In short – ‘No, pos’ and ‘pos’ are two very common Mexican expressions which can often (but not always!) be translated to ‘well’ or ‘then’.
If you visit Mexico, you’ll likely hear them all the time … perhaps even more than the formal expressions ‘no, pues’ and ‘pues‘!
‘No, pos’ and ‘pos’ are colloquial forms of the expressions ‘no, pues‘ and ‘pues‘.
They have their origins in Mexico, but variations can also be heard in other countries, most notably the ‘po‘ used in Chile.
Being colloquial expressions, they’re best avoided in formal situations (so don´t go prefacing every sentence with ‘pos’ in that job interview you´ve got coming up!).
‘Pos’ uses / meanings
‘Pos’ can be used in the following ways –
- To preface a decision / resolution
- To add emphasis to a sentence (like ‘well’ in English)
- Used to explain why something happened (like ‘since’ or ‘because’ in English)
To preface a decision / resolution
‘Pos’ or ‘pues‘ are often used to preface a decision or a resolution.
The English equivalent would be ‘then’.
Marco – Me siento un poco mal, no quiero ir a la fiesta.
Sara – Pos, no vayas. ¡Mejor descansa!
Marco – I feel a bit sick, I don’t want to go to the party.
Sara – Don’t go, then. You should rest!
Pos, me voy a quedar aquí.
I´m going to stay here, then.
To add emphasis to a sentence
‘Pos‘ at the beginning of a sentence is often used to add emphasis or “weight” to that which follows.
In this context ‘pos’ generally corresponds to the English word ‘well‘.
When used to add emphasis to a sentence, ‘pos’ is normally stressed (just as we’d stress ‘well‘ in English)!
Sergio – ¿Cómo te fue?
Tania – Pos, resulta que tengo que ir de nuevo mañana.
Sergio – How did it go?
Tania – Well, it turns out I have to go again tomorrow.
‘Pos’ can also be used as something called a “filler word”; these are basically words used to fill the natural pauses that occur in conversation (think ‘er’, ‘um’ and ‘like’ in English).
Tengo, pos, más o menos 7 años aquí en México!
I´ve been in Mexico for, um, around 7 years!
Used to explain why something happened
‘Pos’ is sometimes used when the speaker wants to explain why exactly something happened.
In this context it can normally be translated as ‘since’ or ‘because’.
This use isn’t that common in regular, informal conversations.
No pudieron viajar, pos había mucha neblina.
They couldn’t travel because it was really foggy.
‘No pos’ uses / meanings
´No, pos’ can be used in the following ways –
- An informal way to preface advice or an opinion
- Used in a number of expressions (for example, ‘No, pos wow‘)
An informal way to preface advice or an opinion
‘No pos‘ is often used to preface a piece of advice, especially when the person you’re talking to has had a negative experience.
Just remember that it’s only used in informal situations!
Laura – Te juro que ya no puedo más, ¡estoy* harta!
Nadia – No pos, renuncia ya. ¡Te vas a enfermar de tanto coraje!
Laura – I swear I can’t take it anymore, I’m done!
Nadia – Just quit, then! You’re just going to make yourself sick!
*Erika´s top tip – we use ‘estoy‘ here as being “fed up” is a temporary state …
If you still occasionally get confused between ‘soy‘ and ‘estoy‘, then be sure to give my (pretty darn thorough!) article on the subject a quick once over.
‘No, pos sí’ / ‘pos sí’ meaning in Spanish
Both these expressions are used to express agreement.
‘No, pos sí’ is also often used ironically.
Andrés – Ahora debo dejar de comer tanta sal y bajar mi consumo de sodio.
Saúl – Pos sí, creo que es lo mejor que puedes hacer.
Andrés – I have to stop eating so much salt and reduce my sodium intake.
Saúl – Well, yeah, I think it’s the best thing you can do.
Sandra – Ya no haré la tarea, de todas maneras voy a reprobar.
Miguel – ¡No, pos sí!
Sandra – I’m not doing homework anymore, I’m going to fail anyway.
Miguel – Well, yeah! (ironic)
‘No, pos wow’ meaning
Spanish is a constantly evolving language and, like other modern languages, it reacts to changes in culture and technology.
The expression ‘no pos wow’ has become very popular with young people due to a meme that went viral on various social networks.
‘No pos wow’ is normally used sarcastically as a kind of cynical reaction to something … the opposite of the expression ‘wow’ which expresses genuine surprise.
Alicia – Miren, ¡él es mi crush!
Renata – No, pos wow …
Alicia – Look, this is my crush!
Renata – Ah, right … (he’s not that hot)
‘Pos‘ vs ‘pues‘
In short – ‘pos’ is an informal alternative to the word ´pues´. ‘Pos’ is a Mexican expression and should only be used in informal situations, whereas ‘pues’ is more formal and is used throughout the Spanish speaking world.
It should also be noted that the word ‘pos’ forms part of the non-colloquial expression ‘en pos de‘ which translates to ‘after’ or ‘in pursuit of’.
Teresa – ¿Y qué te dijo?
Luis – Pos / Pues mañana nos vamos a ver.
Teresa – ¡Sobres!
Teresa – And what did she said?
Luis – Well, we’re going to see each other tomorrow.
Teresa – Right on!
‘Pos’ / ‘No, pos’ pronunciation
‘Pos’ is said like the ‘pos’ in ‘possible’.
‘No’ in Spanish has a “short o” sound (like the ‘o’ in ‘octopus’), NOT a “long o” sound (like the ‘o’ in ‘home’).
/ noh pos /
For ‘pues’, the ‘u‘ is pronounced like a ‘w‘ in English, so it´s said like ‘pw es‘.
/ pw es /
Hopefully this article has cleared up any lingering doubts you may have had about ‘pos’ and ‘no pos’.
Whether you choose ‘pues’ or ‘pos’, you’re sure to hear them both when nursing that Corona down a Mexican cantina!
If you want to learn some more juicy Mexican slang, then head on over to our article on ‘échale‘ (trust me when I say that it’s used A LOT!).
¡Nos vemos allá!