Spanish expressions: Es decir…, o sea…, esto es…

es decir o sea esto es spanish expressions

Es decir, O sea, and Esto es are some Spanish expressions that help people add an explanation, a clarification, or a consequence of what was said. Generally, native Spanish speakers use it to explain something in an easier way. Using one or the other will depend on the formality or informality of the context. Es decir, o sea, and esto es are pretty popular not only in Latin America but in Spain. Then, learning how to use them is essential to become better at speaking Spanish. If you want to be one of the best speakers around the globe, just keep reading and learn how to use these useful phrases.


How to use es decir


The expression Es decir is a connector of explanation and exemplification. Explanation connectors are links that explain or clarify something said in the first sentence, providing more details in the second. On a side, exemplification is a textual resource that we use to prove, allow or clarify one or more concepts. Here are some examples.


La última vez que hablé con Carlota me dijo que estaba dedicada a la piscicultura, es decir, a la cría artificial de peces.

The last time I spoke with Carlota, she told me that she was dedicated to fish farming, that is, to the artificial breeding of fish.


Ricardo no está de acuerdo con la forma de pensar de Sofía; es decir, no conviene que ambos estén en el mismo lugar.

Ricardo does not agree with Sofía’s way of thinking; that is, it is not convenient for both to be in the same place.


Nuestra abuela comenzó a poner excusas para permanecer en su casa durante el verano; es decir, prefiere no ir de vacaciones a otro lugar.

Our grandmother started making excuses to stay in her house for the summer; that is, you prefer not to go on vacation to another place.


As you can see, Es decir can also be the Spanish word for i.e, that is, or I mean in English. The phrase es decir is an invariable expression. Then, it will not change because of gender or number.


What is the meaning of O sea


The phrase o sea is a locution equivalent to es decir. Just like with es decir, you can use it to introduce an explanation or to make a precision about what is being talked about. O sea can help you state the consequence of an action. But, it’s completely a colloquial phrase and you should not use it in formal conversations.


The phrase o sea is also an invariable expression. And, it can mean “I mean” or “that is” in English. Let’s see a few examples below.


O sea, él me dijo que iba a ir conmigo a la fiesta, pero al final se le complicó y no pudo.

I mean, he told me he was going to go to the party with me, but in the end, it got complicated and he couldn’t.


El doctor le dijo a mi hermana que ella sufría de intolerancia al gluten, o sea que ya no puede comer galletas, pasta y pan.

The doctor told my sister that she had a gluten intolerance, meaning she can no longer eat cookies, pasta, and bread.


Uno de nuestros socios acaba de avisar que no puede venir, o sea que al final, haremos la reunión sin él.

One of our partners has just announced that he cannot come, so in the end, we will hold the meeting without him.


There are two other similar ways of saying o sea, although these do not mean the same thing. These are osea and ósea and the difference between them is the accent. When we speak of ósea with an accent, we refer to an adjective that refers to that which is bone, or that is of the nature of bone. For example,


Le detectaron una enfermedad en la médula ósea. / They detected a bone marrow disease.


Now, when we speak of osea without an accent, we refer to the conjugated verb osear. This means frightening or chasing away domestic birds and hunting them. Although this is no longer used in Spanish. For example,


La niña osea a las palomas. / The girl drives away the pigeons.


When to use Esto es


As said, Esto es is an explanation connector. And, unlike es decir and o sea, it does not usually introduce the consequence of the first sentence. Rather, it usually introduces an explanation or definition. In other words, we call it the reformulator nexus. Let’s have a look at the examples below.


A mi papá le está costando respirar y tiene mucha fiebre, esto es algo preocupante.

My dad is having trouble breathing and he has a high fever, this is something to worry about.


Esto es muy sencillo, solo debes presionar el botón de inicio y comenzará el ciclo de la lavadora.

This is very simple, you just have to press the start button and the washing machine will start the cycle.


Todo esto es muy vergonzoso, deberíamos dejarlo así e irnos.

This is all very embarrassing, we should leave it at that and go.


In summary, you can use Es decir and Esto es during formal or informal conversations. Yet, you should only use the expression o sea in a colloquial way. To put it in another way, it’s a better alternative when you speak with friends or family. Remember that you only use These expressions to add information, explain or clarify something. In some cases, they may even help you to talk about consequences. But, whatever your goal or objective is, there’s no doubt that these phrases will enhance your speaking.


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