How To Say It Is What It Is In Spanish (10 Different Ways)

  • Jada Lòpez
    Written byJada Lòpez
    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.
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How To Say It Is What It Is In Spanish (10 Different Ways)

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 PhraseEnglish Translation / Meaning
Es lo que hayIt is what there is / That’s the way it is
Es lo que esIt is what it is
Es la realidadIt’s reality
Es asíIt’s like that
Las cosas son asíThings are like that
¡Qué remedio!What else can we do! / We have no choice!
Cosas que pasanThings that happen / Such is life
Así es la vidaSuch is life
Así son las cosasThat’s the way things are
No se puede hacer nadaNothing 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.

Grammatically, it uses the third person singular of the verb ser followed by the relative pronoun que and the impersonal pronoun hay.

Its widespread use in multiple Spanish-speaking regions makes it a versatile phrase without notable regional differences.

Listen to audio

Este café está muy amargo. Bueno, es lo que hay.

This coffee is so bitter. Well, it is what it is.

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.

Listen to audio

El clima está terrible hoy. Bueno, es lo que es.

The weather is terrible today. Well, it is what it is.

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.

Listen to audio

Estamos atascados en el tráfico. Tristemente, es la realidad.

We're stuck in traffic. Sadly, that's the reality.

Es así

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.

Listen to audio

Él siempre llega tarde a las reuniones. Es así.

He's always late to the meetings. It's just like that.

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.

Listen to audio

La tienda se quedó sin pan. Bueno, las cosas son así a veces.

The store is out of bread. Well, things are like that sometimes.

¡Qué remedio!

¡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).

Listen to audio

Perdimos el último tren. ¡Qué remedio!

We missed the last train. What can we do!

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.

Listen to audio

Olvidé mi paraguas en casa. Bueno, cosas que pasan.

I forgot my umbrella at home. Oh well, **things happen**.

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.

Listen to audio

No conseguí el trabajo que quería. Así es la vida.

I didn't get the job I wanted. Such is life.

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.

Listen to audio

No nos dejarán entrar sin una reserva. Así son las cosas.

They won't let us in without a reservation. That's just the way things are.

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.

Listen to audio

El concierto está cancelado. No se puede hacer nada.

The concert is cancelled. Nothing can be done.


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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