Quick answer
"De paso" is an adverb which is often translated as "while one's at it", and "por cierto" is a phrase which is often translated as "by the way". Learn more about the difference between "de paso" and "por cierto" below.
de paso(
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
1. (making use of the occasion)
a. while one's at it
Ve a la panadería y, de paso, ve a la tienda a comprar más mermelada.Go to the bakery, and while you're at it, go to the store and buy more jam.
2. (provisionally)
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Yo estoy aquí de paso. No vivo en este pueblo.I'm just passing through here. I don't live in this town.
Los pasajeros que están de paso no necesitan pasar por el control de seguridad.The passengers that are in transit don't need to go through a security check.
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
3. (related to migration)
a. migratory
Esta especie es un ave de paso.This species is a migratory bird.
b. of passage (United Kingdom)
Las aves de paso ya migraron hacia el sur.The birds of passage already migrated south.
4. (not belonging to the chord)
a. passing
Re funciona como nota de paso entre el do y el mi.D works as a passing note between C and E.
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por cierto(
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
1. (incidentally)
a. by the way
Por cierto, el grupo tiene un nuevo integrante.By the way, the band has a new member.
2. (certainly)
a. indeed
Fue una excelente película, por cierto.It was a great movie indeed.
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