sea lo que sea

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by steemic, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. steemic

    steemic Senior Member

    Pitman, New Jersey
    English (US)
    He encontrado esta traducción de la expresión popular en íngles 'it is what it is'. Mi pregunta es eso; ¿porque se usa la forma subjuntivo en lugar del indicitivo? ¿Qué añade el uso del subjuntivo al sentido de la expresión en este caso? ¿Sea significaría algo parecido a "could be" o "might be" en este ejemplo? Lo agredecería mucho algunas sugerencias. Gracias de antemano.
  2. TurbidTongue Senior Member

    US English, Euro Portuguese
    Well, "sea lo que sea" would be better translated as "let it be whatever it might be" to be literal, and in usage would probably be just "whatever it/that might be."
    I don't agree with that as a translation for "it is what it is", regardless of where you might have found it.
  3. steemic

    steemic Senior Member

    Pitman, New Jersey
    English (US)
    Thanks but this seems to be the most accepted translation for it is what it is. Can any native speakers tell me why that is and what the subjunctive verb tense adds in this case?
  4. TurbidTongue Senior Member

    US English, Euro Portuguese
    I suggest you google sentences with both phrases and paste them here as examples. I haven't heard one phrase used in one language as the other phrase is used in the other language.
  5. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Sea lo que sea does not mean "it is what it is". That would indeed use the indicative.
    Sea lo que sea means "whatever it is", "be that as it may", or "anyway".
  6. Cavarden New Member

    San José, Costa Rica
    Spanish - Costa Rica
    As a native speaker of Spanish, I would agree with TurbidTongue: "sea lo que sea" is not a good translation of "it is what it is". "Sea lo que sea" means "whatever that is/might be", and I think you can see the reason for the use of the subjunctive in this case (it's expressing a mere possibility).
    "It is what it is" would be better translated into Spanish as "La cosa es así", "Así es la cosa" or simply "Así es". These expressions, as statements of fact, use the indicative and not the subjunctive.
  7. steemic

    steemic Senior Member

    Pitman, New Jersey
    English (US)
    Thanks for all the responses. It seems that I received a bad translation, however I wanted to be sure. Your responses have been very helpful..

    Take care.

  8. sherpavanwoman New Member

    english, spanish
    I think that "sea lo sea" would be best translated as "be that as it may"
  9. XiaoRoel

    XiaoRoel Senior Member

    Vigo (Galiza)
    galego, español
    La traducción de 'it is what it is' es "lo que es, es", o "así es la cosa" que en presente de indicativo se refiere a la realidad que con esta fórmula lingüística se acepta resignadamente.
    "Sea lo que sea" tiene varios sentidos: se dice cuando no se quiere entrar a discutir un concepto; también se puede significar "pase lo que pase", "resulte como resulte", "que sea lo que dios quiera", siempre en subjuntivo de posibilidad (sin pronunciarse sobre su cumpimiento)

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