It is no secret that Spanish is not always straight forward, nor is it unknown that we love to use the same word for many diiferent things. In fact, this is actually what we are going to explore today.
I am sure that if you’ve been learning Spanish for a while, or even if you just have some Spanish friends or watch some Spanish films, you’ve heard the word venga.
It is probably one of the most common Spanish words, closely following behind the wonderful and ubiquitous word se. It is also very probable that this is the word with the most variety of meanings in Spanish, depending on how you use it. Simply put, it’s all about the context, my friend.
Therefore, today, it’s time to master your Spanish and focus on the word venga: that extremely common word that we don’t really know the meaning of, but cannot escape from.
So, if you are ready, get focused, grab your pen and Spanish notebook, and here we go!
Ten different uses of venga
Venga, venga, venga… you hear it everywhere, but… what does it actually mean? Is it just a made up word that Spanish people use to make you (Spanish learners) a little bit crazy?
Well… there’s good and bad news. Venga does in fact have a meaning (the good news) but, it has many different meanings (the bad news). Let’s have a look at them, as well as some examples, so that you can better grasp the meaning of venga.
The first way that we use it is kinda like the imperative. It is popular to say venga when giving a command. You see? Sometimes, Spanish people can be bossy too!
Example: If you are fighting with your child to get them leave the house and he won’t stop fooling around, you can put on a serious face and say:
- !Venga! Ponte el abrigo y vamonos. Come on! Put your coat on and let’s go.
Venga can also be used to indicate that we agree with someone or we are happy to do something. Essentially, it is used to show that while it may not be something that we would love to do, we are OK with it.
Example: Imagine that you are trying to arrange a meeting with your friend, but it seems impossible to organize anything. In the end, it appears that Sunday is the only option available, even though you were not that interested in meeting on that day. Therefore, you can use venga to agree to it, by saying:
- !Venga, bien! Quedamos el domingo para comer. OK, fine, We will meet Sunday for lunch.
Venga can also be used when we want to encourage or show support to someone.
Example: A friend tells you that he is worried about something fairly serious, such as potentially getting laid off. As a result, you try to cheer him up:
- !Venga, hombre! No te preocupes, veras como todo sale bien. Come on, man! Do not worry, everything will be OK.
Another situation in which we would use venga is when we want to express that something has been repeated several times.
Example: If you were in the shower and your phone started ringing repeatedly, you would return the call and ask (only if it were a friend or family member, never in a formal situation):
- ¿Qué quieres tanto insisitir? Estaba en la ducha y el telefóno venga a sonar y venga a sonar. What do you want so insistently? I was in the shower and the phone kept ringing over and over.
Sometimes it is used to express a quantity, as in “a lot.” I think the best way to understand this is with an example:
Example: If you went to a party last weekend and wanted to express that there were plenty of things, you would probably say something like:
- !Menuda fiesta de cupleaños la de mi sobrino! Y venga regalos, y venga besos. What a birthday party we had for my nephew! Plenty of presents and plenty of hugs and kisses.
If used with the word ya afterwards, it indicates that we are annoyed or do not agree with something.
Example: If you are getting annoyed because someone is telling you something that you do not believe, you can say:
- ¡Venga ya! Tú estás intentando engañarme. Come on! You are trying to cheat me.
Example: If someone tells you something that might be accurate, but sounds too good to be true, you can say the following. This is more in an “are you kidding me?” kind of way.
- !Venga ya! No me creo que hayas comprado ese coche. Are you kidding? I don’t believe that you bought that car.
It can also be used to beg for something as well (I know, I know, “beg” is such a horrible word… let’s just say “to ask for something with intensity” instead).
Example: If you were new to a country and were unable to manage the language well, the phone would scare you to death. So, if you needed to use one, you’d probably ask one of your friends for help:
- ¿Puedes llamar a este número de telefóno por mi por favor? Creo que es ingles, y no hablo muy bien, venga hazlo por mí. Can you call this number for me, please? I think it is an English number and I don’t speak English very well. Come on please, do it for me.
It is also popular to use this word when asking someone to hurry up:
Example: You are going on a day trip and your flatmate is still getting ready ten minutes before the train leaves. You can tell them to hurry up by saying:
- !Venga! Que el tren sale a las 10, lo vamos a perder. Come on, hurry up! The train leaves at ten, and we are going to miss it.
Venga is also used to express that we accept something, even though we don’t want to.
Example: If you wanted to throw a surprise party for one of your friends who is getting married, but suddenly all the reservations got cancelled and your apartment seemed to be the only place available, you would accept, but not happily. You would then say something like:
- Venga, hacemos la fiesta en mi casa, pero última vez no me gusta. OK, we will have the party at my house, but this is the last time, I don’t like it.
Last but not least, we use venga is to show that we strongly disagree with something. This is pretty similar to number six, but in this case, we are indicating a stronger disagreement. It is clear that you are not kidding and are serious. You do not think it is funny or acceptable.
Example: If someone were talking about something they wanted to do, but you knew there was no way they would do it, you could say:
- !Venga! Eso no te lo crees ni tú. Come on! Even you don’t believe that.
OK amigos, I think that is all for now… That wasn’t too bad, was it? However, before you leave, I want to give you a mini assignment, being that it is not enough to just read this article and think… “Oh cool info, I need to remember this and practice it later.” No, no, no… It doesn’t work that way, and you and I both know that! So, before you leave this page, I want to make sure you walk away with something you can use. Thus, your assignment for today is to write one sentence, just one, using venga in one of its various different meanings. Then, post it in the comments. If you find that you are on fire and want to write more, great! That’s perfectly OK.
So, go on, use the keyboard and surprise me. I promise to correct it if it is wrong and give you a proper explanation.
Looking forward to reading your comments. Happy learning!
I will talk to you pronto.