‘A la orden’ – Meaning / In English

In short – ‘a la orden’ literally translates as ‘to the order’ in English, but it’s actually more akin to the expression ‘at your service’. In everyday speech this is a polite phrase used by businesspeople (either owners or employees) when talking to customers or potential clients.

You might also hear it phrased as: ‘a sus órdenes’ (more formal ‘usted’ form) or ‘a tus órdenes’ (informal ‘you’) which again both translate to ‘at your service’.

Uses and meanings of ‘a la orden

There are several situations in which this expression is used, the common theme being that the speaker is expressing their willingness to aid or provide a service in a kind, formal way –

  • As a polite response when someone is looking to buy/rent a product
  • As a polite response when someone is looking to buy/rent a service
  • As a synonym of ‘de nada’ (no money involved)
  • As a polite way to sign off a formal email

As a polite response when someone is looking to buy/rent a product

Laura – Estoy buscando un disfraz de Halloween, ¿sabes de alguien que pudiera venderme uno?

Víctor – Yo vendo disfraces, ¡a la orden!

Laura – I’m looking for a Halloween costume, do you know anyone who might have one for sale?

Víctor – I sell costumes, at your service!

As a polite response when someone is looking to buy/rent a service

Toño – ¿Conoces algún maestro de español?

Mikaela – ¡A la orden! Tengo 10 años de experiencia.

Toño – Do you know any Spanish teachers?

Mikaela – At your service! I have ten years’ experience.

As a synonym of ‘de nada’ (no money involved)

Dos compañeros de clase estudian para un examen

Miriam – ¡Muchas gracias por tu ayuda!

Alicia – ¡A la orden! Me encanta la física.

Two classmates study for an exam

Miriam – Thanks so much for helping me out!

Alicia – You’re welcome! I love physics.

Erika’s top tip – there are quite a few other ways to respond to ‘gracias in Spanish! Make sure to check them out if you’re feeling a little shaky on your Spanish-speaking feet!

As a polite way to sign off a formal email

Quedo a la orden para aclarar cualquier duda que pudiera tener.

 I remain at your service in case you have any questions.

Erika’s note – as you can see, ‘a la orden’ can be used either in formal or informal situations as a kind and respectful way of informing another person that you’re available to help, especially – but not exclusively – when addressing strangers.

A la orden’ pronunciation

The good thing about Spanish is that once you know how to say the letters, their pronunciation doesn´t change regardless of how they’re combined (unlike in English!).

A la orden’ is pronounced as follows:

/ ah-lah ohr-dehn /

How to respond to ‘a la orden

There isn’t a “standard” reply to ‘a la orden’, it really depends on the person and situation.

If you’re on the receiving end of this phrase as a customer, then the response might just be a follow-up question about the product or service … asking about the size of a jacket, for example.

In other circumstances, let’s say during a conversation between two businessmen, if one of the parties says, ‘a la orden’, then the other might answer, ‘igualmente’, which means ‘likewise’.

Expressions similar to ‘a la orden

A sus/tus órdenes

This is another extremely common way to express willingness to help / take care of a client.

Buen día, estoy a sus órdenes para ayudarles a encontrar lo que buscan en la tienda.

Good day, I’m here to help you find what you’re looking for in our store.

A su/tu disposición

This one’s a bit more specific.

It’s mostly used when a person is offering their time or knowledge.

Si necesita saber más sobre los cursos de acuarela, estoy a su disposición para darle información más detallada.

If you want to know more about the watercolor courses, I’d be more than happy to provide more detailed information.

A su/tu servicio

This expression is far less common than the ones mentioned above, possibly because it sounds more formal or even distant and, well, most businesspeople prefer to sound warm and casual.

Buen día señor, el caviar que ordenó está servido. Estoy a su servicio para cualquier otra cosa que requiera.

Good day, Sir, the caviar you ordered is served. I remain at your service for anything else you might require.

Final thoughts

There’s no need to memorize all the ways of saying ‘a la orden’, just keep in mind that it’s a very polite phrase and one that you’re sure to come across if you spend time in Mexico.

Wanna learn other interesting phrases in Spanish?

Well, I recommend you swing by our article on ‘mal tercio’ (and learn how NOT to be a third wheel in the process).

¡Hasta pronto!

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