The 14th Word of the Month is: VEZ

This word originally appeared in our Spanish word of the month by email



The word "vez" is very common in Spanish and as you will see below it is a very useful word. As an English speaker you should try not to get "vez" confused with "tiempo" becuase both of them can be a translation of "time".

una vez, dos veces, tres veces
El Sevilla Fútbol Club ha sido tres veces campeón de la "Copa del Rey" y dos veces subcampeón.

once, twice, three times
Sevilla FC have won the cup three times and have been runner up twice.

Note the change from vez (singular) to veces (plural)

¿Cuántas veces has estado en Francia?

Note: "Cuántas veces" can sometimes mean "how often" especially if you mention when.

Note: Another way of asking "How often" is:-
¿Con qué frecuencia/regularidad vas al cine?
or ¿Cada cuánto vas al cine?

How many times have you been to France?



How often do you go to the cinema?

por una vez
Por una vez has comido todo.
for once
You've eaten everything for once.
rara vez rarely/seldom

de vez en cuando
La veo de vez en cuando

from time to time
I see her evey now and again
a veces
A veces eres realmente terco.
You are really stubborn sometimes.
alguna vez
¿Alguna vez has estado en Paris?
Note: It gives a bit more emphasis - meaning at any point in your life.
ever (in the present perfect)
Have you ever been to Paris?

de una vez
This is used to express irritation and impatience about something (adding puñetera makes it more emphatic although "puñetera" is not a swear word)
¡Deja de llorar de una puñetera vez!

It can also mean "in one go":
Bebío toda la lata de una vez.

for once and for all

Stop crying for Pete's sake.

She drank all the can down in one go.

en vez de
En vez de ir a Madrid iremos a Granada.
intead of
Instead of going to Madrid we'll go to Granada.
a la vez
Todos los bebés empezaron a llorar a la vez.
at the same time, at once
All the babies started to cry at the same time.
cada vez
Cada vez que voy a Madrid, la veo.
every time, whenever
I see her whenever I go to Madrid.
cada vez más
Cada vez hay más coches.
Cada vez es más difícil entender lo que dice.
more and more, increasingly
There are more and more cars.
It is increasingly more difficult to understand what he says.
a su vez
El presidente, a su vez, se negó a aceptarlo.
for his/her/its/their, etc. part
The president, for his part, refused to accept it.
una vez
Una vez que me había enseñado lo que tenía que hacer, fue fácil.
Once he had shown me what I had to do, it was easy.
una vez más
Una vez más les recuerdo que mañana es fiesta.
once more / once again
Once again I'd like to remind you that tomorrow is a holiday.

otra vez
No lo hagas otra vez.

Note that an alternative way of saying "again" is "de nuevo"
Prueba otra vez or de nuevo

Don't do it again.


try again

hacer las veces de algo
Hago las veces de alcalde cuando no está.
to act as, to serve as
I act as mayor when he's not here.

"Vez" is also used when talking about the order in queues in supermarkets, banks, etc. You will probably understand ¿Quíen es el último? but look at these.
¿Quién tiene la vez? ¿Quién me da la vez?
Hay que pedir la vez.
perder la vez

Who's last in line/the queue?
You have to ask who's last.
to lose one's turn

una y otra vez
Una y otra vez me mintió.
time and (time) again
He lied to me time and again.

una que otra vez
Vino a visitarnos una que otra vez.

on the odd occasion
She came to visit us on the odd occasion.
tal vez
Tal vez no te haya visto
Perhaps she hasn't seen you.
She might not have seen you.
por enésima vez
¡Siéntate por enésima vez!
for the umpteenth time
Sit down for the umpteenth time.
Érase una vez ...
Note: This is how to start "fairy tales" (cuentos de hadas) in Spanish
Once upon a time ...
Tócala otra vez, Sam
Although falsely believed to have been said by Bogart in Casablanca, this is how it is translated.
Play it again, Sam

Be careful - Ten cuidado

Note that in many of the instances above the word "vez" can be translated to the English word "time" but in other situations the word "time" is translated as "tiempo" for example:

hace mucho tiempo que no sé nada de ellos - I haven’t heard from them for a long time

You will have to take care and be aware of this. If you say something like "XX Voy al cine dos tiempos cada semana XX" and nobody understands, you now know why.

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