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In colloquial English, the verb "like" is often paired with the past forms of be, "was" or "were", to describe mainly words said or actions done in the past.

Examples:

  • When we drove past, she was like, "Did you guys see that?"

  • They were like, "No, what was it?"

Instead of:

  • When we drove past, she said/asked, "Did you guys see that?"

  • They said/replied, "No, what was it?"

Is there any colloquial equivalent in Spanish (other than conjugations of decir, pedir, preguntar, responder, etc.)? I understand that preterite forms of hacer could simply describe actions in the past, though.

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In colloquial Puerto Rican Spanish, there are some forms that seem to adhere very closely to the above-mentioned model:

“She was like, ‘Who the heck are you?’”

Ella se puso con “¿Quién carajo eres tú?

“Suddenly, he is like, ‘Leave me alone!!’”

De repente, él sale con “¡¡Déjame quieto!!

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    Sale con is also used in Spain; also me sale con, with the same meaning. Though they are more usual in indirect speech (De repente, él me sale con que le deje quieto). – Gorpik Jan 8 '16 at 12:28
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    Gorpik, thanks a lot for letting me know. I had no idea that this form was used in Spain, and I always assumed it was a very local Puerto Rican thing. And yes, in Puerto Rico, “me sale con” is quite common too. Have a great day, man! – TeachingTom Jan 12 '16 at 0:58
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In peninsular it's not uncommon to hear «en plan», but it's very informal (even slang-ish) and regarded as a lack of vocabulary.

Pasábamos con el coche y ella en plan «¿Habéis visto eso?». Y ellos en plan «No, ¿qué era?».

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    That use of like in English is equally very informal, so I like your proposal. – Gorpik Jan 7 '16 at 12:28
  • Good you said "en plan" is a peninsular thing because in America we would have no idea of what you are talking about. – DGaleano Jan 7 '16 at 13:00
  • @DGaleano I sort of expected that. These things are not very homogeneous xD – guillem Jan 7 '16 at 15:11
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    In the same way, in Chile we say onda, although it was more common a few years ago. "La invité a salir de carrete pero ella onda no tengo ganas". It's like a colloquial free indirect speech mark. – Rodrigo Jan 7 '16 at 16:01
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When it comes to an expression seen in their faces, you can use quedar. For instance,

(se) quedó como...
(se) quedaron como...

It's the way to express something once you've been stunned by an action. (Note that we're not using quedar = stay in this context.)

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In the first example "Did you guys see that?" can mean that those were the words she spoke or that were her thinking. The second is the real meaning, and the first is very informal but have became popular and it is more accepted everyday.

Im spanish you can say Cuando el coche pasó ella estaba como "¿Habéis visto eso chavales?" However it has only the second meaning or an interpretation somebody could do seeing the expression in her face. For the first I cant find any expression besides "decir", "preguntar" etc...

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