In short – ‘Ya me voy’ normally translates to ‘I’m leaving’ in English, and it can refer both to the moment of speaking (i.e., right now) AND the near future. It can also be used to say that you’re going to do something soon (i.e., ‘ya me voy a vestir’ = ‘I´m going to get dressed (soon)´).
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s quickly dissect the phrase ‘ya me voy’ –
‘Ya me voy’ as a standalone sentence consists of the adverb ‘ya’ (more on this later) and the reflexive verb ‘irse’ (which means ‘to leave’ or ‘to go away’).
In contrast, a sentence like ‘ya me voy a vestir’ is actually composed of ‘ya’ + the near future tense (ir + a + infinitive), in this case with the reflexive verb ‘vestirse’.
So, ‘ya me voy’ actually has two very different uses (eek!) …
But worry not, after reading this article you’ll be an expert in identifying exactly what ‘ya me voy’ means, regardless of the situation.
So don’t go anywhere just yet!
Uses / Meanings of ‘ya me voy’ in Spanish
Wondering how such a simple phrase can be so complex?
Well, we can partly blame the word ‘ya’.
This innocent looking word is actually one of the most baffling in the Spanish language because it has so many different meanings.
It can translate to ‘already’, ‘immediately’, ‘right now’ or ‘soon’, and you often have to listen VERY carefully to the context to work out which one is meant!
Anyway, back to the task at hand!
‘Ya me voy’ can be used in the following ways –
- Used to say ‘I’m leaving (soon)’
- Used to let someone know you’re going to do something soon
- As a synonym of ‘I’m going to stop talking’
Used to say ‘I’m leaving (soon)’
‘Ya me voy’ can be used to let someone know that you’re leaving immediately.
In this context, ‘ya’ means something along the lines of ‘now’ and ‘me voy’ (first person singular (‘yo’) conjugation of the reflexive verb ‘irse’ in the present tense) translates to ‘leaving’.
The key to picking up on this one is through visual clues, such as the person in question grabbing their bag, opening the front door, or moving towards the exit.
At a party in Mexico?
Well, someone might say ‘ya me voy’ and NOT leave straight away …
This is because ‘ya’ can be used in the same way as ‘ahorita’, a similarly ambiguous word that bewilders Spanish-speakers and speakers of other languages alike.
So don’t be surprised if your Mexican friend says he’s leaving the party and then proceeds to engage in deep conversation with a long-lost cousin for another two hours.
Hija – ¡Mamá, ya me voy!
Madre – ¡Okey, mi amor, que te vaya bien!
Daughter – I’m leaving, mom!
Mother – Okay, honey, have a good time!
‘Ya me voy’ can also be used to say that you’re leaving a country, city, etc., in the near future (i.e., soon but NOT right now) –
Ignacio – ¿Cuándo te vas de viaje a Canadá?
Nadia – Ya me voy, a finales de este mes.
Ignacio – When are you going to Canada?
Nadia – I’m leaving at the end of this month.
Used to let someone know you’re going to do something soon
Here the structure ‘ya me voy’ is actually part of what we call the “near future tense”: ir (conjugated in the present tense) + a + infinitive.
And when do we use it?
Well, when we´re talking about the NEAR future, of course!
When forming the near future tense with a REFLEXIVE VERB, the reflexive pronoun (‘me’, ‘te’, ‘se’, etc.) always comes before ‘ir’.
So, the ‘me voy’ part is just the reflexive pronoun ‘me’ + ‘ir’ in the first-person singular of the present tense –
Me voy a vestir = I´m going to get dressed
Me voy a bañar = I´m going to have a bath
Me voy a sentir triste = I´m going to feel sad
Whack a ‘ya’ in front to indicate that you’re going to do something ‘right now’ –
Alguien justo antes de meterse a bañar
¿Sabes dónde está mi toalla? Ya me voy a bañar.
Someone just before getting into the shower
Do you know where my towel is? I’m going to take a shower.
As a synonym of ‘I’m going to stop talking’
In Mexico specifically, you may hear someone say ‘ya me voy’ in a playful tone after having said something inappropriate or controversial (or even just because they cracked a bad joke).
They will proceed to either take a couple of steps back or not move at all. It´s similar to the English phrases ‘I’ll see myself out’ or ‘I’ll show myself out’.
Carlos – ¿Te manchaste la cara? ¡Ah, no, es tu bigote!
Toño – Wey …
Carlos – Ya me voy.
Carlos – Is that dirt on your face? Oh, no, it’s your mustache!
Toño – Dude …
Carlos – I’ll see myself out.
‘Ya me voy a dormir’ meaning
‘Dormir’ means ‘to sleep’ in English, so this phrase translates to ‘I’m going to bed / sleep’, and, well, that´s all there is to it (yay!).
Anaís – Ya me voy a dormir; tengo un examen mañana temprano.
Mónica – Ok, descansa, nos vemos mañana.
Anaís – I’m going to sleep; I’ve got an exam tomorrow morning.
Monica – Okay, sleep tight; see you tomorrow.
‘Ya me voy para siempre’ meaning
‘Para siempre’ literally translates to ‘forever’, so this rather dramatic phrase means ‘I’m leaving forever’.
Fingers crossed you’ll only hear it uttered in ‘telenovelas’ or cheesy pop songs!
‘Ya me voy para siempre’, canción de Vicente Fernández
Ya me voy para siempre, para nunca volver
El amor que yo quise, no me quiso querer
‘Ya me voy para siempre’, a song by Vicente Fernández
I’m leaving for good, never to come back
The love I wanted, didn’t want me
Erika’s note – make sure to check out our article on ‘por siempre’ vs ‘para siempre’ if you wanna know the difference between the two!
‘Ya me voy’ pronunciation
To pronounce this phrase properly just say ‘ya’ like ‘yah’ (think the posh version of ‘yes’) and ‘me’ like ‘meh’ (as in the ‘me’ in ‘men’); ‘voy’ sounds like the first syllable of ‘voice’.
/ yah meh voi /
So, there you have it, all there is to know about the phrase ‘ya me voy’ (and more!).
Certain structures can be very tricky when you’re learning a new language, but once you get the hang of them, you’re sure to be brimming with confidence and will sound much more fluent to boot!
Don’t forget to check out our article on ‘a la orden‘ if you wanna learn another super useful Spanish chunk!