"Al rato mismo"


I hear this all the time at work. I think they are trying to say "In a little while" or "after a while" when they say it. It seems like it would mean "At the same time" but I don't think it's used like that. Anyone hear this?

updated MAR 12, 2010
posted by jeezzle

3 Answers


I usually say "Al rato" meaning "some minutes later"

Ex. Le dijo que no iría y al rato apareció

updated MAR 12, 2010
posted by Benz
So some minutes later would be like "in a little while" right? because we would never say "some minutes later" in English. I will write it as "in a few minutes, in a little while" thanks.
He said that he wouldn't go and then in a few minutes, or a little while, he appeared.
I agree most people wouldn't say "some minutes later" in colloquial English, but I've certainly come across it in literature.
yes jeez, in a little while :)

The noun "el rato" pops up in many time-related phrases; it can mean "while" or "moment." I've seen 'al poco rato' and even just 'al rato' used to mean 'in/after awhile, soon", etc.

As you mentioned, 'mismo' can indeed mean 'same', but it's one of those tricky modifiers that changes meaning based on it's position relative to its noun. If it precedes its noun, then it means 'same' [el mismo coche = the same car].

However, if it follows its noun, it can mean something like "per se, in itself/oneself," and in many phrases can express 'right, just,' etc. For example: ahora mismo = right now; ayer mismo = just yesterday. So perhaps the phrase you're hearing means something like 'in just awhile.'

updated MAR 12, 2010
posted by Larsa

I've heard dentro un rato which I take to mean "...in a little while" as in

vamos al bar dentro un rato "we'll go to the bar in a little while"

updated MAR 12, 2010
posted by lagartijaverde
I've heard "dentro un rato" many times, but I don't recall hearing "al rato" or "al rato mismo".
Are you based in Spain? I haven't heard the other ones either...maybe Latin American?
the expression is "dentro de un un rato". If sounds like "dentro un rato" in spoken Spansih, especially when natives speak fast. :)