I'm having a little trouble with "pues". I've been trying to look at example sentences, but they're only deepening my confusion. Here are two sentences I've found, with their English translation:

La niña está llorando pues tiene hambre.

The girl is crying because she is hungry.

Nosotros tenemos diez salvavidas pues que los usen todos.

We have ten life buoys, so they can use them all.

In the first sentence the first clause [the girl is crying] is caused by the second clause [she is hungry]. In the second, the second clause [they can use all the life buoys] is caused by the first [we have ten].

This is making it very hard for me to understand the actual function of the word here. Is it sort of meaningless? (In English neither sentence changes meaning if you break them into two independent sentences without a conjunction [because/so]).

Is this sentence valid?:

Estoy enojado contigo pues estás enojado conmigo.

And, if so, am I angry at you because you're angry at me? ...Or are you angry at me because I'm angry at you? Who was angry first? Or could it be interpreted either way?

Thank you!

1 Answer 1


The point is that "pues" can mean "because" or "so"/"then". Let's have a look at DLE (the versions in English are mine):

  1. conj. Denota causa, motivo o razón. Háblale tú, pues lo conoces más que yo (You speak to him, because you know him better than I do).

  2. conj. U. con valor continuativo. Repito, pues, que hace lo que debe (I repeat, then, that he does what he must).

  3. conj. U. con valor ilativo. ¿No quieres oír mis consejos?, pues tú lo llorarás algún día (You don't want to listen to my advice? Well, you'll regret it one day).

I have to say I don't agree with the comma before "pues" in example (3) of DLE. I think there should be a semicolon or a period before "pues":

3a. ¿No quieres oír mis consejos? Pues tú lo llorarás algún día.

In your second sentence, I'd write a comma before "pues", which does not express cause there but is used for ilation, being correctly translated as "so":

  • Nosotros tenemos diez salvavidas, pues que los usen todos.

The use of "pues" with both meanings or functions, i.e. cause and ilation, is typical of Spain and sounds rather weird in some Latin American countries, for example in Argentina, where using "pues" will sound as if we are imitating somebody from Spain.

Finally, your sentence:

  • Estoy enojado contigo pues estás enojado conmigo.

is correct and means:

  • I'm angry at you because you're angry at me.

Alternatively, you can say:

  • Estás enojado conmigo. Pues estoy enojado contigo. (Notice the period):

  • You are angry at me. So (as a result) I'm angry at you.

  • 1
    Adding some more confusion, "¿pues?" alone means "why?". I had only heard this usage around my home town, but now I realize this is the 4th meaning in the DLE, so it must be more widespread than I thought: 4. conj. Cómo, por qué. U. sola con interrogación. —Esta noche iré a la tertulia. —¿Pues?
    – aerobiomat
    Feb 18, 2021 at 12:36

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