Definition – Con permiso is a Spanish expression that means ‘excuse me’. Depending on the context, it could also be translated as ‘If you’ll excuse me’. Although its translation is pretty straightforward, this phrase is only used in certain situations.
What does ‘Con permiso’ mean?
- Translation #1: It’s translated as ‘excuse me’.
- Translation # 2: Depending on the context, it could also mean ‘If you’ll excuse me.’
How and When to use ‘Con Permiso’?
- To ask people to leave you to pass. One of the most popular ways to use con permiso in Spanish is when you’re on the street or in the middle of a crowd and you need to pass. We also use it as a polite expression when a person is blocking your path to a place or an object and we want them to move. In this context, con permiso is translated as ‘excuse me’. We also use if we’re passing in the middle of these people and by doing this we interrupt something they are doing such as watching a movie. As you may imagine, in this situation, con permiso will also be translated as ‘excuse me’.
- As a synonym of If you’ll excuse me. Con permiso is a very polite phrase that Spanish speakers use when they are in someone’s house or office and they’re either about to leave the place or leave that room to go to another one. This use of con permiso is widely popular when we’re visiting our friend’s or partner’s parents’ house. It’s a formal and polite phrase that we wouldn’t use among friends or young people. In this case, this expression means ‘If you’ll excuse me’. This is because the direct translation of con permiso would be ‘with permission’.
- When reaching across someone at the dinner table. This Spanish expression is also used as a polite way to warn someone that you’re about to reach across them at the table. In this case, con permiso is also translated as ‘excuse me’.
Examples of How to Use Con Permiso
The following sections will help you understand better when and how to use con permiso properly.
To ask people/a crowd to move or let you pass
As mentioned above, in Spanish, ‘con permiso’ is the phrase that we use when we want to let people know that we’re going to pass. Here are some instances where you can use this phrase:
- In the middle of the crowd when you want people to let you pass
- On the streets when you’re walking faster than others and they’re blocking your path
- When someone’s body is preventing you from reaching an object or a place
Although con permiso is always polite, in this context, it’s not considered extremely formal. Rather, it’s a phrase that we use to make people aware of our presence and of the fact that we want them to move. As a result, you can use them with all types of people.
Con permiso, voy a pasar
Excuse me, I’m going to pass
Con permiso, sólo quiero tomar mi mochila
Excuse me, I just want to take my bag
We also use con permiso when two or more people are having a conversation and, for some reason, we need to pass through the middle of them. Perhaps you’re in a grocery store and two or more people are blocking access to the other side of an aisle.
This can also be applied to other contexts where people are doing other activities that will get interrupted when you pass by. Even though these examples may not show the whole context, keep in mind the description we gave you since they’ll help you understand when to apply this phrase.
Con permiso, voy a salir un momento
Excuse me, I have to leave for a moment
As a synonym of ‘If you’ll excuse me’
Con permiso can also be used as a polite, formal phrase that we use when we’re in someone’s house and we’re either leaving or going to another room. Other similar situations where you can apply con permiso with this meaning are:
- When you’re leaving a formal meeting and more people are staying
- When you’re in a building that you don’t know and you’re moving to another room or office.
Con permiso, yo me retiro
If you’ll excuse me, I’m leaving
Fue un gusto conocerla, con permiso
It was very nice to meet you, if you’ll excuse me
Con permiso, vamos a pasar a la sala
If you’ll excuse us, we’ll go to the living room
Although in English this phrase may sound too formal or outdated, in Spanish, it’s very common to use it in the situations mentioned above. In this context, con permiso is a way to show respect and politeness for the people and their house/office.
When reaching across someone at the table
Another use of con permiso is a polite way to let people know that you’re going to bend your body or to stretch your arm to reach something and you’re going to cross over them. Usually, this is a very common situation when eating with others.
Con permiso, voy a tomar la sal
Excuse me, I’m going to take the salt
In the previous examples, we can see that you use con permiso and add more information about the object that you want to reach. However, it’s also very common to use only con permiso because, by context, people know that you’re going to be trying to reach something and that they’re on your way.
Who Can You Use ‘Con permiso’ With?
Con permiso as a synonym of ‘If you’ll excuse me’ is only used in very formal situations and with people that are either:
- Older than you
- Have some kind of authority over you
- People that you aren’t well-acquainted with and you’re in their house or on their property
Usually, we use this expression as ‘If you’ll excuse me’ when visiting our friends or partner’s house. It can also be applied when you’re in an office building and you’re moving to another room.
If you’re using con permiso as a synonym of ‘excuse me’ you can use it in both formal or informal situations. Be aware that it’s possible that young people may have some variations of this phrase.
When using con permiso something that you need to keep in mind is that even though it means ‘excuse me’, you cannot use this expression in all contexts where you would use this English phrase. In Spanish, we have different words for ‘excuse me’ and each of them should be applied in the correct situation. In this article, you can learn more about how to say excuse me in Spanish.
Other Ways to Say ‘Con Permiso’.
Here are other synonyms that you can use to replace ‘con permiso’ when needed.
- Comper → Comper is a Mexican slang abbreviation for ‘con permiso’. We only use it when we want to ask people to let us pass. This expression is very common among young people.
- ¿Me das permiso de pasar? → This is another way to ask people to leave you to pass or to move out of your way. We only apply this expression on the street or in the middle of a crowd.