Por el estilo

I’ve no time right now, so it’s a good a time as any to whiz out a tiny post for your Spanish learning pleasure and benefit. Since my time is now at a premium, words will have to be minced, leaving you with pure, concentrated, unadulterated usefulness. None of that witty flab to get in the way and dilute things.

I’ve taken to eavesdropping on my conversations to see what I say and what gets said to me over and over. Sure, I’m still racking up new words and lusting over them, but there are a few trusty favorites, both words and phrases, that never let me down. They’re uninteresting and not flashy whatsoever–mousy, even–but they’re ridiculously useful for Spanish conversations. Since they won’t toot their own horns, I’ll do it for them. Today I’d like to trot out por el estilo. Translation: like that. Let’s eye some examples.

No soy religiosa ni nada por el estilo, pero a veces voy a misa.

I’m not religious or anything of the sort, but sometimes I go to mass.

Van a necesitar tu diploma, tu hoja de vida y cosas por el estilo.

They’ll need your diploma, your resume and things of that nature.

¿Tienes piercings, tatuajes o algo por el estilo?

Do you have piercings, tattoos or anything like that?

I’ve turned it over in my mind, and I think it can only go in one of these three constructions: algo por el estilo, cosas por el estilo and ni nada por el estilo. I highly doubt that I ever make it through a conversation without employing at least one of them.

Well, I really don’t know how to ingratiate this phrase with you. I have no slick, smarmy words to peddle these linguistic wares– you were either in the market for something extremely useful and common or you’ll just keep browsing. Anyway, here are some more examples, the latest result on Twitter for each.

@MEisRom Mi nueva Macbook Air no es pirata ni nada por el estilo. (My new Macbook Air isn’t pirated or anything like that.)

@psicosour Y qué tal el concierto de Morrissey? Solo vale responder: Aburrido, malo, feo, el pata estaba afónico y cosas por el estilo. (So, how was the Morrissey concert? You can only answer: boring, bad, awful, the dude lost his voice, and whatnot.)

@Juliyo354 Me parece que soy alérgico al polvo de tiza o algo por el estilo. Me voy a ahogar en breves. (I think I’m allergic to chalk dust or something. I’m about to suffocate.)

_________________________________________________ Non-natives, what’s your experience with this phrase? Had you heard it before? How have you heard it used? Where? If you’re a native Spanish speaker, anything to correct, clarify, comment on or concur with? 


9 responses to “Por el estilo

  1. Thank you… very useful, is this used the same way universally?

    I also find it interesting that the translation for resume is “leaf (page) of life”… it’s kind of deep…


    • Hi Angela,

      YES, it is used everywhere like that. I made sure to choose something universal today. However, there’s always the off chance that someone says that they don’t use it in their country, in which case I’d like to know that.

      I think that resume is only hoja de vida in Colombia. I’ve started a post on it and just haven’t gotten around to finishing it. In other places, currículum or currículo are standard. But, you’re right– leaf of life is deep!


  2. Me asombraría si “por el estilo” no fuese universal. Acá se usa, y es común. No es ni wow qué común ni nah nada que ver. Pero sí, se usa :)


    • Eso. Sí, como dije, no es “wow” para nada– no es interesante ni llamativo. PERO… es muy útil y no se enseña en las clases típicas. Es algo pequeño, pero ayuda a que alguien entienda mejor y suene más como un nativo.

      No entiendo “ni wow qué común ni nah”– me lo explicas? Con común quieres decir frecuente, cierto? U ordinario más bien?


  3. —>”No es ni wow qué común ni nah nada que ver”.
    Es para decir que no es ni un extremo ni el otro. No es que se re usa, pero tampoco es que no se usa para nada.

    Y común en el sentido de “frecuente”, sí.


  4. Thanks for the useful phrase.


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