Wednesday Vine – no me digas.

comments 2
beginner / commands / decir / expressions / greetings / past imperfect / puns / questions / quien / ser/estar

Today’s Vine is by Slobotzky, from Mexico City.

Slobotzky was also featured in this earlier post for his corny pickup line.

Today, he makes a pun on a ubiquitous expression: no me digas.  Literally, “don’t tell me.”  It’s used to express amazement.  :O  Think of it as, “I can’t believe it!”

no me digas = “don’t tell me” / no way! / I can’t believe it! / you’re kidding!

The Vine


  • Guy on phone: Bueno.
  • Guy on phone: No– no me digas.
  • Guy on phone: No me di–
  • Guy on phone: Nooo me diii–
  • Guy on phone: Bueno, bye. [hangs up]
  • Voice in the background: ¿Quién era, eh?
  • Guy: No me dijo.


  • Guy on phone: Hello? [literally, bueno = “good”]
  • Guy on phone: No– no way.
  • Guy on phone: No wa–
  • Guy on phone: You’re kiddi–
  • Guy on phone: Ok, bye.
  • Voice in the background: Who was it?
  • Guy: Didn’t say. [as in: “he/she didn’t tell me.”]
And we see a twist at the end!

Instead of using the expression no me digas in its natural meaning of “you’re kidding me,” Slobotzky used it literally as “don’t tell me.”

So when someone asked him who he was talking to, he responded, “the person didn’t tell me.”

Slo-Mo Version

Bueno.  Good.

He picked up the phone and said, “bueno.”  Beyond meaning “good,” bueno is also somewhat of a filler word.  It can be used like “well” in English:

  • [English] Well, I don’t know what to say.
  • [Spanish] Bueno, no sé qué decir.

It can also be used for “ok”:

  • [English] Ok, sounds good to me.
  • [Spanish] Bueno, me parece bien.

And it’s a great way to answer the phone.  So are “yes,” “talk,” and “talk to me.”

Good ways to answer the phone in Spanish:
  • Sí.
  • Bueno. [especially in Mexico]
  • Diga.  [“talk”] [especially Spain]
  • Dígame. [“talk to me”] [especially Spain]
  • ¿Aló? [primarily in Latin America]
  • Hola. [used in Argentina, though far less common in other countries]

No me digas.  Don’t tell me.

You can look at this two ways.  One way is to simply memorize it as an expression, meaning “you’re kidding.”  I recommend this to get started.  Another way is to look at the verb tense and understand how this phrase breaks down.  I recommend this if you already have a basic grasp of grammar and are looking to deepen it.

The verb here is decir (to say/tell).  As we saw in this previous post, to command someone “tell me!” we say “dime.”

So for “don’t tell me,” you may expect to see, “no dime!”

However, in Spanish, there are three different tenses for giving commands.  Each one is a link if you’re interested in learning more:

¿Quién era? – Who was it?

  • Quién = who
  • era = was

“Era” is the past tense of ser (to be).  There are types of past tense: preterite (boom, done, it happened) and imperfect (it was happening, it used to happen, it happened over a period of time).

We saw the preterite form of ser in this lesson: “What was the last thing I said?” / “¿Qué fue el último que dije?

Now we are seeing the imperfect form: “Who was it?” /  “¿Quién era?”

You can read more about preterite and imperfect tenses.  But for today’s lesson, let’s focus on:

  • ¿Quién era? = Who was it?
  • ¿Quién es? = Who is it?
  • ¿Quién soy? = Who am I?!?!


See if you can identify these words/phrases in English.

  • no me digas.
  • ¿Qué dije? [review from this lesson]
  • ¿Qué dijo?
  • ¿Qué te dijo? [review from this lesson]
  • No me dijo nada. [review from this lesson]
  • ¿Quién era?
  • ¿Quién es?
  • ¡Dime quién es! [review from this lesson]
  • Si no sé quién es. [review from this lesson]
  • ¿Quién eres?

If you’re still reading this, watch the Vine again!  Then try to speak the words of the Vine out loud again, as slowly as you need to.


  1. Chris says

    Would a close English translation of “no me digas” be “you don’t say!”? It’s never used literally, just as an exclamation that something is surprising, or as a command (“you don’t say a bad word about him!”).


  2. dragonflykbs says

    Oh of course!! That is a great translation. I actually forgot about that phrase. I like that it is a closer parallel word-by-word to the Spanish phrase. It illustrates nicely how an expression can look like a command, while being used for something totally different.

    My one caveat on “you don’t say!” is that it sounds a bit retro to me, at least in American English. Not sure how it fares in other countries. “No me digas” is non-retro in most Spanish speaking countries.


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