Spanish word of the week: rato

rato NOUN time, while

Rato is a terrifically useful word which is used in many different phrases to do with time:

Hace un rato means a while ago, or some time ago

Se fue hace un rato. He left a while or some time ago.
como decía usted hace un rato as you were saying a few minutes ago

Today we’ll look at some of them. First of all, pasar el rato, to pass or to while away the time:

Para pasar el rato, me puse a leer un periódico de la semana anterior. To while away the time I started reading a paper from the week before.
Tú no le importas nada. Él lo que hace es pasar el rato contigo. You don’t mean anything to him. He’s just passing the time with you.

The phrases pasar un buen rato and pasar un mal rato mean to have a good time and to have a terrible time:

Me hizo pasar un mal rato. I had a terrible time because of him.

The phrase para rato means for a good while yet and can be translated in various ways:

Tenemos para rato: el avión tiene retraso. We’ll be here for a good while yet: the airplane’s been delayed.

Con este gobierno hay espectáculo para rato. With this government there will be entertainment for some time to come.

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