Spanish expressions: Por si acaso…, cualquier cosa…

por si acaso cualquier cosa spanish expressions

The Spanish expressions Por si acaso and Cualquier cosa are pretty useful when it comes to emphasizing something, expressing a condition, or just probability. They are common during daily conversations because they help Spanish speakers express their ideas with ease. In fact, in countries like Venezuela, natives use them very often. Learning how to use these expressions properly isn’t challenging but many people don’t know how to identify when they should use them.


Por si acaso and cualquier cosa will help you communicate not only in informal contexts but formal ones. Given that, if you want to add these great tools to your vocabulary, you can’t miss reading this article. Here, you’ll learn how and when you should use these great Spanish phrases.


How to use por si acaso


The phrase por si acaso helps you to prevent something uncontrollable. You can say that “por si acaso” in Spanish is like the phrase “just in case” in English. Por si acaso is an adverbial phrase that we build with the preposition “por” and the conditional conjunction “si”. The masculine noun “acaso”, is similar to chance or an unforeseen event.


You can use por si acaso in the indicative or subjunctive. It will depend on the degree of probability that you want to express. If what you say in the sentence after using por si acaso is very likely to happen, you can use the indicative. But, we use the subjunctive if what we consider in the sentence is less probable or hypothetical. For example,


Me voy a llevar de una vez la comida, por si acaso se me olvida después. / I’m going to take the food with me, just in case I forget later.


Yo le expliqué la dirección de nuevo por si acaso se le llegaba a olvidar. / I explained the address to him again in case he forgot.


Tenlo guardado en tu casa por si acaso algún día lo usases. / Keep it in your house in case you ever use it.


Note, we never use the present subjunctive after por si acaso because that would be incorrect grammar.


How to use cualquier cosa


In Spanish, cualquier is an indefinite adjective. Indefinite adjectives usually denote when the person or thing to which it refers is indeterminate. We can also use it and apply it to a thing, animal, or person in an indeterminate or indefinite way.


In other words, cualquier will always go before a noun. It does not matter if the noun is masculine or feminine, cualquier will remain the same. Now, when we talk about the word cualquier. We refer to a thing or person of little importance or unworthy of consideration.


The structure for cualquier would be cualquier + noun. For that reason, the Spanish expression “cualquier cosa” has become very common during daily conversations. In general, native speakers avoid using it during formal contexts. Also, cualquier cosa is quite similar to the English expressions “anything” and “in any case”.


Here are some examples.


Cualquier cosa me avisas, yo igual voy a estar aquí esperando.

You tell me anything, I’m still going to be here waiting.


En la tiendita de la esquina puedes encontrar cualquier cosa a precios muy bajos.

In the corner store you can find anything at very low prices.


Mi hija significa más para mí que cualquier cosa en el mundo, realmente la amo. / My daughter means more to me than anything in the world, I really love her.


As you can see, Cualquier cosa is also equivalent to “de todos modos”. “De todos modos” helps us express that no matter how much we have said something before, what is said next is true or will happen. Although cualquier cosa and de todos modos are still different, we can use them in similar sentences. For example,


Igual, de todos modos, guardame la comida, yo en la noche con más calma vengo a recogerla.


Igual, cualquier cosa, guardame la comida, yo en la noche con más calma vengo a recogerla.


Differences between por si acaso and cualquier cosa


Many people think por si acaso and cualquier cosa are the same. However, they are indeed different. One of the things they have in common is that both take precedence over any consequence before being said in a sentence. We can use the expression por si acaso in more formal situations. But, cualquier cosa is informal and we must use it in conversations with friends or in any other informal context.


Frequently, when we talk about por si acaso, we talk about possibilities and probabilities, even if they are not carried out in the end. You can use cualquier cosa in several ways. Yet, the most common is when we refer to something of little value or importance. With this in mind, let’s see some examples to get a better idea of the differences between these two Spanish expressions.


Aquí está mi número por si acaso te sientes mal y quieras llamarme. / Here’s my number in case you feel bad and want to call me.


Este aceite de coco no es cualquier cosa. Esto te ayuda a hidratar al máximo la piel. / This coconut oil is not anything. This helps you to hydrate the skin to the maximum.


Nosotros por si acaso si nos vamos yendo. / Just in case we are leaving.


Cualquier cosa me avisas y vamos a tomar un café. / In any case you tell me and let’s have a coffee.


Generally speaking, the use of por si acaso and cualquier cosa is important to Spanish speakers. It is also very fun to learn these words because they are typical expressions than can help you blend with the culture and sound like a native. Keep in mind that cualquier cosas is less formal than por si acaso and you should avoid using it in a formal context. Por si acaso, on the other side, is a great alternative for almost any situation.

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