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'a ver'

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One more question about Spain. I hear SO many sentences beginning with, 'a ver', is this kind of a way to say, "well anyways..." and then move on'

2208 views
updated ENE 18, 2009
posted by Casey

6 Answers

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The textbook from which I am learning Spanish offers an introductory explanation in the context of the first person plural imperative, "Let's see". The book states that "a ver" is often used to avoid the imperative yet still express a request/invitation. But the "si" (a ver si) is necessary for this use. One example the text gives is one I might have used myself at about the age of 16 with my Dad: "A ver si me dejas el coche." In another sentence, showing "a ver" not used this way, but in a sentence otherwise full of imperatives, a doctor says to his patient: "Pongase de pie. Acqui. A ver. ¿Me permite.? Extiéndalo." That example would be "Let's see", too,

For this use of "a ver (si)" as a kind of "workaround" for the imperative, I like the sentences posted by Uly Marrero much better. They are clear. Only after reading that post did I understand the "a ver" in the "doctor sentence". There is no "si", which I did not even recognize. Because I did not realize that the "si" must be there for this "imperative" kind of use, I was unable to understand why "a ver" was being suggested as a kind of "imperative" in that dialog. In fact, Uly's explanation clears it up for me. That "a ver" in the doctor sentence was just mixed in to mix me up!

Thank you. Isn't the forum great! One just casually stops by and gets an answer even to an unasked question - a question one did not even know needed asking!

updated ENE 18, 2009
posted by Janice
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Peter is right. "a ver" means something like "now then,..." or "let's see,..." when followed by a phrase. In this usage, there is a slight pause after it. For example: Cuántas cartas has recibido' A ver...una, dos, tres! A ver...quien quiere ir a la playa? Now then... who wants to go to the beach'

It is also used with no pause when introducing a yet unresolved situation with an expected or desired outcome: Vamos a convidar a 50 personas a ver si vienen al menos 30. Let's invite 50 people so that at least 30 will show up. Pon trampas en la cocina a ver si acabamos con los ratones. Put traps in the kitchen so we can get rid of the mice.

Finally "a ver si (no)" can be used as a somewhat emphatic warning similar to "mind that you...":
A ver si no llamas a tu hermano, que se va a enfadar contigo. You better call your brother or he's going to get mad at you. A ver si no dejas de fumar tanto para que puedas jugar ténis con nosotros. Why don't you stop smoking so much so that you can play tennis with us.

updated ENE 17, 2009
posted by Uly-Marrero
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Doesn't 'vamos a ver' mean,' let's wait and see''

Eddy said:

You may also hear "vamos a ver" which I gather has the same or alomost the same meaning.

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updated ENE 17, 2009
posted by Pete-HKK
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I've always been under the impression that 'a ver' usually means, 'now then' or 'let's see'. Can anybody correct me if I'm wrong? Thanks!

updated ENE 17, 2009
posted by Pete-HKK
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You may also hear "vamos a ver" which I gather has the same or alomost the same meaning.

updated ENE 17, 2009
posted by Eddy
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It is sometimes similar to "Let's see" in English, but it is used only in spoken Spanish:

A ver qué quiere = Let's see what she/he wants
A ver, ¿qué pasa? = Now, what's going on?
A ver, no sé que hacer = Well, I don't know what to do

updated ENE 17, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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