Today we talk about the Spanish word rato. For sure, you have heard this word a lot, but… can you use it properly? If you want to know how to use it, alone or in a phrase, El Rincón del Tándem Spanish school tells you everything in this post. Enjoy the reading! ?

First of all, the word rato means “a short time”. It is generally translated in English as “a little while or a little bit”.
It expresses a general amount of time, as we do not exactly how long a “rato” is…It can last 5 or 15 minutes or even longer.

  • Anoche charlé un rato con Miguel = Yesterday evening I talked to Miguel for a while
  • Me gusta pasear un rato antes de cenar = I like walking for a little while before having dinner

Besides, this Spanish word have several meanings and is also used in idioms or phrases. In these cases, its meaning changes. Let’s see the examples below:

– Un buen rato

We use this phrase when an action has lasted for a long time.

  • Estuve esperando a Miriam un buen rato = I have been waiting for Miriam for a good while/quite some time

– Tener para rato

To have enough of something for a long time.

  • Lucía aún no ha terminado con la corrección de los exámenes; tiene para rato = Lucía hasn’t finished with correcting the exams yet; she has enough of it for a long time

– Pasar un buen/mal rato.

To have a good/bad time

  • El domingo fui al cine con Pablo y pasamos un buen rato = Last Sunday I went to the cinema with Pablo and we had a good time.

– A cada rato

Often, frequently.

  • Mi hermano pregunta por ti a rato = My brother often asks about you

– A ratos

From time to time.

  • Trabajo todo el día y a ratos hago llamadas = I work all day long and I make phone calls from time to time.

– Dentro de un rato

In a short while.

¡Nos vemos dentro de un rato! = See you in a short while!

– Pasar el rato

To pass the time, generally doing recreational activities.

  • Pasamos el rato jugando a las cartas = We passed the time playing cards.

– Al (poco) rato

Shortly afterwards/shortly after.

  • Salí de casa y al poco rato empezó a llover = I left the house and shortly after it started to rain.

– A ratos perdidos

Meaning “in one’s spare moments”.

  • Escribo poesías a ratos perdidos = I write poems in my spare moments

Finally, un rato can be also used to express quantity, replacing the adverbs “mucho/muy” (much/a lot/very).

  • Mi madre sabe un rato de filosofía = My mother knows a lot about philosophy
  • El examen fue un rato difícil = The exam was very difficult

We hope that this post helped you master the Spanish word rato and use it in phrases and expressions.

If you want to keep learning new Spanish words, we invite you to red more articles from our blog ?
Finally, we remind you that our Spanish school, El Rincón del Tándem, keeps providing Spanish lessons in Valencia in a cosy and friendly space.

Till the next blog!