With a Bow to James Taylor…
Some readers will remember James Taylor’s redundant usage in the line about wanting see his lost love… “one more time, again.” Well, it felt right to dedicate this article to him – and all the English speakers out there who struggle with the uses of “again” as they try to express in Spanish what they really mean.
Sometimes, we mean again in the sense of as before, a repeat performance, so to speak. If that is the case, use otra vez (vez means time in this sense of an occasion or event). This not exactly what James Taylor seems to have had in mind, as you’ll see in a moment.
Quiero verla otra vez (I want to see her again – as before).
The sense of otra vez then is of a repeat – as a child might ask for a story to be repeated:
Cuéntame el cuento otra vez (Tell me the story again).
When you mean once more, as in when a Spanish professor asks you to repeat something just once more, use una vez más:
Dime una vez más: erre con erre… (Say for me just once more: erre con erre…)
When you mean to do something over again, as in a re-make or encore, use volver + a + infinitive:
Después de pintar la casa, tuvo que volver a hacerlo (After painting the house, he had to do it over again).
What James Taylor was thinking of seeing her one more time – to have another go at their relationship (was it after he split with Carly Simon?). Here is how he could have expressed that wish, using de nuevo (anew, from new – to get a fresh start, as in all over again):
Quiero estar contigo de nuevo (I want to be with you, start from new).
- Author’s more than 20 years experience teaching and translating Spanish.
This post is part of the series: Spanish Usage
The articles in this series deal with various questions about the right choice of word or phrase when English may have one or two structures but Spanish has more. They often deal with prepositional issues.
- Spanish Usage Questions: “Above”
- Using “Actual” and “Actually” in Spanish
- A Problem Preposition: The Ways “About” is Expressed in Spanish
- The Many Spanish Faces of the English Verb “to Agree”
- Spanish Usage Questions: Ways to say “Again”
- Expressing the Many Meanings of After
- Spanish Usage Questions: How to Say “Ahead”
- Spanish Usage Questions: “Anyone” and “Anybody”
- Using “Anyway…” in Spanish
- Let’s Learn About How to Talk About Appointments & Dating
- What Do You Use for “Around” in Spanish
- The Spanish Verbs Meaning “to Ask” are Many!
- Beware of False Cognates! How to Express “Attend,” “Assist,” and “Help”
- Are You “Cool” or “Cold”? Explore the Nuances in Spanish
- The Difference Between “Why” and “Because” in Spanish
- The Temporal and Spacial Meanings of “Before”: How to Get it Right in Spanish
- Don’t Be Left in the Dust! Learn to Express the Meanings of “Behind” in Spanish
- Get the Low Down on the Preposition “Below” and Say it Right in Spanish!
- Understand Saying “Help” in Spanish
- Translating “Beside” & “Besides” into Spanish: Interesting Solutions!
- Not all Meanings of “But” Are Equal!
- Expressing the Various Meanings of the Preposition “By” in Spanish
- What Can the English Word “Can” Mean and How to Get it Right in Spanish
- Spanish Usage Questions: “Corner”
- The Word “Country” in Spanish
- The Various Meanings of “Outweigh” in English and How to Express Them in Spanish
- Expressing the Idea of “Ownership” in Spanish
- How to Express “Time & Distance” in Spanish
- Treat, Try, Attempt, Deal with… In Spanish, You Probably Need “Tratar”
- Spanish Usage Questions: “Having Fun”
- Even a Word Like “Even” Has Many Counterparts in Spanish
- Don’t Go Wrong When You Look for Ways to Express “to fail”
- Do You Mean “Fair” Weather, a “Fair” Game or a “Fair” Complexion? Learn How to Say Them in Spanish!
- Love, Desire and Wanting – Spanish Style!
- Discover the Right Spanish Verbs for Taking, Holding, Grabbing… and More
- You Have Nothing to Fear Except Not Knowing How to Say “Fear” in Spanish!
- Spanish Equivalents of the Common English Word “Find”
- Discover the Various Meanings of “Middle” and How to Say Them in Spanish
- Not All Spanish Words Meaning “Worker” Are Created Equal