Saying 'Again'

Spanish Has No One-Word Equivalent

Quito
Nunca volveré a trabajar en esta ciudad. (I will never again work in this city.). lotarsan/Creative Commons.

Although Spanish has no single word that means "again," it has at least three common ways of expressing the concept. They are more or less interchangeable.

Volver a + Infinitive

Volver typically means "to turn" or "to return," but when followed by the preposition a and an infinitive it is perhaps the most common way of saying "again." If you think of volver a as meaning "to return to," you can see how it can be used in all tenses and moods.

  • Nunca volveré a trabajar en esta ciudad. (I will never again work in this city.)
  • Es probable que no vuelva a escribir. (She probably isn't writing again.)
  • El jefe vuelve a vender acciones de Microsoft. (The boss is again selling shares in Microsoft.)
  • Costanzo volvió a defenderse. (Costanzo again defended himself.)
  • No quiero que vuelvas a llorar. (I don't want you to cry again.)

Otra Vez

Literally, otra vez means "another time." Note that una should not precede this phrase. Its use is especially common in partial sentences, i.e., ones with no verb.

  • Siento que otra vez va a pasar lo mismo. (I feel the same thing is going to happen again.)
  • Mucha tarea otra vez. (Much homework again.)
  • Está otra vez de moda. (It's in style again.)
  • El mecanismo empezó otra vez a responder. (The mechanism began to respond again.)

De Nuevo

Like otra vez, de nuevo can be used in partial sentences without a verb. Unlike the English equivalent of "anew," its closest equivalent, de nuevo has colloquial as well as formal usage.

  • Brasil, de nuevo campeón mundial. (Brazil, again the world champion.)
  • Hace unos meses me habló de nuevo. (A few months ago she spoke to me again.)
  • Empezaré de nuevo sin mirar atrás. (I will begin again without looking back.)
  • Tan pronto la tenemos, contactaremos de nuevo contigo. (As soon as we have it, we will contact you again.)

Miscellaneous Translations of 'Again'

A common equivalent of "again and again" is una y otra vez.

  • El nuevo presidente se contradice una y otra vez. (The president contradicts himself again and again.)
  • Es importante escuchar una y otra vez. (It is important to listen again and again.)
  • ¿Hay películas que podrías ver una y otra vez sin cansarte? (Are there movies you could see again and again without getting tired of them?)

There are a few idioms where "again" doesn't mean "another time." Among them are its uses in the phrase "now and again," which can be translated as de vez en cuando, and the phrase "then again," which can be translated as por otra parte.

  • Los delfines nos visitan de vez en cuando. (Dolphins visit us now and again. You could also translate this sentence to English using phrases such as "occasionally" and "from time to time.")
  • Si no te equivocas de vez en cuando, es que no lo intentas. (If you don't make a mistake now and again, it's because you aren't trying.)
  • Por otra parte, no vamos a confiar en este software. (Then again, we aren't going to trust this software. You also could translate this sentence using phrases such as "on the other hand" or "furthermore," depending on the context.)
  • Por otra parte, no queremos acusar a ellos de ser locos. (Then again, we don't want to accuse them of being crazy.)