What does “Ya” mean in Spanish?

“Ya” is another one of those Spanish words that appear everywhere and can mean different things in different contexts. Let’s look at the most common ways “ya” is used in everyday Spanish:

Already:

¿Ya has comido? (Have you eaten already?)
Ya lo sé (I already know)

Yes, sure (colloquially):

(A) Me he pasado toda la tarde cocinando. (I’ve spent all afternoon cooking.)
(B) ¡Ya! (Yes, sure!)

Ya, pero no sé todavía. (Yes, but I still don’t know.)

Ya no = No more / no longer / any more:

Ya no fumo. (I don’t smoke any more)
Ya no vienen. (They aren’t coming any more)

Right now:

Ya vengo (I’m coming now)
¿Estáis listos ya? (Are you ready now?)
Ya viene el autobús. (The bus is coming now.)
Note: “Ya” can be placed at the beginning or at the end of the sentence.

Ya que = since/as:

Ya que llueve, no podemos ir a la playa. (Since it is raining, we can’t go to the beach)
Ya que habla bien en español, lo entenderán. (As he speaks good Spanish, they will understand him.)

With future verbs:

Ya te contaré (I’ll tell you)
Ya sabrás (You’ll know (one day))

Other expressions using “ya”:

¡Ya quisiera yo! (I should be so lucky!)
¡Ya era hora! (About time too!)
¡Ya lo creo! (You bet!)

 
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