Using "Anyway..." in Spanish

By Eric W. Vogt

This is a word that seems to be on English-speakers' lips a lot. It is a transitional phrase or a verbal crutch -- often useful, even if abused in English. There are various solutions in Spanish.

"So, anyway..."

"So, anyway, he went to the movies and..." or you might say, "...That's what happened anyway." What do we mean when we use this ubiquitous word in English? Seeing the solutions in Spanish actually helps us understand the ways in which this word is used.

Often, we use anyway (or colloquially anyways) to signal to our listeners that we are about to summarize or conclude, or wrap up a previous bundle of discourse. As the quotes above show, t can come at the beginning of a concluding sentence or it can come at the end. Although it is somewhat abrupt rhetorically to place it at the end, it does signal to a listener that it is his or her turn to speak.

Summarizing clauses in Spanish that correspond in their function to anyway include (note that the "translations" indicate some equivalent in usage. They aren't necessarily literal meanings or translations:

en fin: anyway, well, so, to sum up

En fin, me amigo tuvo que pagar la multa (Anyway, my friend had to pay the fine).

a fin de cuentas: in the final analysis, after all

Así que, a fin de cuentas, ella lo dejó plantado (So, anyway, she stood him up).

en todo caso: anyway, at any rate, in any case/event, after all

Ellas no van a invitarla en todo caso porque se cree lo máximo (They aren't going to invite her because after all, she is conceited).

a pesar de todo: anyway, despite everything, in spite of it all/everything

Ellos se quieren mucho a pesar de todo (They love each other a lot in spite of it all).

A pesar de todo, ella no lo va a abandonar (In spite of everything, she is not going to leave him).

de todos modos: anyway, in any case

De todos modos, tú no la quieres ver esta noche, ¿verdad? (In any event, you don't want to see her tonight, do you?)

Ella te va a invitar de todos modos (She's going to invite you anyway).