¿Qué significa <em>bueno</em> cuando no significa "bueno"

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¿Qué significa bueno cuando no significa "bueno"

Words don't always mean something: sometimes they perform an action (see Speech Act Theory). The word pues can just fill in a pause to give you extra time to think. The expression a ver… at the end of the dialogue stands for a helpless gesture of throwing up hands – like what can we do, let's see what happens.

The word bueno belongs to such words and has a great deal of functions (Humpty Dumpty would have to pay it five times more). Let's have a closer look.

  • It marks the beginning of the story:

– ¿Por qué quiere trabajar con nosotros? – Why do you want to work with us?
Bueno, me encanta la tecnología, además, tengo cierta experiencia...
Well, I really like technology, and also I have some experience...

  • It marks the end of the story. When there's nothing left to say, and you need to show it's time to end the conversation, you say:

Bueno, ya tengo que irme Well, I have to be going

In this meaning it often combines with pues nada:

Bueno, pues nada Well, OK, then

  • It marks correction. You've said something by mistake, and then you want to correct yourself:

Creo que París está en Italia. Bueno, en Italia o Francia… – I think Paris is in Italy. Well, in Italy or France…

Mañana voy a estar todo el día en casa. Bueno, a las seis tengo cita con el médico – Tomorrow I'll be home all day. Well, at six I have an appointment with the doctor

  • It hides the interlocutor’s unwillingness to go into details. You have been asked a question that you don’t want to answer, or the answer seems tactless to you:

– ¿O sea que estás saliendo con mi novio? – So you're going out with my boyfriend?

– ¿Estás bien? Te veo muy triste – Are you OK? You look sad
Bueno... (estás muy mal, pero no quieres decirlo)– Well (you're bad but you don't want to say it)

– ¿Qué opina de Putin? – What do you think of Putin?
Bueno… es una pregunta difícil… – Well…. It's a difficult question

  • Expresses agreement "by force" when we agree only to make the interlocutor feel good:

– ¿Te parece que invite a cenar a casa a mis hermanos y a mis padres? – Do you mind if I invite my brothers and parents to have dinner with us?
Bueno, valeWell (not that I really want this), OK

– ¡Romeo y Julietta es una película, no un ballet! – Romeo and Juliet is a film, not a ballet!
Bueno, si tú lo dices...
Well (let it be so), if you're saying

  • ¡Buenoooo! Exactly like this, stretching the last syllable very much. This is an exclamation of approving surprise, often accompanied by general applause and characteristic of a large company (they brought in a magnificent cake, the kid blew out three birthday candles, they scored a difficult goal in a match, etc.)

It should be noted that this word is so frequent and important that it is used in all other languages in Spain (in Galician, Basque, and Catalan).

It shouldn't be forgotten that apart from the meaning "good", bueno can also stand for

"kind". There is no special word for "kind" and "evil" in Spanish:
Mi madre es muy buena – My mum is very good/kind

"delicious". With the verb estar:
La paella está muy buena
– The paella is delicious

"sexually appealing". Also with the verb estar:
Tu hermana está muy buena
– Your sister is quite hot

Autor/a Jorge Gelfand

  • 1. Relaciona:
  • Bueno, pues nada
    para empezar una historia
    – ¿Cómo estás? – Bueno
    para autocorregirse
    Bueno, yo nací en Italia
    para terminar la conversación
    Fue en Berlín. Bueno, no
    para no decir la verdad
    Bueno, si tú lo dices
    para dar la razón al otro sin estar de acuerdo

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