Spanish Slang 101: La Neta Meaning + Real-Life Examples

Cover image for la neta in Spanish

In Mexican Spanish, la neta is an informal expression speakers use to say ‘the truth’ or ‘to be honest’. Neta, without ‘la’, means ‘really’ and emphasizes a statement, or expresses surprise or disbelief.

La neta, a mí no me gustó la peli.
To be honest, I didn’t like the movie. 

Dime la neta, ¿mis tenis están muy feos?
Tell me the truth. Are my sneakers too ugly?

¿Neta se enojó porque no la invitamos?
Did she really get mad because we didn’t invite her? 

Graphic explaining what la neta in Spanish means

How & When to Use La Neta in Spanish Slang

La neta is one of the most popular expressions in Mexican slang because it’s used to ask, emphasize or say that something is the truth. 

La neta, la neta, no quiero ir. 
The truth is that I don’t want to go. 

Si te digo la neta, ¿no te enojas?
If I tell you the truth, you won’t be mad?

La mera neta no me cae bien la novia de Javi. 
To be really honest, I don’t like Javi’s girlfriend. 

¿Va a ir Sonia? Porque la neta patineta no quiero verla. 
Is Sonia going? Because the truth is that I don’t want to see her. 

As shown in the last two examples, this expression can be intensified with some words like mera or patineta. Adding these terms doesn’t affect la neta meaning, they rather emphasize it.

Take Note: Because of its nature, la neta is suitable for informal situations. 

What Does Neta Mean & When to Use It

Neta without the definite article ‘la’ conveys surprise or disbelief. It can also be used to seek confirmation or emphasize a sentence. When it works as an informal interjection, it means ‘really’, ‘are you serious’, or similar expressions. 

¿Eres la hermana de Juan Pablo? ¿Neta?
Are you Juan Pablo’s sister? Really?

¿Es neta que se te olvidó comprar los boletos?
Did you really forget to buy the tickets?

Neta no entiendo cómo pueden comer tanto. 
I really don’t understand how you guys can eat so much. 

Other Ways to Say Neta & La Neta

Here are other popular and basic Spanish expressions you can use instead of neta and la neta. 

  • Para ser honesto/a – To be honest
  • La verdad – The truth
  • ¿En serio? – Really? 
  • ¿De verdad? – Really? 
  • Honestamente – Honestly 

¿Renata es tu prima? ¿En serio?
Is Renata your cousin? Really?

Para ser honesta, no quiero ir a esa fiesta. 
To be honest, I don’t want to go to that party.

Si Sonia va, yo no voy. La verdad, no quiero verla. 
If Sonia goes, I won’t. The truth is that I don’t want to see her.

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I've been studying Spanish professionally as well as teaching it in Mexico and online for over 10 years. I’ve taught Spanish to a wide array of foreigners from many backgrounds. Over the years, I've made it my mission to work hard on refining many challenging to understand grammar topics to make my students' learning experiences easier, faster and more enjoyable. Read More About Me

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