Using ¿a que...? to seek confirmation/ to threat/ to predict

We use this structure in Spanish:

¿A que [+ a sentence]?

with three different meanings.

To seek confirmation/reassurance

When we have just said something and we want our listener to confirm/reassure us on something specific about the statement, we can use this structure in order to elicit that confirmation.

Have a look at the following examples: 

Mis padres no me permiten tener Netflix. ¿A que es injusto?
My parents won't let me have Netflix. Isn't this unfair?

Tengo una casa, un coche y un trabajo estable. ¿a que tengo suerte?
I have a house, a car and a permanent job; aren't I lucky?

Mira la foto de mi novio Javier, ¿a que es guapo?
Look at my boyfriend Javier's picture; isn't he handsome?

To express a threat to someone

Have a look:

¿A que llamo a mi hermano mayor y a sus amigos?
I'll call my big brother and his mates!

¿A que se lo digo a la profesora?
I'll tell the teacher!

¿A que te quedas sin postre?
At this rate you are not having dessert!

In the examples above, the threats are a strong warning of what may happen (if the situation doesn't change).

Using this structure as a threat is very common among children:

¿A que se lo digo a mi madre?
I'll tell my mum!

To express a prediction

We also use this structure when we foresee something happening, especially if it is something negative.

For example:

El cielo está muy gris, ¿a que llueve y no podemos ir al parque al final?
The sky is very grey; I bet it rains and we won't be able to go to the park in the end.

¡Mi pasaporte caduca la semana que viene! ¿A que no puedo coger el vuelo?
My passport expires next week! I bet I cannot take the flight!

This structure has a similar effect to the question tags ¿verdad? and ¿no? when we simply add the tag at the end of the sentence meaning: isn't it?, doesn't it?, aren't you? etc. To revise this see How to use question tags: ¿no? ¿verdad?

We also use a simplified version in affirmative and negative using ¿A que...?:

¿A que

¿A que no?

We use these short versions when we want a direct reassurance of what we have stated, for example:

  • In an affirmative statement

Esa película merece un Oscar, ¿a que sí?
That movie deserves an Oscar, don't you think?

¡Vaya! ¡Te lo has comido todo! A ti te gusta la pasta, ¿a que sí?
Wow! You ate it all! You like pasta, right?

  • In a negative statement

No has comido nada. A tí no te gustan las verduras, ¿a que no?
You didn't eat anything. You don't like vegetables, do you?

Esa película no merecía un Oscar, ¿a que no?
That movie didn't deserve an Oscar, don't you think?

Be careful! In all these sentences, despite taking the form of an interrogative sentence, que doesn't have a written accent:

  • ¿ A que te castigo? - correct
  • ¿ A qué te castigo? - incorrect

 

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

No has comido nada. A tí no te gustan las verduras, ¿a que no?
You didn't eat anything. You don't like vegetables, do you?


Tengo una casa, un coche y un trabajo estable. ¿a que tengo suerte?
I have a house, a car and a permanent job; aren't I lucky?


¿A que se lo digo a la profesora?
I'll tell the teacher!


Mis padres no me permiten tener Netflix. ¿A que es injusto?
My parents won't let me have Netflix. Isn't this unfair?


¿A que se lo digo a mi madre?
I'll tell my mum!


¿A que te quedas sin postre?
At this rate you are not having dessert!


Esa película no merecía un Oscar, ¿a que no?
That movie didn't deserve an Oscar, don't you think?


Mira la foto de mi novio Javier, ¿a que es guapo?
Look at my boyfriend Javier's picture; isn't he handsome?


¡Vaya! ¡Te lo has comido todo! A ti te gusta la pasta, ¿a que sí?
Wow! You ate it all! You like pasta, right?


Esa película merece un Oscar, ¿a que sí?
That movie deserves an Oscar, don't you think?


¿A que llamo a mi hermano mayor y a sus amigos?
I'll call my big brother and his mates!


¡Mi pasaporte caduca la semana que viene! ¿A que no puedo coger el vuelo?
My passport expires next week! I bet I cannot take the flight!


El cielo está muy gris, ¿a que llueve y no podemos ir al parque al final?
The sky is very grey; I bet it rains and we won't be able to go to the park in the end.


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