and it can be used to talk about someone’s habits or recurrent behaviors. Depending on the context, this expression can be translated as ‘as usual’, ‘like always’ or ‘as always’.
‘Como siempre’ is a very flexible expression which means you can place it either at the beginning, middle, or end of your sentence. Here are some examples:
Como siempre, fue un placer verte
As usual, it was nice to see you
Julián se fue y yo no apagó la luz, como siempre
Julian left and he didn’t turn the light off, as always
Como siempre, yo tengo que hacer todo en la oficina
As always, I have to do everything at the office
¿Vas a querer que te corte el cabello como siempre?
Do you want me to cut your hair as usual?
5. As a synonym of ‘always’ – Siempre
As you may know, siempre is the direct translation of ‘always’. As a result, this is one of the most popular and standard uses of ‘siempre’. Here are some examples of how to use this word in Spanish:
Unlike other adverbs, ‘siempre’ can be placed either before or after the conjugated verb.
[Siempre] + [verb conjugated]
Siempre quise aprender español
I always wanted to learn Spanish
Karina y yo, siempre nos sentamos en esta mesa
Karina and I always sit at this table
¿Por qué siempre que venimos aquí ordenas lo mismo?
Why do you always order the same thing when we come here?
Alan y Samantha siempre hablan de deportes
Alan and Samantha always talk about sports
Take Note: In this context, ‘siempre’ can also be used in negative sentences. However, notice that, in order to do this, the word ‘no’ comes before ‘siempre’. Otherwise, you will have the expression ‘siempre no’ and you will be expressing that an action or circumstance changes.
Alan y Samantha no siempre están de buen humor
Alan and Samantha are not always in a good mood
Even though it’s the direct translation of ‘always’, in Spanish, ‘siempre’ has other common meanings that you need to be aware of. For that reason, in this article, we discussed the different contexts, uses and meanings of ‘siempre’ in Spanish.
We learned that this word can change its meaning depending on contexts and the words that follow it. We discussed that siempre no is used to express a change that an action, circumstance or opinion change from a previous situation.
We mentioned too that siempre y cuando is a popular expression that people use to talk about the conditions or requirements that need to be met in order for something to happen. Como siempre can be used to talk about habits and recurrent behaviors.
Finally, ¿siempre…? can be used as a way to emphasize a sentence and ask for dates or if an event is still going to happen. Here are the different translations for these phrases and terms:
- Siempre → Always
- Siempre y cuando → As long as / Provided that
- Como siempre → As usual / Like always / As always
- Siempre no → Anymore / On a second thought
- ¿Siempre…? → Still / So
Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of when and how to use ‘siempre’ in Spanish.