3 Vote

In my Spanish textbook I saw the phrase "ojalá que..." translated as "let's hope that..." Is this a literal translation? I was wondering what part of speech "ojalá" is, since it doesn't follow the normal patterns of a verb yet seems to act as one. This site translates it as "hopefully", which is an adverb. I don't know, I'm just confused about how to use it and what exactly it means. Could someone help explain to me, please? smile

  • Posted Apr 13, 2011
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6 Vote

Ojalá has its meaning in various phrases. Translated one way, it nearly literally means "God willing". Most commonly, it is used to express hopefulness and wishing. In a sentence it is (as far as I know) almost always followed by "que", and then the following verb is conjugated in the subjunctive.

Simple examples:

Ojalá que tengas exito. (I hope you have success.) Ojalá que Susana le cuente la verdad al juez. (Hopefully Susana tells the truth to the judge).

And the famous song lyrics "Ojalá que llueva café en el campo" (May it rain coffee in the country)

However, note that coloquially, many Spanish speakers drop the "Ojalá" part of the construction and just use "que" followed by a verb in the subjunctive. The meaning is understood through context (Que tengas un buen día, o Que te vayas bien).

That's about as much as I know! I don't use the word often, but it definitely has its place...

  • That is (the last part) a great explantion encantado :) - ian-hill Apr 13, 2011 flag
2 Vote
2 Vote

I'm kinda surprised that no one has mentioned this already but ojalá (one of my favorite Spanish words) actually comes directly from Arabic, meaning "God willing" (Insha' Alla) This is why it doesn't follow the usual "rules." There's other threads that covers the rich Arabic heritage that the Spanish language enjoys.

As for myself, I would love to find out what, if any, influence, the Visigoths had in developing the Spanish language. I've heard that the idea of the "Hidalgo" came from Visigothic customs but I'll just have to wait until one of our more lettered brethren deigns to weigh in on the subject.

  • Oops, too late. The esteemed gfreed has already addressed this. Good job, gfreed! - GaryT Apr 13, 2011 flag
1 Vote

Welcome to SpanishDict

Try using the dictionary above Sus.

1 Vote

However, note that coloquially, many Spanish speakers drop the "Ojalá" part of the construction and just use "que" followed by a verb in the subjunctive. The meaning is understood through context (Que tengas un buen día, o Que te vayas bien).

The indirect commands (we grouped them with exhortations when I was in school) aren't directly related to ojalá que, though, it certainly serves the context. It could just as well be attributed to any verb of desire or hope like esperar, querer, desear, etc. It is the same paradigm with other verbs of emotion, doubt, volition, etc.

Espero que tengas un buen día.

Quiero que tengas un buen día.

Ojalá que tengas un buen día.

In English the indirect commands of desire are often expressed with "may". May you have a nice day. May God always smile upon you. May things always go well with you.

1 Vote

We use this phrase tons in my class. We learned it to be another form of saying "I hope that".

And it is always "ojalá que", that is the conjugated form and it doesn't change depending on the subject like other verbs do.

0 Vote

Thanks so much to everyone! You guys were all really helpful.

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