Definition – In Spanish, pues can be used as a filler word, to express the cause of something and to empathize sentences. Depending on the context, ‘pues’ can be translated as ‘well’, ‘then’, ‘since’, ‘of course’, ‘yes’ or ‘indeed’.
What does ‘Pues’ mean?
- Translation #1: As a filler word, ‘pues’ can be translated as ‘then’ and ‘well’.
- Translation #2: If used to explain the cause or reason for something, it would mean ‘since’
- Translation #3: It can be translated as ‘yes’, ‘of course’, or ‘yes, indeed’ when emphasizing positive sentences.
How and When to use ‘Pues’?
- As a synonym of ‘then’ and ‘well’. In some contexts, pues is a filler word which means that we use it to fill the silence when we’re talking to gain some time or to connect a sentence together. In this case, ‘pues’ means ‘then’ or ‘well’.
- To emphasize sentences. This word can also be used as a way to intensify a sentence. If working with positive statements, pues could mean , ‘well’, ‘yes’, ‘of course’ or ‘yes, indeed’.
- To talk about causes and reasons. In formal situations, pues is used to talk about a situation’s causes. As a result, in this situation, this Spanish word means ‘since’.
Examples of How to Use ‘Pues’
Here are some real-life examples of how to use pues in a Spanish sentence.
As a filler word – Well / Then
Filler words don’t actually affect the meaning of a sentence since they only have one objective: buy you some time until you come up with the rest of your statement.
Ándale, pues, vamos mañana
Okay, then, let’s go tomorrow
Pues…la verdad no sé qué decirte
Well… to be honest, I don’t know what to tell you
¿Qué decidiste, pues? ¿Vamos a ir a España este año?
What did you decide, then? Are we going to Spain this year
Take Note: In this context, you can remove pues without affecting the meaning of your sentence.
Talking about causes and reasons – since
Notice that in this context, ‘pues’ is introducing the cause or the reason for a certain situation. This use of ‘pues’ is quite popular in writing samples as well as formal situations.
[Consequence] + pues + [cause/reason]
No te puedo acompañar, pues tengo mucho
I can go with you since I have a lot of work
Clara no va a venir, pues está de viaje
Clara is not coming since she’s traveling
Andrea y Mario están en el hospital, pues se sentían mal
Andrea and Mario are at the hospital since they felt bad
To emphasize sentences – Well / Of course / Yes
In this context, there will be some times where pues won’t have a translation since its only objective is to intensify the phrase.
Pues claro que te vamos a ayudar, no te preocupes
Of course we’re going to help you, don’t worry
Bueno, ¿pues qué te dijo tu hermano que estás tan enojada?
Well, what did your brother tell you that made you so mad?
Pues, no, Clara, no te voy a ayudar porque tú nunca me ayudas
Well, no, Clara, I’m not going to help you because you never help me
Take Note: When emphasizing sentences with ‘pues’ people may express frustration and other feelings.
Who Can You Use ‘Pues’ With?
Pues is a very common word in Spanish, as a result, you can use it in both formal and informal situations. Just remember that ‘pues’ has a very formal meaning that may not be as popular in conversations.
Synonyms: 3 Ways to Say ‘Pues’
Here are other synonyms that you can use to replace ‘pues’ when needed.
- Ya que → It’s an expression that is used to talk about a situation’s causes or reasons. It means ‘since’ or ‘porque’.
- Porque → It means ‘because’ and it’s the most popular word when it comes to talking about causes and reasons.
- Este…→ It’s another popular filler word in Spanish. Remember that filler words are not adding much (if any) meaning to a sentence, they’re just buying you time. So don’t think about the possible meanings of ‘este’.