How To Say It Is What It Is In Spanish (10 Different Ways)
- Jada LòpezSpanish teacher, translator🎓 B.A., Translation and Interpreting English and Spanish, Universidad de Granada🎓 M.A., Formación de Profesores de Español como Lengua Extranjera (ELE), Universidad Pablo de Olavide
Passionate language teacher and translator. Wife, mother of 3 and amateur surfer.
Sometimes you just have to accept a bad or unfortunate reality in life.
One expression that’s commonly used is “it is what it is”.
Thankfully there are quite a few different ways to express the nuance of this in Spanish.
Below I’ve listed 10 of the most common expressions in Spanish that can used in contexts where you would typically say “it is what it is”.
Some are quite literal, others carry the same nuance.
‘It is what it is’ in Spanish
Here’s a quick reference table of different ways to say ‘it is what it is’ in Spanish.
Note that they do not all literally translate to ‘it is what it is’, but rather can be used in the same or similar contexts.
The main nuance here is acceptance of a situation or present reality (usually negative).
You should also take into account regional variations. Some expressions may be more or less common in certain countries.
|Spanish Phrase||English Translation / Meaning|
|Es lo que hay||It is what there is / That’s the way it is|
|Es lo que es||It is what it is|
|Es la realidad||It’s reality|
|Es así||It’s like that|
|Las cosas son así||Things are like that|
|¡Qué remedio!||What else can we do! / We have no choice!|
|Cosas que pasan||Things that happen / Such is life|
|Así es la vida||Such is life|
|Así son las cosas||That’s the way things are|
|No se puede hacer nada||Nothing can be done|
Es lo que hay
This phrase literally translates to “it is what there is” and is commonly used to express acceptance or resignation in face of an unideal or unchangeable situation.
Its widespread use in multiple Spanish-speaking regions makes it a versatile phrase without notable regional differences.
Este café está muy amargo. Bueno, es lo que hay.
Es lo que es
Es lo que es directly translates to the English phrase “it is what it is”.
Although not as commonly used in Spanish as in English, it holds a similar meaning, suggesting an acceptance of circumstances just as they are.
El clima está terrible hoy. Bueno, es lo que es.
Es la realidad
Translating to “it’s reality”, this phrase is used to acknowledge the truth or fact of a situation, often when it is harsh or difficult.
This phrase doesn’t have significant regional variations and is understood widely across Spanish-speaking communities.
Estamos atascados en el tráfico. Tristemente, es la realidad.
Es así translates to “it’s like that”. It’s a simple phrase used to confirm or assert the truth of a situation or fact.
This phrase consists of the verb ser and the adverb así (“so” or “thus”).
There are no notable regional differences for this phrase.
Él siempre llega tarde a las reuniones. Es así.
Las cosas son así
Literally translating to “things are like that”, this phrase is used to express acceptance of a situation, often when it can’t be changed.
The phrase uses las cosas (the things) as the subject.
Its usage is widespread across Spanish-speaking countries with no notable variations.
La tienda se quedó sin pan. Bueno, las cosas son así a veces.
¡Qué remedio! can be translated as “what else can we do!” or “we have no choice!“.
This phrase is often used to express resignation when one has no other alternatives.
It uses the relative pronoun que and the noun remedio (remedy or solution).
Perdimos el último tren. ¡Qué remedio!
Cosas que pasan
Cosas que pasan translates to “things that happen” and is typically used to shrug off minor annoyances or disappointments as normal occurrences in life.
It’s probably the closest expression to “shit happens” in English (but it’s not vulgar).
It consists of the noun cosas (things), the relative pronoun que, and the verb pasan (they happen).
This phrase is common across various Spanish-speaking countries.
Olvidé mi paraguas en casa. Bueno, cosas que pasan.
Así es la vida
Translating to “such is life”, así es la vida is a common Spanish phrase used to express resignation or acceptance of a situation, often when things don’t go as planned.
The phrase is used universally across Spanish-speaking communities.
No conseguí el trabajo que quería. Así es la vida.
Así son las cosas
This phrase así son las cosas translates to “that’s the way things are”.
It’s a resigned acknowledgement of a situation or circumstance that can’t be changed.
No nos dejarán entrar sin una reserva. Así son las cosas.
No se puede hacer nada
No se puede hacer nada translates to “nothing can be done”.
It’s a phrase that communicates helplessness or acceptance of an unchangeable situation.
El concierto está cancelado. No se puede hacer nada.
Now you’ve got a good selection of phrases to use the next time you have to accept a negative circumstance or outcome.
Are there any that I missed? Perhaps regional differences?
Share them in the comment section below.
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