Já - English translation of já with examples

Something I often find really confusing is the word .

It seems like it can mean:

  • right now
  • already
  • in a minute
  • very soon

Are there any meanings I missed? Can you provide some examples of in English with their translations?

(I’m not sure if I’m alone, but I also sometimes mix this up with apenas or ainda – don’t know why, since the differences are probably pretty apparent to a fluent/native speaker.)


I think you’ve covered most possibilities. I can only remember one extra meaning, off the top of my head: since. Here are some examples for each case:

  • Right now
    • “Para com isso!” (Stop it right now!)
    • “Nós vamos embora ”. (We’re leaving right now.)
  • Already
    • “Eu li esse livro.” (I already read that book.)
    • “Tu lavaste os dentes?” (Have you already brushed your teeth?)
  • In a minute/Very soon
    • “Anda cá!”. “ vou!” (“Come here!”. “In a minute/Just a second!”)
    • “Elas estão a chegar.” (They’re arriving very soon.)
  • Since
    • que tu estás aqui, podes ajudar-me?” (Since you’re here, can you help me?)
    • que sabes o caminho, podes levar-me até lá?” (Since you know the way, can you take me there?)

Apenas or ainda don’t really overlap with . Apenas means simply, just or only, and ainda means still.



I’m confusing apenas because of the translation that means just, but it’s a totally different meaning. But since just is more universal in its English usage, my mind can’t distinguish it on demand yet.

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Another quick question then is how exactly como differs in the sense of since, for example:

Como estávamos com fome, fomos ao restaurante.“ (Since we were hungry, we went to the restaurant.)

Can you replace with como in your examples above and maintain the meaning? Or do they differ slightly in their usage?

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Ahhh, this is a good question. I had to think a bit about it. I would say that, at least for me (so, read this just as a personal feeling, not fact), there is a difference, but it’s subtle and not so much in the apparent meaning, but in the undertone.

You could certainly say “Já que estávamos com fome, fomos ao restaurante". However, já que suggests that you’re taking advantage of an unexpected opportunity. I would kind of expect you to say this after just mentioning that you were taking a random stroll and happened upon a conveniently located restaurant. Like “Oh, well, this restaurant was right there and I was actually hungry, so why not?”.

Como estávamos com fome, fomos ao restaurante” doesn’t make me assume anything beyond what you actually said. But the meaning is otherwise the same :slight_smile:


Wow, okay. This is a really helpful answer. It’s so, so subtle a difference, but definitely makes me consider more which I would want to use depending on the circumstance.

Obrigado em novo!

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De nada! Also made me think of how many of these unwritten rules we all adopt in our native languages completely subconsciously. It’s hard to explain things you’ve always done without thinking, but it’s a fun mental exercise.


Exactly this. It’s way more difficult for me to do this than it seems to be for you, so parabéns!


Hah, thank you! Glad to help.


I hear "ja chega(or chegar) quite often when someone maybe is filling a plate with food for someone, the receiving party will say this.

What is the translation for this? Is it “Thats enough”?

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Yes, Anthony, that’s exactly it. “That’s (already) enough”!