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01 / 12 / 2008

PRONTO in ENGLISH: meaning and examples

Good morning. I hope everyone had a nice weekend.

Today we are going to answer a question from one of our Daily Vitamin subscribers. The question is in Spanish, but for those of you who don't know Spanish, basically she is asking about the use of a Spanish word (pronto) in English.

Hola Matt. Lo que tengo es más una curiosidad que no una duda. Entiendo que "pronto" significa lo mismo que en español. Pero el otro día vi la pelicula JUNO en la que la chica se tiene que hacer el test de embarazada y dice: "and I have to do it pronto!". Y ayer leyendo el libro ANGELS de Marian Keyes, la protagonista tiene que abordar y dice: "and we need to do this pronto!". Dime observadora, pero es una palabra que se usa en este tipo de contextos o es pura casualidad? gracias, Miriam

Pronto is a word that has been borrowed from Spanish and whose meaning is similar in English

Meaning: quickly or right away (rápido or ahora mismo)

It is used informally only. There are other Spanish words that are often used informally in English (adiós, siesta, etc.) and others that are considered "English" words by their speakers (e.g. rodeo); in other words, speakers may not even be aware that they are loaned words.

Example 1:
I want to see you back here, pronto! We're going to the rodeo after lunch.

Since there is no official English language academy, exactly when these words "officially" become part of the English language is elastic. Generally, when they begin to appear in enough English dictionaries and are used regularly amongst the population, then they are considered part of the language.

I hope that answers your question Miriam.  

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Have a great day!

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