Five Spanish phrases I can’t live without

muletillasImage source


Being bilingual has lots of perks like being able to know more than one way to say something. However, there are certain filler words or muletillas  that I just hold on to a little more tight than others just because they are part of my culture. A lot of times I catch myself wanting to throw them into the conversation, intentionally or not, mainly because they are just part of the way I talk and part of who I am based on the fact that my first language is Spanish and that I lived in Chile for part of my life.

Although at times I can get away with it, like when I speak with other bilingual friends from Chile or when I say them around some of my monolingual friends who have been around me for so long that they know the meaning of some of these words and phrases by now. Por si acaso (just in case) you are reading this blog, kudos to you!

Bueno (Well) I really like to say these words (muletillas or filler words) because they add more meaning (or sabor – flavor) to the conversation.  In my opinion, these words add spice to the conversation. Perhaps it has something to do with the intonation used when saying them.

Here is my list, I am really curious to hear what Spanish fillers or slang you really want to say when speaking in English. Let me know in the comments.

  1. no cierto? Literally, it means “isn’t it true?” I use this phrase a lot, usually to imply agreement.  For example, it was such a nice day at the beach and the water was just perfect! no cierto?  In English, I just say “right?” in place of no cierto?
  2. a ver – Literally, it means “let’s see” I usually say this when we are about to make a plan or when we need to coordinate something. For example, “a ver, what is the plan for the weekend?”
  3. pucha – My college roommate pointed out how much I said ‘pucha‘ long before I realized I said so much! Pucha means “bummer”. For example “pucha, I’m sorry you can’t come!” or “Pucha, hope you feel better!”
  4. si po – The poh is traditional of Chilean Spanish, so as far as I know it is only used there. If you are traveling to Chile and want to sound fluent, jump on the wagon and say ‘poh’ at the end of your sentences.  “Si po” means ‘yeah’ like a Chilean.
  5. o sea – Literally, it means “that is”. I think this is one of those convenient words that I like to say, because I can just say one word to mean “that is”.  O sea is used as a way to clarify a precedent idea or rephrase a sentence. For example, they are coming on Thursday, osea in two days.


What words do you want to say in Spanish when you speak English? What advice do you have for when you want to say them and can’t? What other words would you add to this list?

Nos vemos See you soon!



Want to learn more Spanish slang and idioms? Check out these books and reference guide:

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