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There are many times I run into conversations like this:

Waitress: Would you like some water?

Me: No thanks.

She walks away for a second, then comes back

Me: Actually, could I get a cup of water please?


Friend: Do you need a hand with all that heavy luggage?

Me: No. thinking for a few seconds... Well, actually, would you mind carrying this bag? It is pretty heavy.

It seems like "la verdad es que" is a mouthful. Is there a short phrase common for situations like these?

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In a conversational and not formal situation, you could just use "O mejor sí". – Dr. belisarius Nov 24 '11 at 17:27
up vote 10 down vote accepted

It is true what Xabier has said about Pensándolo mejor. But there is another alternative that is widely used as well.


As per comments and thanks to CesarGon, be aware that this form is not grammatically correct and that pensándolo mejor should be used instead. De hecho is used only colloquially.

For instance:

De hecho, ¿podría tomar un vaso de agua, por favor?


No, ... ... [...] de hecho ¿te importaría ayudarme a llevar esta maleta? Es muy pesada.

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De hecho is also a translation of in fact and indeed – David Lay Nov 24 '11 at 13:06
@DavidLay Exactly, depending on context de hecho can act effectively as both or as the one needed. Powerful words! :-) – Joze Nov 24 '11 at 13:42
+1 this is what native spanish speaker would say. – isJustMe Nov 24 '11 at 14:30
I learned de hecho just four years ago and can't comprehend how I was able to make myself understood for so long without it! – hippietrail Nov 27 '11 at 8:31
-1 "De hecho" is often used in this context, but it is wrong. "De hecho" means "in fact" or "indeed", but not "actually" as in the OP. – CesarGon Jan 26 '12 at 20:14

"Pensándolo mejor" is the expression I would use on situations like these.


  • "Pensándolo mejor, ¿podría tomar un vaso de agua, por favor?"
  • "No... Bueno, pensándolo mejor, ¿te importaría llevarme esta maleta?"

Admitted, it is a mouthful as well.

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Initially we were taught some cognates, like anything ending in '-lly' became '-mente' - so in this case, 'actualamente'. However it turns out this is a false cognate - it actually (excuse pun) means 'presently/currently'.

The preferred translation is 'en realidad' as in 'in reality'.

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True, but I think that, given the situations of the original question, pensándolo mejor is the best choice. But in general, en realidad should work too. – Ignacio Contreras Pinilla Nov 24 '11 at 11:06
Actually English -ly and Spanish -mente are not cognates. Cognates means they have a common ancestor but the Spanish suffix comes from Latin and the English from Germanic - no relation. Spanish -idad and English -ity are an example of actual cognates. -ly and -mente on the other hand are false friends rather than false cognates. – hippietrail Nov 27 '11 at 8:38
The description from the false cognates page: "False cognates are pairs of words in the same or different languages that are similar in form and meaning but have different roots. That is, they appear to be, or are sometimes considered, cognates, when in fact they are not." Oddly this seems to be almost the same wording as false friends! – Mark Mayo Nov 27 '11 at 9:32
Another less as to why Wikipedia alone is not such a great reference - but for now it's all I have... unless somebody would like to ask a question on English Language & Usage (-; – hippietrail Dec 2 '11 at 11:19

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